'He's more daring, healthier, happier'

'He's more daring, healthier, happier'

Photo above: Bryan and his twin sister, Charmaine, celebrated their seventh birthday.

SINGAPORE - On his birthdays, the only feasting he was permitted to do was with his eyes.

He couldn't eat the food as he had no kidneys and was on a dialysis machine for 10 hours a day.

But on Dec 22, it was different. Bryan Liu, 7, finally got to taste the goodies after six years, when his family celebrated his birthday a few days early. He was born on Christmas Eve.

The reason for Bryan's change in fortune? 

He now has a kidney, thanks to a stranger who donated his left one in July. That stranger, Mr Lin Dilun, 27, is now a friend of the family and was invited to the party.

Said the events manager: "I'm very happy for him. He can be just like any other child. It is the first birthday he can really enjoy."

"I feel relieved in a way, seeing him so active. It just makes me feel that what I did was right." 

Bryan's mother, Madam Serene Ng, 38, said she is happy that her son can finally eat things he enjoys. "Last year, he couldn't have an actual Christmas meal such as turkey and ham."

"But this year, he could finally stand next to his father when his father was carving the turkey and he was given a piece of the meat."

Bryan ate ham, turkey, salad and two slices of cake. Madam Ng, a housewife, said: "He is more daring in trying new things. He's healthier and happier too. He's also more vocal and adventurous."

 

Grown 5cm taller

Grown 5cm taller

Since the transplant, Bryan, who has a twin sister Charmaine, has eaten ice cream, fast food and potato chips. Said Madam Ng: "Before this, fast food was more like a treat for him. He had it only about once a year."

"But since the transplant, he has eaten fast food three times. He has also started enjoying cold food."

"Before the transplant, he didn't like anything cold. He wasn't interested in snacks as well."

"Now, I can finally give them potato chips. In the past, we had to give his sister potato chips secretly."

Bryan drinks at least three litres of water a day to keep the transplanted kidney healthy. Madam Ng said: "We prepare a one-litre pitcher of water for him, which were fill three times a day." 

That is excluding the other fluids like soups and milk he drinks. Bryan has grown 5cm taller and has put on 1.5kg since the transplant.

Said his mother: "In the past, he grew quite slowly. He needed a nightly growth hormone injection to help him grow and even then, he grew only 5cm to 6 cm a year on average."

Bryan, who is 1.1m, still has a lot more growing to do to catch up with his twin sister, who is about 1.2m tall.

The twins finally went swimming for the first time in six years on Dec 12.

Madam Ng said: "We saw the surprise and sparkle in his eyes. He stepped into the play area right away. It was only when we went into the adult pool that he was a bit scared."

"Even when he was clinging onto us, we were playing, laughing and having fun."

Bryan could not go swimming previously for fear of infection.  As his parents did not want to treat him differently, his sister, who is normal, was not allowed to swim as well.

Bryan's new life also means new life for his parents, who can plan longer holidays without worrying about Bryan's dialysis needs - the family went on a stay cation last month for three days and two nights.

Precautions

Though the boy's food choices are wider, there are still precautions to take as he is on immuno suppressants.

These lower his immune system so that his body will not reject the transplanted kidney. 

So, the food he eats must be fully cooked.

Madam Ng said: "I can't give him chicken rice from the hawker centre because we don't know how long the chicken has been left outside."

"If he wants to eat chicken rice, we have to cook it at home ourselves."

With school starting today, Bryan is looking forward to go to school again.

Since the transplant, he has been homeschooled for fear of infection. 

Now, he can finally join his sister in Primary 2.

Said Madam Ng: "He's very eager to start school. We let them try on their school shoes and he kept telling us he'll be in Primary 2."

Last year has been eventful for Bryan and his family, and they are hoping for a less bumpy 2013.

Said Madam Ng: "Hopefully, he remains cheerful and healthy. Hopefully he can catch up with his peers academically, and most importantly, have fun in school."


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