Staying active and engaging in sports has been Fredrick Kiyingi’s lifestyle since childhood.
However, as he grew older, his daily life was affected so much that by 30, he could not partake in any physical activity. He was 37 years old when a medical examination by Prof Michael Kawooya, a senior radiologist at Mengo hospital, revealed that his gall bladder was releasing toxins into the liver. It was also on the verge of rupturing.
Kiyingi, now 47, was born with a liver problem medically termed as choledochal cyst. Dr David Ndawula, the medical director of Kampala Family Clinic, says a choledochal cyst occurs when the bile duct, a vessel that leads bile to the intestines from the liver, is structured abnormally.
“This causes bile to accumulate in the duct resulting in duct damage and formation of a cyst (fluid-filled sac),” Dr Ndawula explains.
He says a liver transplant becomes necessary when the liver has been damaged to the extent that it cannot perform its normal functions. This is known as liver failure.
The liver is one of the largest organs in the body. It produces bile necessary in digestion of fats, makes agents needed for blood clotting, removes toxins from the blood stream and controls blood sugars, among other functions.
“Although liver failure can be managed by medication, this can sustain one in good health for a short while. A liver transplant is the only cure for liver failure,” he says.
Running out of steam:
In 2001, an acute pain on the right side of his abdomen became a bedfellow. It caused him severe loss of appetite and nausea.
“To keep the pain at bay, I devotedly relied on drugs meant to cure peptic ulcers because doctors suspected I was suffering from these,” said Kiyingi, the safety and security coordinator of US Peace Corps – Uganda.
He used the drugs between 2002 and 2005. But by May 2005, Kiyingi was starting to feel much more tired. His body darkened and thinned so much that he suspected HIV.
“Once, I went to Kampala Family clinic in Nsambya to buy painkillers and told Dr Ndawula that I had HIV. He told me to open my mouth and stick my tongue out and hinted on the possibility of a gall bladder and liver complication,” the soft-spoken father of two said.
He was referred to Prof Kawooya who treated him immediately, noticing that the gall bladder was about to rupture. Ruptures are most commonly caused by an inflammation of the gallbladder. The most common causes are gallstones. The initial symptom of a gallbladder rupture is a sudden onset of sharp or severe pain. Kiyingi was later admitted at Case Clinic.
“I stayed at Case for three months and while here, I had jaundice, fever, more pain and my skin got darker,” he recalls.
Ndawula says jaundice is caused by the liver’s failure to remove bilirubin, a brownish yellow substance found in bile. Kiyingi was operated upon and his gallbladder, plagued with gallstones was removed together with a fraction of the affected liver.
Dr Ndawula says a portion of a liver can be removed because of the liver’s unique ability to regenerate. It is the only organ in the body with this capability.
Worse becomes worst:
Just two weeks after the first operation, his stomach started swelling tremendously because the improvised plastic bile duct was misdirected.
“Immediately, I was rushed to Mengo hospital in an ambulance and about three litres of dark green bile were drained from my body,” Kiyingi reminisces.
A metallic tube was inserted into his body to drain the excess bile and liver function tests showed that his liver had completely deteriorated. He was thus linked to Prof Godfrey Lule, a consultant physician and gastroenterologist at Nairobi hospital. To raise money needed for treatment in Nairobi, Kiyingi sold all his six cars and ended a transaction meant to purchase a house.
At Nairobi hospital, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test revealed that Kiyingi’s liver was completely rotten. He was now referred to Apollo hospital in India for further treatment. He arrived at the hospital on December 24, 2013 and examinations revealed that he had liver cirrhosis – an abnormal liver condition in which there is irreversible scarring of the liver.
“The doctors here told me that I had only six months to live unless I underwent a transplant for which I needed $60,000 and a donor,” he says.
Fortunately his son, Laurin Baalu, 18, was willing to part with a portion of his liver.
The final straw:
He was operated upon on March 12 at the Health Care Global Enterprises in Bangalore, India. He remained in the intensive care unit for two weeks and was discharged on April 17.
Although Kiyingi has been down the hatches, he is one of the few lucky ones he is on the road to recovery. His chocolate skin complexion is back and he has resumed work. However, he is now on life medication and needs $ 16,385 (about Shs 42m) to clear HCG’s hospital bill
For contribution, Kiyingi can be reached on 0776578667 or direct account deposits may be made to account number 1100035091-Housing Finance bank or 6004149376 at Barclays bank.
Source : The Observer