Warning: this post might sound very nerdy. Read further only on your own risk.
Some of my friends know my rooting – love for kidney. I don’t know how, but this organ has always awed me since the very first day I decided to study medicine.
It all began with a certain disease called “post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis”. I’ll try to explain this as humanly easy as possible. The kidney is the organ which has a lot of functions. One of them is the filtering of the blood and the “cleansing” of the blood from waste products and toxins. If you look into a kidney-section through a microscope you will find a lot of capillary balls (glomerulus = latin for “ball of yarn”), where your blood will be freed from waste products and toxins. Glomerulonephritis is an inflammation process, which takes place in these capillary balls of the kidney. Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis is an inflammation process of the glomerulus, which is triggered by a streptococcal infection. Soo.. I was confronted with this term on the very first day of my study in the medical faculty of Universitas Padjajaran (hello Devi, Nita, Jihan, Yayas, Febia.. 🙂 ). At first I was thinking,”what the heck? I can’t even pronounce the name of this disease!”. Weirdly upon some research and reading in the gigantic text books, I was drawn into this organ.. But then I went to Germany (it happened so fast, read also my earlier entry) and my “first love” for the kidney was distracted for a while.
Then I found my love back in my third year of medical study. A certain Herr Dr. Becker, who is a specialist for kidney pathology “infected” me with his passion for this special organ. Through his charming way in lectures I was again drawn to the kidney. He offered me to do a doctoral thesis about rejections in transplanted kidney, and so I got myself a doctoral promotor. No questions, those were long hard days and nights in the lab. I did all my experiments parallel to my primary medical study. So yes, I didn’t have much time for other things outside the faculty. But my love for this organ was reciprocal. We had satisfying results which could be published in the year of 2011 (if you have nothing to do and are interested in the paper, please click here, the paper is now even free to download 😉 ). Through the constant support of my promotors in the pathology and in the nephrology department, the road to begin a career in the “kidney world” was wide open. Here I want to emphasize the advantage of German education system. You don’t necessarily need any insider connections to boost your career. Overall..you can be yourself and you will earn what you work for. Anyways, the kidney was actually also a door-opener for the relationship with my husband 😉
One thing led to another. I went straight to the nephrology (“kidney department”) after my study in March 2012 and I got a doctoral degree (Dr.med.) for my projects about kidney transplant in January 2013. Everything seemed perfect. I got an award from Hannover Medical School, and later on I was invited for a talk in the Indonesian embassy in Berlin, talking about kidneys in front of our former president, Prof. Dr.Ing. B. J. Habibie). He kept saying to me that day, how wonderful it was, to work with something I loved. And I was on the 7th heaven. My relationship with the kidney was perfect from the beginning on. But of course, just as any other relationships, mine was also very much full of ups and downs.
A lot had happened, that precisely on the 12th of March 2015 I finally decided to leave the kidney. It felt like a horrible break-up after a long-term relationship full of ups and downs. I left the kidney and the opportunity to have a career in the university. I can’t go into further details for now, but that’s what I’ve learned from my lessons: If a relationship becomes too toxic because you don’t recognize yourself anymore, you should end that. You should let it go, before both sides become less and less satisfied and before love turns into hatred.
One year after, I have slowly found myself again. I still love kidney (so thankful that my husband is still working with kidneys 🙂 ) and I can maintain a safe distance. Now, instead of treating sick kidneys I focus on prevention and maintaining the health of my patients. Just because keeping ones healthy and preventing diseases are more rewarding to me.. I wish I’d had more endurance for working in the curative medicine, I wish.. I wish.. but wishes don’t always come true and life always brings surprises.