Mumbai woman amazes doctors, survives on dialysis for 17 years

31-year-old Ganisha Mohite, daughter of a handcart-puller, was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease 17 years ago. Poverty and unable to find donor in family has forced her to undergo dialysis for so long

Ganisha Mohite with her parents and Sister Sneha,  executive director of Holy Spirit Hospital

It’s been 17 years since Ganisha Mohite has been visiting Holy Spirit Hospital thrice a week to undergo dialysis. Doctors treating Mohite say poverty and unable to find a suitable donor in family has forced Mohites to embrace this struggle for life.

Mohite, a 31-year-old Andheri (Mumbai) resident, and her parents have however surprised doctors with their perseverance, patience, and positive attitude towards life.

“When Ganisha came to us, she was in a critical state as she was suffering from chronic nephritis. During these 17 years, I suggested kidney transplant several times, but financial constraints forced her not to undergo the transplant. Also, there was no suitable donor for her. With regular dialysis, she improved and has been miraculously doing well,” said Dr BR Ramesh Rao, nephrologist.

Rao said it is amazing how Mohite has been surviving only on dialysis for such a long time, which is not common in a country like India.

While monthly income of Mohite’s seven-member family is Rs16,000, dialysis and treatment expenditure costs Rs 18,970 per month.

Mohite said her parents are her biggest support because of which she has managed to cope with the disease.

“We are a family of seven, which includes two brothers and their families. My father is 76 years old. He was a handcart-puller, but after his hernia operation, he was forced to stay home. He has not lost hope in ensuring that I get good treatment. He keeps visiting different NGOs referred by doctors or friends. My treatment completely depends on charity and financial help given by people,” said Mohite.

Mohite was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease that leads to progressive loss in kidney functions in class IX. She had fainted in school and was taken to BYL Nair Hospital, where she underwent biopsies.

“Little did I know then that I will have to live with this pain lifelong,” said Mohite.

Since then, she has been undergoing dialysis thrice a week. Doctors say she will have to continue with it for life as an alternative option to kidney transplant.

As Mohite had to be admitted several times, she could not finish her studies. In 2006, she started feeling better both physically as well as mentally and she began to work as a cook in her neighbourhood. However, since last year she started getting frequent fit attacks and became weak. This forced her to stop working.

“Ganisha was completely shattered when she came to know about kidney failure. Many times she even tried to kill herself, so we never leave her alone,” said Laxmi, Ganisha’s mother.

“We want our daughter to live. My both sons are married. They can’t contribute anything even if they want to. Despite our poor financial condition, we never considered her as a burden on us. In such a condition also, she cares us a lot,” said Laxmi.

Sister Sneha, Executive Director of Holy Spirit Hospital, describes Mohite as a strong-willed woman.

“I am extremely happy for this girl who has survived 17 years on dialysis. Whenever she visits the hospital, she comes with cheerful smile on her face, which is encouraging for others. It’s because of her willpower she has survived so long,” said Sneha.

Mohite has come a long way even with a kidney failure and says she is accustomed to pain now. Though Mohite has made up her mind to live on dialysis, concern about her parents keeps her worried.

“I have seen the pain of patients like me undergoing kidney transplant. So, I never managed to muster courage of going through one. At the same time, I am afraid of life. If something happens to my parents. They are my world and they are the reason why I am alive today,” she said.