THEN AND NOW: Kidney disease victim Shabana Mohammed, 29.


Shabana’s 8-year kidney ordeal

Jobless, confined to wheelchair...

By Sue-Ann Wayow

Eight years ago, a 21-year-old customer service representative with the State airline was enjoying her work, hanging out with friends and had intentions of furthering her studies.
But a chance meeting with a travelling passenger changed Shabana Mohammed’s life forever.
At the time, Mohammed’s feet had been swollen for days. She did not know why as she felt no pain or any major uncomfortable feeling except fitting her swollen feet into shoes.
While checking in, a doctor, travelling in first class, noticed her condition.
After examining her foot briefly, he told she was suffering from a heart or kidney malfunction and gave her a contact number for another doctor.
Within a week, an appointment was made with that doctor and Mohammed discovered a kidney was failing her.
She spent some time at San Fernando General Hospital shortly after, going through tests and treatments and later on a biopsy.
In 2006, Mohammed was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a common form of kidney disease.
On March 1, 2010, her kidney failed her completely.
“In the years in between, I was on medication and in and out of the hospital trying my best to live with the disease,” she said.
At 25, when Mohammed heard she would have to be on dialysis, all her life’s hopes were crushed.
“The whole world came crashing down. You are kind of dying with just a machine to keep you alive. I felt like life had ended and I was just getting a second chance at it,” said Mohammed.
“I honestly thought it would go away. I never thought it would reach to this. I always had hope it would leave.”
Today, the 29-year-old is now jobless, confined to a wheelchair and in need of a kidney.
She lives in Chaguanas with her
parents, Nazrul and Gwenete Mohammed, and younger brother Rasul. She occasionally goes out with them.
She worked for a year with the airline but had to quit because of health reasons. Many of her friends left her when she became ill and she also suffered a broken relationship.
But being ill has taught her who to really trust, she said. And though she may be weak physically, Mohammed said she was stronger.
“I am stronger on my own, but the truth is, I am stronger because of my parents and my brother. They have been there for me more than anyone.”
Three times a week, Mohammed visits a dialysis centre in Freeport.
“I need a kidney because I want to live a normal life once again. I don’t want to be going to do dialysis. I want to go back out to work and go out with my friends. I go out with my parents sometimes, but Trinidad and Tobago is not really convenient for a wheelchair,” she said.
But she still has hope...hope of pursuing her first degree in marketing.
Last month, South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) chief executive officer Anil Gosine said some 6,441 dialyses are performed annually at San Fernando General Hospital with the use of only ten machines.
At the SWRHA, each month, there are 14 new kidney patients and 120 on dialysis, he said.
By year’s end, 14 machines will be utilised, said Gosine.
The SWRHA was in the process of implementing new services as well as improving existing services for kidney patients, he added.
He encouraged persons to get medical check-ups regularly “because early detection of the disease makes it easier to manage and alleviate the risk of complications affecting the body”.
Once detected at an early stage, kidney disease was treatable, he said.
Gosine also urged the public to become kidney donors when they die.
Anyone willing to assist Mohammed can call 317-3621, or e-mail her at
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