March 4, 2024

From Operating Room to Finish Line

As a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, my days are filled with intricate procedures, meticulous planning, and the immense satisfaction of helping patients improve their lives. But outside the operating room, another passion fuels my life: running.

Juggling these seemingly disparate worlds might seem unusual, but for me, they represent a beautiful harmony. Both surgery and running demand dedication, focus, and a deep commitment to pushing my limits. In an extraordinary February weekend, these worlds collided in a truly remarkable way, culminating in what I call my “Special 10.”

Fresh off the Tata Mumbai Marathon, I was training for the Hiranandani Thane Half Marathon (HTHM) just three weeks later. However, fate had other plans. On Friday morning, an alert for a hand donation arrived, throwing my meticulously planned schedule into disarray. This wasn’t just any transplant; it was our 10th bilateral hand transplant, a significant milestone for our team.

10th Bilateral Hand Transplant at Gleneagles Hospital

10th Bilateral Hand Transplant at Gleneagles Hospital

The recipient, Jeevesh Kushwah, a young mechanical engineer, had suffered a life-altering accident in 2020, resulting in the amputation of both his hands. Despite the challenges, Jeevesh never lost hope and eventually found his way to our team at Gleneagles Hospitals, Parel, Mumbai. The stars seemed to align when a suitable donor became available within a month of Jeevesh’s registration. However, this presented its own set of logistical hurdles. The donor hands needed to be meticulously prepared and transported from Surat to Mumbai, while Jeevesh had to rush from Ujjain.

Jeevesh underwent the 12-hour long bilateral hand transplant on February 9th, 2024. Witnessing the hope rekindled in Jeevesh’s eyes as he looked at his new hands was a powerful reminder of the profound impact our work can have.

Exhausted but exhilarated by the successful outcome, I was faced with a personal test: prioritize rest or honor my commitment to the HTHM. True to my spirit of perseverance, I laced up my shoes and hit the pavement. The run was both physically and mentally demanding, mirroring the challenges of the surgery. Each stride demanded focus and unwavering belief in pushing my limits.

Completing the HTHM not only fulfilled my commitment but also resulted in an improved time. This personal achievement, coinciding with the successful surgery and the 10th edition of the HTHM, brought a feeling of immense accomplishment. It was a “10 on 10” moment, a perfect embodiment of work-life balance.

Dr. Nilesh Satbhai Running At HTHM 2024

Dr. Nilesh Satbhai Running At HTHM 2024

Running has always been a personal passion, evolving from a solitary hobby to a space for introspection and rejuvenation. The 2020 lockdown became a catalyst for taking it more seriously. This year, I’m committed to a dedicated training regimen, having already participated in three half marathons — the Tata Mumbai Marathon, the Hiranandani Thane Half Marathon, and the L&T Sea Bridge Marathon.

Beyond the physical benefits, long-distance running offers a unique space for mental clarity. As I run, thoughts gradually fade, replaced by a deep sense of focus and connection with my body. This meditative state fosters reflection, allowing me to explore new ideas and personal plans. It’s a valuable “me time” that fosters creativity and inner peace.

Dr. Nilesh Satbhai Running At TMM 2024

Dr. Nilesh Satbhai Running At TMM 2024

The disciplined focus required for marathon training translates remarkably well to the demands of reconstructive and microvascular surgery. The experiences from both endeavors have been mutually beneficial, each one enhancing the other. Marathons also bring together diverse fitness enthusiasts who share a deep appreciation for life and health. This shared passion creates a powerful platform for raising awareness about important causes, like organ donation.

In fact, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing several of our hand transplant recipients participating in the Dream Run at the Tata Mumbai Marathon. These individuals exemplify the life-changing impact of organ donation and serve as powerful motivators for spreading awareness.

As I continue on this journey, both as a surgeon and a runner, I remain committed to advocating for organ donation. Remember, YOLO (You Only Live Once)! Make the most of your life and consider the incredible gift you can give to others by becoming an organ donor.

Dr. Nilesh Satbhai
Dr. Nilesh Satbhai

About the author

Dr. Nilesh Satbhai is a highly experienced and skillful plastic surgeon who has dedicated his career to helping patients feel at ease with their bodies. He completed his Plastic Surgery training at the prestigious Seth G. S. Medical College and K.E.M Hospital in Mumbai, after which he went on to earn his fellowship in various subfields of plastic and reconstructive surgery. Dr. Nilesh is a caring professional who takes the time to get to know his patients and understand their individual needs and goals. He is committed to providing the highest quality care possible and strives to make every patient feel comfortable and confident in their decision to undergo treatment. If you are considering plastic or reconstructive surgery, Dr. Nilesh Satbhai is a trusted surgeon who can provide you with the results you desire.

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