A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

The ongoing battle

Posted by Pepper on March 3, 2014

Some of you have been nice enough to send me emails asking about Oregano. I thought I owe you people this update about his health. I am not sure where I should begin though. The last time I wrote about him on this blog – I said he was diagnosed with a chronic kidney problem. We weren’t sure how fast his kidneys were deteriorating. But we knew the damage was irreversible and unstoppable. The doctors gave us a very rough window of between 1 to x years, before he needed a kidney transplant. The doctors said the approximate value of x was 5.

We were optimistic. We hoped we would be able to delay the inevitable by maintaining a very strict diet and a watchful lifestyle. It all seemed doable in the first three months, when his creatinine level (an indicator of kidney function) remained stable. Things however, started worsening soon after. His creatinine level started rising rapidly. His BP shot up. Also, his potassium level got alarmingly high at one point – putting him at risk for heart related problems. This was brought in control. Another time, he was dehydrated and had to be hospitalised and put on a saline drip. On most days, he feels exhausted and low on energy. The doctor decided to try steroids on him and it resulted in him having a constant headache throughout the day. The worst of all has been his creatinine – it seems to jump almost every time we check.

We hoped to have a few years in our hands before we were forced to think of a kidney transplant for him. However, in just about 8 months, his kidneys have undergone massive degeneration. Today, his creatinine level stands at 6.5! Some doctors recommend doing the transplant once the level touches 6. So as of now, we’re already in that position where we are seriously considering getting the transplant done.

My FIL and MIL are the top two choices for the donor. My FIL first, because he and Oregano have the same blood group. If for some reason his kidney is rejected by the doctors, then my MIL will be tested. The next few weeks will see my FIL getting a lot of tests done. I am worried.

I will talk about myself now, although I have refrained from doing that for a long time. Officially Oregano is simply my brother in law, but he is a piece of my heart. He is one of my best friends and somebody I care about deeply. To watch him go through so much makes me ache. Periodically, I find myself upset. I still haven’t gotten over the ‘why did this have to happen to him’ phase. Every time his condition worsens, my mood darkens and I begin to feel angry, distressed and scared. Plenty of times I have considered venting on my blog, but for certain reasons I have held myself back.

This realisation of him suffering from end stage renal failure tends to thwack me at the most inappropriate times. Whenever I am truly happy, having a good time in life, eating good food and being merry – I feel a jolt. I realise that Oregano can do none of this. And then my mental state begins to spiral downwards. My happiness begins to seem very hollow and fragile to me. One small thing going wrong in our body and it can snatch away all our joys. So what meaning do these joys have? They are too flimsy to be relied upon.

Mint, as always, has been my link to sanity. He pulls me out of my dark moods, assures me Oregano will be fine. He is not half as emotional as I am. He has a very practical outlook and that helps. Slowly, I have turned into a believer too. I truly believe Oregano will be fine. People often claim to be very ‘positive’, but only when they are truly tested do they understand the real magnitude of their claim. I can safely say I have fought my battles and though I falter at times, I have learnt to maintain a positive mindset. I firmly believe whatever is happening, is happening for the best.

My inlaws have been such bricks. And I can see how this trying period has made Oregano and them work as a team. I see my mom in law going out of her way to ensure Oregano has the right diet. She works very hard and leaves no stone unturned. My father in law too has put his life on hold to focus on his son’s problem. They are amazing people.

As for Oregano himself, he is such a warrior. Facing so many restrictions, being put on such heavy medication, having somebody to draw blood out of you every few days, dealing with the side effects of all those steroids, feeling uncertain about your future, seeing kidney failure statistic that force you to face thoughts of death can NEVER be easy. Yet, he smiles and moves on. He doesn’t mope or whine. He created a blog and has started documenting his battle against chronic kidney disease. His attitude towards it all is admirable, and I am so very proud of him.

Speaking of my pride for him, here is something else that makes me beam. Oregano is a brilliant artist. I decided to display some of his creations on my blog. Some of these were made when he was in school! Till date, his sketches make me gasp! Show him any image and he has the ability to create a replica of it on paper. Stunning work, isn’t it? I think his fingers have magic. When I think of it, almost everybody in my inlaws family is an artist. I ofcourse, bask in reflected glory.

art1

art2

art3

art4

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35 Responses to “The ongoing battle”

  1. Hugs to you, Pepper.
    and wow… when I saw the image in my reader I thought it must have been done in some sketching software.
    Oregano is awesome. Hugs to him as well.

  2. Beautiful! Just beautiful! I hope he is keeping up his hobbies. It helps. Many many good wishes for him.

  3. kinmin said

    Hi.. I honestly don’t have too much to say except that I can to some extent relate to this.. my uncle was born with one kidney and he is going through the same right now.. his wife is donating and their transplant is scheduled for this week.. also, something that i was asking him to do but he didn’t is drink parsley tea since that’s supposed to help detoxify the kidneys while he’s waiting for transplant.. and if this does help control creatinine levels, maybe they can postpone transplant for some time.. I sent you a detailed email regarding that.. sending you and the family good wishes and strength to get through this..

