Mischka was a normal and active 15-year-old from Malmesbury who loved netball. When she caught a cold in 2016 and became increasingly weaker, her mother took her to Tygerberg Hospital where was admitted to ICU. Her mother was completely floored when she was told that her daughter’s heart and kidneys were failing. Tests had revealed that both her kidneys were severely underdeveloped and doctors were in amazement that Mischka had managed to live a normal life up until then.
After spending two weeks in ICU, Mischka was transferred to The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. A kidney transplant was the only option to save her life and this news hit her family extremely hard. Her mother says: “It was the shock of our lives.” To add to their trauma, there were no kidneys available and Mischka was sent home with a portable dialysis machine to aid her while they waited for a kidney to become available.
Once home, the family had to learn how to take care of their precious child. They had to learn how to operate the dialysis machine and adapt her diet completely. It wasn’t easy as Mischka was connected to the dialysis machine up to 10 hours a day. “It was frustrating for Mischka to change her eating habits and she especially missed her active lifestyle,” her mother says.
It was a whole year later at 3am one morning when Mischka’s mother received the call she had been waiting for. A kidney had finally become available and she was overjoyed. “I was so excited that I called and woke everyone up to tell them the good news.” Mischka received her new kidney on 21 August 2017. Her mother is grateful to the hospital and in sharing advice for parents in a similar situation: “Be alert at all times and take action if you suspect something is wrong. Love them and assure them that everything will be ok.”
Despite ongoing monitoring to check that her body does not reject her new kidney, Mischka is feeling much better. “You must just believe,” she says. She certainly has a bright future ahead of her.