KHAIRUL SHAZWALI TAIB, 34, led a healthy lifestyle, enjoying sports activities until he was diagnosed with kidney failure.
It was his older brother Khairul Shazwan Taib, 38 who stepped up to the plate and donated his kidney.
A year after the operation, Shazwali is back on his feet, and we met them when they were doing a short video to help spread the message of why it is important to pledge our organs.
“It started in Mei 2016, “ said Shazwali, who is an engineer by profession. “During the weekend I played sports with my friends but the following Monday I experienced gout pain on my feet. I went to a clinic and they took a blood test and told me they would get back to me.
Two days later they called and told me to come right away. I was surprised and rushed over.
“They told me I had gout and asked if I had any kidney problems, or if anyone in my family had kidney problems. I was told that based on the results I had a kidney problem. I was subsequently referred to the Serdang Hospital.”
Tests at the hospital showed that his kidney had indeed failed, and was at stage five which is the most critical.
“Both my kidneys were only functioning at 9%,” he said.
During an ultrasound, the doctor discovered that Shazwali had polycystic kidney disease (PKD), which is not only rare, but is also an inherited form of kidney disease.
“During that time I had a mental block. The doctor said I had kidney failure and had to undergo dialysis.
When I heard the word dialysis, I thought it was the end. It took me months to accept it.”
In July 2016, he started dialysis, and he had to undergo routine check ups every three months.
A year later, his doctor told him to bring his brother for his next appointment. At that point, Shazwali feared that his brother might also be afflicted with PKD.
However unbeknownst to him, Shazwan had already seen the same doctor, and undergone several tests with the intention of becoming his brother’s donor.
“I made an effort to expose myself to information on organ donation,“ said Shazwan.
“I always wanted to be a donor. Most of the transplant stories I have read about are on liver transplants.
“This was something good. So I developed an interest.
“Years later, when he (Shazwali) broke the news, I decided to give him my kidney.”
Unlike what you see on television, live organ transplants are in fact a very tedious process. The first of many tests involved cross matching their blood type.
It took two to three weeks for Shazwan to recover, while Shazwali spent one week in the ICU and the second week in the normal ward. Over the next six weeks, Shazwali had to undergo routine check-ups two to three times a week.
Shazwali said he cried when he heard his brother wanted to donate his kidney. “We seldom talk. I think God wanted to heal our communication.”
Shazwan added: “Now we joke about things like when we were growing up you (Shazwali) took my shirts and stuff, but now you have taken my kidney.”