“The prudent sees danger and hides himself but the simple go on and suffer for it.”
What you’re seeing in the picture below isn’t huge eggs of some mysterious quails, neither are they the raw paintings of Leonardo Davinci. No!
Right now, someone may be wondering, why this?
I am a liberal Presbyterian, I pray to God often and I am also a believer of miracles. My life has been full of miracles and this is not the time to downplay the role miracles play in our lives.
”It is appointed unto men to die once and after death, judgment” (emphasis mine) Hebrews 9:27. This means that everyone will eventually die, no man will turn into a piece of shiny stone.
But you see, let’s call a spade a spade and not a big spoon. Ignorance and religious notoriety are killing us.
This was a 31-year-old lady in her reproductive age, who reported to the hospital that a faithful afternoon with complaints of leg swelling, lethargy and abdominal distension for two years.
Her predicaments started in 2017 when she noticed her menses had become unbearably heavy. She would sometimes change sanitary pads about 4-5 times per day when hitherto she used to change just twice, morning and evening. Later that same year she realized her legs were becoming bigger and bigger and she started getting tired with the little activity she engages in.
She decided to visit the hospital and after several investigations, she was told she had a uterine fibroid which needed surgery.
At the mention of surgery, her mood changed, she became sullen. She started thinking, surgery! Why me? What have I done to deserve this?
She told the doctor, she was going to inform her family and come later that week. Unbeknownst to this doctor, that was her first and last time of stepping in that hospital.
When she got home and informed her family, the whole issue became like a community project, everyone was suggesting one herbalist or the other, whilst some too were recommending some powerful men of God who could pray for fibroid nodules to vanish. Don’t be surprised, this is possible. If a man of God could pray for the Ghana Cedi to appreciate in value, then sure, there are many more who could pray for a uterine fibroid to vanish from the uterus or sometimes change into a baby.
That was when her journey to self-destruction started. She would drink one herbal concoction or the other, visit different prayer camps, buy oceans of anointing oil and bath same, hoping one day her fibroids would be no more. Like a Naphthalene ball at room temperature, they would sublime into thin air.
As preposterous as this may sound, many people (including well informed and educated folks) almost always behave this way whenever they’re taken ill unexpectedly. Can you blame them? Ye men of little faith!
Later that year, the bleeding became heavier and her abdomen became bigger. Those who hadn’t seen her in a long time were congratulating her on her pregnancy. The older folks predicted she was carrying twins. She would look at them and smile.
Yes indeed, she was pregnant, but not pregnant with human babies but rather fibroid babies. You heard me right.
She was the only person who knew what she was going through.
Nevertheless, she didn’t give up on visiting the prayer camps and taking different servings of multicoloured concoctions.
One day, the good news her flattened ears were waiting to hear had arrived, one of the herbalists told her all the fibroids had dissolved, what is left in there is just blood, she should visit the hospital to take a pelvic scan and submit the report to him.
So ignorantly, she also headed to the hospital the next day for the scan, not necessarily to see a doctor.
That afternoon when she came, my day was almost in its dying moments, I had packed my stethoscope and every other thing into my backpack jumped onto my cell phone and started surfing Facebook (one addiction I also have to fight, lol) to catch-up with what’s happening across the world. She was my last patient.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have taken time to listen to all her story, but there was something striking about her, she was very magnanimous with the truth despite her destructively sickening level of ignorance.
I took time and listened to all that she had gone through for the past two years and counting.
At the time she came, her legs had gotten swollen, her abdomen was pendulous with tiny streaks of blood vessels interspersed in different directions, she looked like someone who was pregnant with dichorionic-diamniotic twins, the little exertion and she would start panting like a pregnant fish.
From the onset, she was paper white (very pale), many differentials came to mind, Kidneys, liver or heart probably jeopardized?
After a thorough history, physical examination and series of investigations, we realized she had multiple fibroid nodules which were causing her to have heavy menses thereby making her lose a lot of blood within the period. She was left with a drop of blood. Her haemoglobin level was 3.9g/dl (normal female should have a haemoglobin level of 12-15g/dl)
The persistent loss of blood had caused the heart to fail and that had manifested as leg swelling and easy fatigability.
Quickly, I reached out to my boss, Dr Abdul Tamim Basit, who also doubled as our surgeon.
We discussed the treatment algorithm and decided to admit her, give her three Units of whole blood and prepare her for theatre the next day or two.
The severe anaemia was corrected and the next day she was operated on. All the fibroids were removed, none had melted and her pendulous abdomen had now become a six-pack abdomen. In all, she received five units of blood.
You could see her face saturated with joy as she was pushed from the recovery room to the surgical ward. Despite the joy of having her life saved at this very crucial moment, she had many regrets too.
The following day when she had become stable, I went to her bedside to have a chat with her.
Throughout our chat, she couldn’t hide her joy and appreciation to the team of Clinicians and Nurses at the Kenop Care Hospital, led by Dr Abdul Basit, who did everything humanly possible to salvage the fibroid ridden nulligravid uterus. But as long as her joy continued, so were her regrets.
She recounted all the monies she had lost to several herbalists and pastors, the several litres of bitter concoctions she had taken, the anointing oils, the stickers and all the time she wasted chasing the wind.
She regrets having waited to the level of Life and Death, where she had to leave with heart failure, possibly.
She regrets not listening to the doctors at the previous hospital.
She regrets everything and in all that, she gave thanks to God for giving her a second chance to live.
Later that evening, I walked quietly to her while she was relaxing in bed with one question on mind,
What advice would you to give to anyone who finds him/herself in a situation similar to yours?
She had this to say; “I will entreat everyone to seek early medical attention whenever they are having some health challenges, you might not know, it may be something that could take your life easily”
To the general public, Fibroids are benign growths in the uterus. They usually appear during childbearing years. They do not cause cancer but they can make you bleed every drop of blood out of your body.
They can also cause very intense lower abdominal pains or painful menstrual cycle and rarely, they cause infertility.
Fibroids DO NOT dissolve through prayers or taking herbal concoctions.
Nobody is saying you shouldn’t pray, in fact, pray without ceasing but when you’re sick, see your doctor and follow his/her instructions.
Thanks for reading. Educate someone by sharing.
The writer is a Clinician and a Public Health Enthusiast.
Columnist: Tordjo Victor