Grateful for the Little Blessings
May 15, 2018

She was only in her early twenties when Zaliha binti Sis discovered that her kidneys were failing. Noticing that her legs and face were unusually swollen, she decided to go for a medical check-up, and was diagnosed as having nephrotic syndrome, a type of kidney disorder.

Two years later in 1978, Zaliha got married and began her lifelong journey with dialysis. Later that same year, due to her chronic kidney condition, Zaliha was also forced to abort her pregnancy. Her husband, a health officer, whom she had confided in about her illness before marriage, was understanding and supportive.

She received a glimmer of hope in 1979 when her mother donated one of her kidneys, but after undergoing surgery the following year, Zaliha’s body rejected it, leaving the latter with no choice but to resume dialysis.

Back then, the former assistant nurse used to commute to Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) from Banting to undergo 8-hour dialysis treatments three times a week.

“I am very fortunate to have had the strong support of my husband and his family while I was ill and undergoing treatment. Even my hospital superiors were understanding and gave me the flexibility to choose my work shifts based on my treatments,” shares Zaliha.

In 1982, the couple adopted a daughter, her husband’s niece, who is now an engineer with two sons of her own. Zaliha’s treatments have now reduced to four hours per session, and despite all she has been through, the 63-year-old seems content.

“Even though I have to undergo these treatments I’m still able to do the things I love, like sewing and cooking for my family. I made sure I controlled my child’s diet when she was younger so she wouldn’t go through what I did,” says Zaliha, who currently lives in Ampang with her daughter and grandsons.”

“My only wish”, she says, “is to see my grandsons grow up healthily and hope that I don’t become a burden to anyone as I get older.”
Meanwhile, Melini binti Ismail has been through quite a different journey. Born in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Melini pursued her further education in accounting (ACCA) in the United Kingdom many years ago.

The former accountant at TV3 found out about her failing kidneys after a blood test in 2012. Prior to that, Melini and her family members had suspected that her kidneys were not functioning well as she was already suffering from diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure).

However, despite advice from the nephrologist she decided to delay her dialysis treatments due to her work commitments at a German firm at that time.

Since commencing dialysis treatments in late 2012, the 62-year-old admits that one of the things she has had to give up, and that she misses most, is traveling.

“When traveling I need to find areas with dialysis centres and book well in advance, which can be quite troublesome, especially if I’m going overseas. So the only traveling I do these days is back to my hometown in Kota Bahru, which incidentally has an NKF branch,” shares Melini, who has only been under NKF’s care since 2012, undergoing dialysis treatments at a private hospital prior to this.

Having a chronic kidney condition also means that Melini has to watch her diet closely, which can prove to be quite challenging for a self-proclaimed food-lover like her.

She admits that she was once admitted to hospital for two days after indulging in nasi dagang. Since that scare, she has been more careful about her diet and has started cooking healthier food for herself.

These days, Melini, who has two daughters and a son, spends her free time helping her husband plant figs and lemons at his farms in Rawang.

“These days I prefer to stay home, cook and spend time with my family. I’m actually happy with what I have, and wouldn’t want to consider a kidney transplant from any of my family members. My only regret is perhaps that I did not have more children when I was younger, but otherwise, I have lived a good life. I am happy.”

For more information on these and future NKF activities or to donate towards the organisation’s efforts, please visit - or call 03-7954 9048.


Plight Story
by National Kidney Foundation Malaysia

National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) Malaysia is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to helping Malaysians suffering from end stage kidney failure who lack access to or cannot afford dialysis treatment. NKF currently has over 1,600 dialysis patients receiving subsidized dialysis treatment in over 27 dialysis centers nationwide.

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution