Trans­plant trans­forms a life

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - HEALTH - TANYA PETERSEN

CHAN­TAL Davids has a new lease on life af­ter hav­ing an ABO-in­com­pat­i­ble (ABOi) kid­ney trans­plant a year ago.

She had the surgery at the UCT Pri­vate Aca­demic Hospi­tal. The op­er­a­tion, a first for the hospi­tal, was led by trans­plant sur­geon Pro­fes­sor Elmi Muller. A good friend of her mother’s, Dr Faiza Toefy, was the donor.

Davids’s mother, Avril Cloete, died from kid­ney dis­ease in 2009 so when Toefy heard Davids also had the dis­ease and had been on the kid­ney wait­ing list for three years, Toefy came for­ward for her. Usu­ally donor and re­cip­i­ent are com­pat­i­ble, but the pro­ce­dure went ahead al­though Toefy’s blood type is B+ and Davids’ is O+.

Af­ter the op­er­a­tion, she had an episode of se­vere re­jec­tion, but it was rec­ti­fied with es­ca­lated plasma-phere­sis and drug treat­ment. A year on, Davids, a school­teacher mar­ried to Zane Davids and with a sixyear-old son, Adam, said she has not felt this good in ages.

Be­fore the trans­plant she had been ex­tremely tired. “I strug­gled to do any­thing ex­cept go to work and do dial­y­sis. I had to eat spe­cific things and drink a cer­tain amount of wa­ter or I would be over­loaded.

“I had a catheter in my tummy. I could never swim, I couldn’t shower. I could bath in a small amount of wa­ter, but I had to be care­ful.”

Al­though her kid­ney func­tion is not 100% be­cause of the re­jec­tion episode, she no longer needs dial­y­sis.

The fam­ily had not been able to go on hol­i­day as there was too many things to con­sider for her con­di­tion. But two months post­trans­plant they went to Sun City. “Be­ing able to jump into the pool was great,” she said.

She started do­ing wa­ter Pi­lates, joined a run­ning group and now runs 5km once a week.

“I don’t know what my fu­ture holds with this trans­plant, but I live for now, do the best and fo­cus on the pos­i­tive.”

The biggest les­son was not to take any­thing for granted. “I ap­pre­ci­ate the lit­tle things. My life has changed com­pletely.”

And she is eter­nally grate­ful to Toefy, her “earth an­gel”.

Chan­tal Davids with hus­band Zane and their six-year-old son, Adam.

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