In September 1997, my doctor decided to try a course of steroids. So, I started taking Prednisolone.
My kidney function started improving. The gaps between dialysis sessions could be increased. My urine output also increased dramatically.
At that point, one Sunday evening, I went out with my family. It started raining quite heavily. By next morning I had caught a bad lung infection (infections are easy to catch while on steroids) and had to be admitted. The infection was treated but my renal function declined and I was back to square one.
During this entire period, we would hear from different people about different alternate therapies. I tried almost everything. Each therapy would come with its own set of diet restrictions. Nothing worked.
My hopes of a cure from this problem would be greatly increased. And then within a few weeks gradually disappear.
Around November 1997, someone anonymously sent us a newspaper clipping that featured a businessman in Bombay called Dr. Gupta (not a medical doctor). He apparently chanted a mantra given to him by a 'sadhu' (ascetic) many years back into a glass of water. People with kidney diseases who drank that water everyday apparently were cured of their kidney ailment.
We were all very excited. This looked like a godsend. The anonymous letter. The aura of a mantra. The promise of liberation.
I left for Mumbai in December 1997 and stayed with another aunt and her family. Every morning I would go to Dr. Gupta's office and drink the charmed glass of water.
I will never find out the truth about that 'treatment'. All I know is that it did not work for me. After 2 months of drinking the glass of water (I enjoyed this part though!), my creatinine showed no sign of reducing and my urine output showed no sign of increasing.
After a few weeks of this trial, the t-word started being discussed.
A transplant was, after all acknowledgment that there was no hope for reversal. That we had given up on the week that Dr. Girish Narayen had promised.
By March 1998, we had all reconciled to a transplant and started the process of a live related donor transplant. My mother was going to donate. In the meantime, Dr Girish Narayen had to go abroad and put me onto Dr. J. C. M. Shastry who was one of the senior most nephrologists in the country.
The whole process lasted a few months. Finally, we decided on November 11th, 1998 as the date of the transplant.
I was extremely anxious. Was this the beginning of a new dawn? Were all my troubles finally going away? Will I never need dialysis again? Were fluid restrictions going to become a thing of the past?