Happy Mother’s Day 2019: Mothers share their stories of organ donation
Mother’s Day Special : Women, who donated organs to their ill children, share their experience from pain to hope and illness to health.Updated: May 13, 2019 13:44 IST
Lying on the mattress with her gaze fixed on the static fan, she prays silently for a miracle. The thought of losing her son sleeping peacefully right next to her shakes her to the core. As she lovingly strokes his forehead, she can’t stop herself from falling apart. She weeps quitely, afraid that she would wake up her child. Her son is suffering from liver disorder, and doctors have recommended a transplant. She has agreed to give hers and she is waiting for the doctor to confirm that she is medically suitable for donating her liver. With bated breath, she is waiting for the results. As soon as the results come, she jumps up with a sense of solace in her heart and donates her. Her love is selfless and unconditional. She can’t break any barriers to give life to her children.
This Mother’s Day, we spoke to 5 such mothers from around the world, who’s unbridled love and selfless ness gave a new life to their child.
My mother, my hero
“I used to cry the entire night. I thought of losing my son use to break me down. As soon as I got to know I can donate a part of my liver to save this life, I didn’t think twice and went for it,” says Jhanice Moreno as she recalls the condition of her two-month-old son in 2017. Jhanice from Philippines, her husband and two kids live in Philippines. Nicelle, her youngest son, was two months old when they realised that his skin was turning yellow and they need to seek medical consultation. His tummy grew big, eyes turned yellow, he stopped eating anything. And so later, he was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia.
They were told by doctors that the only way to save him was a transplant else he won’t survive. This broke the family down and bought them to India for the operation. “We are a middle-class family and don’t have so much money. So we had to raise funds for him. It’s very shameful and painful to ask someone for money however, for my child I did it. We sold out a lot of our stuff and collected money for the operation and our stay in India. Thankfully the lord provided, we prayed a lot and finally today we both are healthy,” says a teary-eyed Jhanice. “On August 1st, our operation took place, it lasted for almost 10 hours, I gave 25% of my liver to him which saved his. For a mother, there is nothing more satisfying than this. I knew I saved my kids live and even if it would have been giving up mine, I would have done the same,” adds Jhanice, who is now 32 and healthy.
Main tere pe Kurbaan
When we asked Shyantani Dey from Kolkata , what made her donate her organ to her daughter Ariana Dey while she was just 5 months old, she recited two lines for us. “Janu meri jaan, Main tere pe Kurbaan. Tu meri, main teri jaane sara Hindustan. Apni beti ke liye toh jaan hazir hai!” sung Dey with a heart full of love. However, last few months haven’t been easy for her. On 7th March 2019, Ariana underwent an operation, where her mother’s 182 gm liver was transplanted into her. The operation was a very crucial keeping in mind Ariana’s age. The 10-hour-long operation at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket was successfully granting lives to the mother and daughter.
5-month-old Ariana Dey from Kolkata, flew to Delhi on 5th March after she was diagnosed with liver malfunctioning with prolonged INR of 3.84 – which is supposed to be under 1- and elevated Ammonia which was only detected in adults. When she same arrived her condition was very critical condition and was bleeding already, a sign of acute liver dysfunction. “Doctors in Kolkata said, she has only five days and nothing can be done. Her urine and eyes were yellow in colour and she was passing clay-like stool. Her father and I refused to believe that we can’t save her. Once her father wasn’t eligible to give his liver, I was tested. And they said I can give her my liver. The clock was ticking and he had no time. I feel so proud that I was the one who gave her my kidney,” says Dey.
The hardship wasn’t just to see their daughter suffer but the societal pressure which Dey faced. “I left breast feeding her after 2 months and you know how Indian society is, they blame the mother for everything. Many accused me for her state. They said it is because I stopped feeding too early or that I gave her water and so on. It was painful to hear doctors accuse me for it,” says Dey as she gulped down a lump in her throat.
When prayers are met
On September 2017, at 6am Rita and her son Namit, lay on the hospital bed thinking about each other. All Rita could think of was seeing his son fit and fine. The thought of undergoing the knife herself didn’t occur to her even once. They were to undergo a surgery where Rita’s 20% liver was transplanted into Namit’s body(her son).
“Namit was 13 then, and since he was born, I didn’t see him sleep in the night. It was heart breaking the way he used to shout and feel itchy throughout the night. I used to rub my fingers on his back all night so that he can sleep for a while. But it was a temporary solution. Things became worst when his platelets reduced, blood reduced. He wasn’t responding to medicines well. Once day we took him for his second endography in Chandigrah, on our way back to our house in Una, Himachal Pradesh when he started vomiting. He vomited a lot of blood that took us in aghast and we decided to go to Apollo Hospital as per our doctor’s recommendation,” reminisces Rita.
