Miracles Happen !
The span of twenty six years took her through basketball, engineering, and a beauty pageant. Komal Pawar soon formed a matrimonial partnership with Dhiraj Goadase. Her new identity – Komal Pawar Godase – became a national topic within nine months of her marriage.
In September 2016, Komal was diagnosed with advanced Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH) and right heart failure (RV dysﬁmction). The Primary Pulmonary hypertension caused high pressure on her lungs that ﬁlrther strained her heart. This led to the failure of her heart and lungs, leaving her lungs ﬁlled with ﬂuids. Komal could hardly talk and required roughly 8 litres of oxygen daily.
Her husband, Dhiraj Godase, kept the severity of the medical condition away from Komal. She was required to be on artiﬁcial oxygen, restricting her to be homebound. To ensure that Komal wouldn’t feel claustrophobic or lose spirit, Dhiraj would often take Komal and her oxygen tank in a car for drives. In the back of his mind though, he knew time was running out.
They went to doctors in their hometown — Satara – but found no answers. The desperation to ﬁnd a cure made the Godases travel from Satara to Pune to Bengaluru where they were advised lung transplant. While searching for the best doctors for a lung transplant, Dhiraj stumbled upon Gleneagles Global Hospital (Chennai) via an intemet search. Soon Komal and Dhiraj ﬂew to Chennai for further treatment.
Despite being bed bound for three months, Komal was reluctant to undergo surgery on reaching Chennai. She recollects, “We have so many preconceived notions… I am young, have a life ahead of me. .. I was sceptical about the surgery. What if it went wrong or had a side effect on another part of my body?” Dr Sandeep Attawar — Director Cardiovascular Surgery, Thoracic Organ Transplantation at Gleneagles Global Hospital — took the initiative and started personal counselling for Komal. To motivate her, he would often tell Komal, “Medication is just a treatment, Komal; only your willpower will win us.”
While admitted in Gleneagles Global Hospital, Komal was under medical management for heart failure in the beginning. But her condition started deteriorating rapidly and was suggested early heart and bilateral lung transplant.
Past incurred expenditures due to repeated hospitalisations had eaten away all of the Godase’s savings. Dhiraj and his colleagues lent on social media for help. Through Milaap, India’s largest crowdfunding site, 224 supporters crowdfunded ₹349038 for Komal’s surgery.
Dr Sandeep took the surgery as a challenge when no one was willing to take it up. He ﬁrst set up the pre and post transplantation plans. Komal was on a waiting list for weeks until a match was identiﬁed in a donor from Madurai. Given the heavy trafﬁc, the medical team decided to airlift the organs to make sure they were viable for the transplant in time.
The surgery went on for 9 excruciatingly anxious hours but Dr Sandeep walked out of the surgery with a hopeful smile. Dhiraj reminisces, “A face none of us will ever forget. Komal’s is the ﬁrst case of both heart and lung transplant. It was Dr Sandeep and his team’s conﬁdence that has given Komal a new life on 20th June, 2017!” Komal is the ﬁrst woman in India with a successful heart and bilateral lung transplant.
Coming back to Komal’s willpower, she walked on the third day of her surgery stunning her family with disbelief. “Dr Sandeep is nothing less than God for me. For him, money does not matter but patients matter. I owe the new lease of my life to him,” she says in utter gratitude.
In Komal’s successful journey, it was the rock solid and unwavering support of her husband that turned the impossible around. His determination, resourcefulness, and love for Komal also deserve credit. He opines, “We are careless living beings. We not only take our body for granted but also fail to realise the miracle God has made us. We neither value a healthy body nor do we recognise the value of oxygen.
But ask someone its value who faces difﬁculty, who isn’t able to breathe, and who is suffering.” After surgery, recovery, and discharge, Komal needed long term follow-up management that included immunosuppressant therapy and follow-up investigations. Despite the limitations, Komal fought back gracefully to lead a perfectly normal life. She is back to playing basketball, participates in marathons, and indulges in adventure sports like parasailing. In return for the gratefulness of her donor, and the efforts of her doctors, supporters, well-wishers, in-laws, she set up Komal New Life Foundation along with her husband, Dhiraj.
“Perhaps, Komal has been granted a new lease of life to serve people,” believes Dhiraj. Through the Komal New Life Foundation, Komal and Dhiraj spread awareness about organ donation and its importance. Dhiraj says, “If we are able to save at least one life through our NGO, we will be eternally happy.”
Komal is a role model for patients seeking transplants. Dhiraj points out, “A family from Gujarat with three MD doctors were unwilling to opt for a transplant for their relative. Their opinion changed after visiting and personally interacting with Komal.” In similar ways, 18 patients have been treated with transplantation until now.
The young couple has dedicated their lives for organ donation. Not only do they counsel patients for transplantations but also assist them in transplant-related finances.
To wish them the best and/or contribute, you can reach Komal New Life Foundation on +918275269287.
Komal Pawar Godase