“I was 3 when I was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome. Overnight, my stomach bloated to thrice its normal size and I was rushed to the hospital immediately. When the doctors examined my condition, they explained that it was major kidney complication that required surgery. I was put on dialysis, and the following years were pretty rough. While the other kids played with toys, I only got to play with syringes in hospitals. That’s how I spent a large chunk of my childhood.
By the time I turned seven, the doctors decided to go ahead with my kidney transplant. My granny graciously came forward and donated her kidney to me. My entire family stood by my side and the surgery was carried out in 1999. However, in a few years I contracted cerebral malaria, and despite recovery, the doctors told us to be prepared for a second transplant in the future as my kidney had been affected. It was seven years later when my kidney gave up completely, and I had to resort to dialysis once again. Fortunately, my uncle had already come forward a few years earlier to donate his kidney, so I got lucky once again! So, after four months of dialysis, I had my second transplant in 2013. I haven’t looked back since. Yes, I did lose a large chunk of my childhood and college, but the experience of dealing with my diagnosis has given me more strength than anybody will ever know.
Stemming from a passion for CrossFit, I got involved in trekking. Mountains had become my home away from home. They became a part of my identity- I never felt judged by them for everything I’ve been through, something I dealt with everywhere else. After clearing the Everest Base Camp and a few smaller treks, it was finally time to attempt the 11,150 ft altitude Chadar trek. The most challenging phase of this trek is a walk over a frozen thin glass-like river with towering mountains on either side, dangerously beautiful.
Along with my friends that I met in Leh, I began the trek on the morning of 15th January last year. We got accustomed to the environment of Chadar, and grew the faith that she wouldn’t harm us. Finally, with the support of the team and the alertness of our guides and porters, we were able to complete the trek by 20th January despite all the odds. Our guides and sherpas were like angels. If it wasn’t for them, a person such as myself who always needed clean drinking water and extra care, would never have managed to complete the trek. It’s even been recorded in the Asia Book of Records, how cool is that?
It’s a shame that when people see someone like me, their first questions are “Oh! Will anyone marry her?”, “Can she still have children?”. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by people who are not that close minded, and I want my journey to be proof that anyone who has had a kidney transplant can achieve whatever they want. While the mountains have rejected so many healthy people due to altitude and various other reasons, they have allowed me to prove my abilities to the world!”