“Being loved deeply by someone gives you strength. And who better to exemplify this than Mdm Ma War War Win Maung, a mother diagnosed with kidney failure 10 years ago. From despair to acceptance and finally, optimism, Mdm War War raised her son and watched him blossom from a playful child to a dedicated teen.”
“Ten years ago, when I found out that I had kidney failure, I was very sad. But I was more worried about my son, Arthur, who was in kindergarten then.
My parents and relatives live in Myanmar. Although my husband is in Singapore, he spends a lot of time at work. He has to shoulder the burden of being the sole breadwinner of the family and ensure that Arthur and I are able to live comfortably, without comprising our standard of living, even with the medical expenses weighing us down. Most of the responsibility of raising Arthur rested on me. Because of my condition, I have to go for dialysis, three days a week. My immediate thought was – who will take care of Arthur?
NKF said that a volunteer could watch over him. A neighbour also offered to help. But Arthur was reluctant. He said, ‘Mum, I don’t want other people. I want only you. I want to stay beside you.’
These words and his insistence became my source of strength, especially on difficult days. I know my condition affected Arthur. Arthur’s tutor saw him break down and cried when he heard the news. But Arthur never shed a tear in front of me. Even as a child, he sat beside me and studied as I underwent dialysis, never complaining about the long hours he had to spend in the centre with me nor displayed any fear towards the blood that was being filtered by the machines.
The nurses were friendly. One of them even helped Arthur with Chinese lessons and he scored straight As during his PSLE.
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are my dialysis days, so I cook and do the housework on my days off. However, I often feel extremely drained — imagine not having the energy nor strength to hang a bamboo pole’s worth of clothes! When I need to lie down, Arthur quietly takes over and does the chores.
My blood pressure goes up and down. Sometimes I feel giddy and vomit. It is hard to have a full-time job but thank goodness NKF is helping us with affordable dialysis treatment. They also helped me find a part-time job through a programme they have to help patients find employment so that we can get back on our feet. I now work at the NKF Centre where I make and serve drinks at ‘Kaki Corner’. My supervisor is understanding when I need to take a day off.
I have to watch my diet. Even though I like durian, I don’t eat it because it is too sweet and not good for my health. I am currently on the waiting list for a kidney transplant and am hopeful that I can receive one soon so that I can find a full-time job.
Challenges aside, there are many things I am thankful for. Although we are in the midst of a pandemic, we spend more time together as a family now. We cook and exercise more often together like going for hiking trails at MacRitchie reservoir. Arthur is in secondary four now and he still picks me up after dialysis sessions. He still tells me often that he wants to stay close to me. I know he needs me and that is why I stay positive and hope for the best with the good treatment and care I’m getting.”
– Madam Ma War War Win Maung, 52