When established medical treatments couldn’t help, I found another way
In 2013 I was suffering from serious back pain. I found it hard to sit and even to sleep. Despite this, I convinced myself the pain was normal and didn’t tell anyone about it.
But my symptoms only got worse, by the middle of the year I was suffering from dehydration, fever, vomiting and fits of shaking. There was blood in my urine, it smelled foul and the pain of going to the bathroom was excruciating.
At my cousin’s engagement ceremony everyone was working hard to make the day a success but I suddenly felt that I was going to collapse. I was only urinating every second or third day at this point and finally I couldn’t take it any longer and told my mother.
She took me straight to the doctor for blood and urine tests and an ultrasonography investigation. Leaving the testing suite, I saw a white spot on the ultrasonographer’s screen and had a bad feeling about it.
I was right. I had kidney stones. Lots of them, and they were getting bigger. The doctor said that if something wasn’t done about them in the next few months, my kidney would be permanently damaged.
For two solid months I closely followed the doctor’s prescription but testing at the end of that time still showed the stones getting bigger. After four months I had high hopes, but I knew form the pain that the stones were still there. Testing showed no improvement.
At this point I totally broke down. The patient in the room next to me in hospital died of kidney failure and I was afraid that I was headed the same way. I stopped talking, I often felt faint and I passed many sleepless nights. I cried from my own pain and the fear and concern I saw in my parents’ eyes.
My situation was bad but I was shocked when a man who wanted money so that his daughter could marry offered to sell his me his kidney. A transplant may have been the best option for me, but how could I live with someone’s body part who’d felt under pressure to take such an extreme step? I refused his offer.
It looked like my options were fast running out, but at this point on of my Uncles stepped forward and offered me some leaves he said I should make juice from and drink every morning. I didn’t believe in such traditional remedies but for my parents’ sake I felt I had to do it. The plant is called Bryophyllum pinnatum and in Bangladesh we called it ‘Pathorkuchi’ or ‘Leaf of Life’.
Every morning I would mash the plant up and squeeze the juice from the leaves. How did it taste? It was the yuckiest thing I had ever tasted.
Incredibly, after just one week I was feeling better, my kidney was functioning and the pain was reducing. After 20 days the stones had reduced to the point where my kidney was able to make urine again. I hated drinking that juice but how could I stop now? Eventually I stopped even tasting it.
After two months an ultrasonography revealed the stones were gone. The doctor was amazed and my parents’ faces were filled with joy.
I am still healthy to this day, even though my doctor says there remains a risk of recurrence. But I’m not worried because now I know how to fight it.
Looking back I have to wonder what would have become of me if I hadn’t tried my Uncle’s remedy, if I’d accepted the failure of my other treatment. I guess I think the lesson is that you just have to keep trying. While there is still fight in you, you have to fight.
By Iffat Jahan