Boy without kidneys makes parents proud

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Boy without kidneys makes parents proud

Post by Mrz bossY on Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:32 pm

For the past 12 years Tajae Dowdie has made several trips in and out of hospital. So when he was again admitted to hospital six weeks before the sitting of the 2008 Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) in March, his parents had doubts about his ability to sit the test.
Tajae Dowdie, who turned 12 yesterday, poses with his mother, Faith Dowdie, at the family's businessplace in Portmore, St Catherine. (Photo: Taneisha Lewis)

The Dowdies are, however, rejoicing today that they allowed Tajae to sit the exam, as not only has he scored big, but the Portmore Missionary Preparatory School student has been awarded a place at Jamaica College (JC), one of the nation's top secondary schools.

"(Last) Friday when we heard that he was going to JC he jumped into my arms and said 'thank you, mommy, thank you for sending me to school'," Faith Dowdie, Tajae's mother, reminisced with a smile. "When he was little he always told me that he couldn't wait to go to high school."

Tajae, who turned 12 yesterday, was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome - a disorder in which damaged kidneys leak large amounts of protein from the blood into the urine - when he was a baby.

"When he was born, the doctors realised that there was something wrong. and when he was about nine months old he was passing blood in his urine. When they did the tests they found out he had Nephrotic Syndrome," Dowdie, with Tajae at her side, told the Observer yesterday as she sat on a chair at a restaurant she co-owns with her husband in Portmore, St Catherine.

She said that treatment allowed her son to maintain a 'fair bill of health' up to age three, but as he grew older his condition worsened, resulting in him being hospitalised numerous times.

"At age seven he really went into end stage renal failure and that's when he had to start dialysis," Dowdie said. "He has been on dialysis for five years now."

End stage renal failure occurs when the kidney loses it function, which is to keep the blood clean and chemically balanced. Patients with Tajae's condition must undergo dialysis or transplantation to stay alive.

At that tender age, Tajae also suffered from high blood pressure, which the doctor had difficulty controlling with medication. His blood pressure went up to as much as 220 over 170, compared to a normal reading of 120 over 80 or lower, according to Dowdie. This forced the doctors to remove both of his kidneys at age eight in order to stave off chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke. A device was also implanted in his arm to help his blood to flow better.

"His blood pressure was uncontrollable, even when he was on medication, so now that the kidneys are out it is better controlled with medication," Dowdie said, as she raised her shirt to show the scars on both sides of his back where the kidneys were removed.

Tajae has to receive life-saving dialysis treatment three times a week - Monday, Wednesday and Friday - but in between his treatment, his mother said, he spends a lot of time away from school because of hospitalisation. He also has to ingest 11 different types of medication for his condition.

"He just got out of the hospital last week, because he had a high fever. sometimes immediately after I drop him off at school I have to go back for him because he is sick," she said, adding that he misses a few hours of school because he has to leave early for dialysis. "This makes it the third time he has been hospitalised since the beginning of the year. He was hospitalised five times last year."

But Tajae's ordeal did not prevent him from ensuring that he was prepared for GSAT. In fact, he said he was excited to do the exam. His mother also had a lot of confidence in him since he is an honour roll student.

"My older sister was very helpful and we bought the GSAT books to study from," said the outspoken youngster. "When I was taking the exams a lot of things went through my head. I was very excited."

Jamaica College, located on Old Hope Road, was his second choice. His mother said she decided to choose schools that were closer to the University Hospital of the West Indies where Tajae goes for dialysis.

Nevertheless, Dowdie said despite her son's condition he maintains a very optimistic outlook.

"He doesn't let anything get him down in spite of the fact that he might not look like the rest of the children around him," she said.
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Re: Boy without kidneys makes parents proud

Post by Mz_U on Sat Jun 14, 2008 11:52 am

That's nice! Thank God he has parents who love him and are able to finance all his medical expenses. Wish him all th best @ JC

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