Rita prayed to her god that her liver matches and she can be the one to save her son from this ghastly disease. “Apne bache k liye sab karna hai mujhe. I could go to any extreme,” says the mother. When her liver matched, they underwent the transplant which started at 6am in the morning and was successfully completed at 1:30am the next morning.
Bhaalo Beta Mera
On 8th May when we called Nandita Mondal to talk to her about her son Trishan who had undergone a liver transplant in 2017, she told us that it was today that the operation took place. “8th May, 2017, exactly 2 years back, Trishan was operated and 30% of my liver was given to him. Us time bas lagta tha ki main guzar jau par mera beta bhalo hojae,” said Nandita from Kolkata. In a turmoil, Nandita kept asking herself, why my son? Trishan who was 6-years-old then, was rushed to the hospitals many times in Kolkata, as he used to have fever constantly, his stomach had expanded and doctors said he has Hepatitis B.
“One day when we was in pain and had fever, we took him to emergency, doctors had given up. We decided to get him to Delhi, all the doctors refused and said what will you do if something happened to him on the way? But we took the risk and got him to Delhi, Apollo Hospital. Here doctors recommended transplant and for the first time someone said to me that he would be fine,” recalls Nandita. She knew her liver would match with her son and it did. “I’m proud I could give him a part of my liver and a second life. Ab toh hum dono tek hai. Mera liver complete hogaya hai. When I see him play and enjoy today, it gives me immense pleasure and solace,” adds Nandita.
A mother’s pride
A six month old baby Gurbani was detected with congenital liver problem and the root cause was Biliary Atresia. The child was born with an absent bile duct, called as biliary atresia. To save her life, she had to undergo a liver transplant at the age of 6 months. How difficult would it be for the mother to see her child in pain? Ask Sneha Arora, her mother, and tears would roll down. It was not just medical issues; they didn’t have the money to get the operation done to save Gurbani.
“We got in touch with crowd funding sites such as Milap and they helped us raise money. In about a week’s time they were able to generate fund we were able to process the operation,” says Arora who also had medical complication. Gurbani was a surgical baby and Sneha was recovering from the surgery. She didn’t know how much her body would support her. “I wasn’t able to understand anything. Kushmakash tha dil me par beti k otoh kuch bhi kar k bachana tha. So I went ahead with the surgery. The operation took place on 21st January 2019, 25% of my liver was transplanted into. The surgery was almost 12 hour long. Today, we both are fine. I have recovered and Gurbani is still recovering but is health,” says Arora with smile on her face and a sense of pride in her heart.
Dr.(Prof) Subhash Gupta, Chairman - Liver and Biliary Sciences, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket says, “The main thing about a mother donating organ to her child is that it is always unconditional. There is no thought of personal benefit at all. The donation that a mother does for a child is truly for love. I can say that in most other organ donations there is some kind of expectations whereas in mother’s case, the donations is beyond any expectation and without any thought for the self. As soon as the mother wakes up after the surgery she always asks “how is my baby”. She never asks for herself or her pain. She is always concerned about the baby. This is what true love is.”
Dr. Sharat Varma, Lead Consultant, Paediatric, Hepatologist and Gastroenterologist, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket says, “Typically, a liver donor spends approximately five to seven days in the hospital, and will have an additional six to eight weeks of recovery time. Donors would have the liver grow back to normal within two months’ time after the donation. During the early recovery period, donor experiences some pain and discomfort from the incision, which is usually well controlled with pain medications. Once the pain is well controlled, donor is eating and drinking well, walking around without too much difficulty, they are discharged from the hospital. After discharge, donor is advised not to lift anything heavier than 10 Kgs for at least six weeks and encouraged to walk several times a day. Depending on the type of work you do, the donor may be able to return to work six to eight weeks after surgery.”
Dr. Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director and Senior Pediatric Gastroenterologist, Apollo Hospitals Group explains, “Just like Mahatma Gandhi said a Man can never be a woman’s equal in the spirit of selfless service with which nature has endowed her. Nobody can beat a mother’s courage and love. We don’t need to convince them, they are ready to sacrifice their lives for her child. The first thing a mother asks after the operation and being conscious is – How is my child?. A few years back, we had 70% mothers who were donating their organs however, today even fathers have come up. We want fathers also to donate as a mother can then take care of the child. After the surgery, the mother is also weak and can’t do anything for a few days. However, the liver grows back and there is no risk to the donor.”
Dr Neerav Goyal, Senior Consultant liver transplant and Hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgeon, Apollo Hospitals Group, “Usually it’s the mother who comes forward because there is a strong power in motherhood which is unbeatable. They put their life at risk and a lot is dependent on you to make things fine. However, we would want to promote organ donation. We mathematically calculate and make sure that the donation is beneficial for the child and not risky for the donor.”