  4. Bhavani said

    Sending all the positive and good wishes to Oregano for a better health and life and your family to cope with it.

    And OH MY GOD lovely lovely sketches. True magic in his hands…

    Where are Mint’s artsy works:))

    Take care dear!!

    -Bhavani

    • Pepper said

      He doesn’t have any! But he made some tiny drawings (in particular, a buzzing bee, a few flowers and a ‘kiss’) on some of the cards he gave me in our courtship days, and those are stunning too. He claims to not be artistic like his family, but those drawings tell me otherwise. I only wish he was more interested.. 🙂

  5. Those sketches are fantastic!! The last one left me agape..twinge of sadness, but oh-so-much-admiration for the artist. Please let him know, he has a fan in me.

    He shall recover, and you shall let us know about it through a very happy post Pepper. You will.

  6. *Jawdrop* I haven’t seen more beautiful sketches than these. I really, really hope Oregano feels well and I hope God gives him strength to fight it out like a warrior. Have you read/seen ‘The Secret’?

  7. The entire post, the hard-hitting reality of what a health related problem could do to a person, what you are going through being a reflection of what the family is going through and finally the last sketch of that eye beholding – what – hope? Dreams? A desperate prayer? I am at a loss of words. I wish all of you all the strength and blessings to get through this phase.

    • Pepper said

      I’ve often wondered what that eye beholds too. Dreams, prayers and hope, yes! When he made that one, he wasn’t in the position he is today. That makes me more curious. I wonder what was on his mind. Will ask him.

  8. WOW !!!!He is just brilliant!!!
    Love and Prayers !!

  9. R's Mom said

    Wow! Oregano is super talented rey….wow..really wow!

    and being positive is the only thing that can help…Praying hard to God for Oregano…

  10. The Bride said

    I can imagine the ‘why did this happen to him’. It’s really terrible. But luckily there are options, even though not ideal ones. Fingers crossed that everything goes well for him.

  11. Arch said

    It must be so hard to come to terms with it at such a young age. I hope and pray that his health improves and his life gets better! Hugs to you and your family. Take care!
    Those sketches are amazing!!

  12. sundar6873 said

    no words. Let’s be positive.

  13. Neeli said

    awwwwwwww.. such lovely sketches…!!! Im still in the same hospital.. let me know if u need any help Pepper!!

  14. ashreyamom said

    just be Positive ok.. loved his sketches.. especially the last one.. it has so much of life in the eyes.. would love to see more sketches done by him..

  15. Sumana said

    I was thinking of asking you when i just saw this post. Rightly said one organ does not do its job there are so many things to miss. I hope and pray Oregano gets well soon and he is able to be back to his own self. There is God and there is hope i believe. Sketches are awesome. It just pains to see a loved one go thru this right in front of our eyes and we being helpless…

  16. Sarah Syed said

    I can’t resist to compliment on the sketches. The last one is amazing.

  17. Smita said

    I am unable to believe that the last one is a sketch!!! He is sooo good!!!

    As far as his ailment is concerned ((hugs)) I know what you are going through coz we are in the same boat 😦

  18. Those sketches are so beautiful, Oregano is very talented.

    Sending loads of good wishes to Oregano and your family. I know it is difficult ..try to Stay positive and happy and it does wonders to human body for recovery. I am sure he will be all fine. Keep the hopes high. I will definite think about you and family to take you out of this phase soon, real soon. Hugs Babe.

  19. MR said

    wow amazing pencil sketches, simply amazing. I consider myself an artist ( small one ) 🙂 and i think he’s eons ahead in the skill level.
    he will get better, artists see the world with beauty, calmness and joy. those traits will help him fight this and he has you guys around .
    sending positive thoughts your way. stay happy.

  20. D said

    hey..hugs to oregano and family pepper….I am sure he will be fine. Someone has recommended The Secret..do read it..it has a wonderful mesaage..I believe it works…
    oregano is an awesome artist…all tjes pictures are just brilliant. .

  21. Comfy said

    I have a cousin who is going through exactly the same thing and we as family are really worried, so I can totally understand. Praying for strength for all of you!

    The sketches are all beautiful but the last one took my breadth away!

  22. anisnest said

    wowww simply superb esp. the last one with the eyes.. can’t take my eyes of it.
    Hugs to you and my prayers are with your family. take care

  23. Ashwathy said

    I just saw this now. I hope things turn out alright for him…and all of you. That’s a brilliant budding artist you got there. Not to mention a warm person, from what I know of him through you.

  24. Puneet said

    Amazing artwork, and All the Best.

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