Fifteen-year-old Kamola is eager to get back home with fond memories of the friends she and her parents found and the soft idlis they relished at the canteen of Vedanayagam Hospital here.
Kamola will be leaving for Uzbekistan capital Tashkent in a couple of days with an enhanced bladder created by urologists S.V. Kandasami and Ganesh Gopalakrishnan to stop urine reflux to her kidneys, a problem she has battled since birth.
A lot of trauma
She wants to catch up with lost time in academics and learn swimming. She went to school all these years with tubes from both kidneys draining urine into two plastic bottles.
In between classes, she had to go to the restroom to empty the bottles.
“We went through a lot of trauma because of this. Fellow passengers in buses complained of smell. They stayed away from her. Though school mates and teachers were very understanding, at times they too indicated discomfort. But my daughter's determination made her carry on,” said Sharaffudin, Kamola's father. He is a manager in a company that manufactures heating systems.
Ms. Kamola underwent five surgeries on her bladder in Tashkent to correct a congenital problem that caused urine to flow back into the kidneys.
“From birth, she did not have the sub mucosal tunnel in the bladder through which urine flowed,” the urologists said.
Surgeons in Tashkent tried to create the tunnel. But the repeated operations reduced the size of the bladder. The problem worsened as the bladder could hold only 30 ml of urine, against the normal capacity of 350 ml, Dr. Kandasami said.
This led to the tubes being inserted into the kidneys from a little above the waist to drain urine.
Dr. Kandasami, who is the Medical Director of the hospital, said that in a 10-hour surgery, a portion of the big intestine and the small intestine were cut to form a pouch, and this was stitched to the original bladder in order to create more space to hold urine.
“Now, she has normal functioning of the bladder. Fortunately, her kidneys have not been damaged, though the prolonged use of tubes led to stone formation. We removed the stones,” he said.
Kamola's mother Manzura said their biggest problem was solved. “Now, my daughter can lead a normal life.”
Wait for a year
Through a friend in Tashkent, Mr. Sharaffudin came to know last year about the Vedanayagam Hospital and that Dr. Gopalakrishnan (then president of the Urology Society of India) was working there after retiring from the Christian Medical College in Vellore, where he had performed many such surgeries.
“The father and daughter came to us last year [January 2010] and returned to Tashkent after a consultation. The entire family returned in December so that the girl could be operated upon,” Dr. Gopalakrishnan said.
Kamola underwent the first surgery when she was two years old and all the five were done by the time she was four. “Now, when I get back home, I just want to study,” she says.