On the 15th of April 2017, I went to the hospital to have my 3rd baby, I had complications, a life threatening one, and I went unconscious. When I came to, my baby was gone, they had done an emergency surgery to remove her, I never saw her, and she was buried by her father. Oh! Just so you know, this all happened in Lagos, at least the location of events we can talk about.
Few days later I was discharged, I was in both physical and emotional pain. Pain from the surgery and pain from the loss of a baby carried for 9 month that I never saw.
Well, life had to go on, life should have gone on, with my body healing fast and my emotional scars fading with time, but yeah, life did go on, just differently…
Something was wrong inside my stomach, I was almost always bloated, even 2 months after my surgery, I thought it was something I was eating. I went back to the doctors, I was given anti-biotic, and they were not helping. I seemed to be getting worse, I also had endless vaginal discharge, so constant and nonstop.
I was either going to the toilet too much or rarely going, my stomach did not feel like mine.
I went to the doctors again, they did some tests and listened to my symptoms, in the end Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS) was diagnosed. They said avoid milk, avoid bowel inflaming food… eating became a nightmare, because even avoiding the inflammatory foods did no good… what was more alarming, I was losing a lot of weight very fast.
One week, I might feel better and the next I am sick. So in all, I was not digesting food well, I was having vaginal discharge which was to be later discovered to be urine and not discharge and I was dropping pounds at a fast pace.
Family and friends told me what to try out, natural remedies, different medications. Nothing was helping, I could not be there for my two kids efficiently as a mother should.
The doctors started hinting of kidney failure, they said tests showed my kidneys were dilated they were also hinting cancer. A recurring question on the mind of many was, why was are you suffering these symptoms only after your last baby, after your surgery?
Months rolled by with only an endless circle of pain, in-between my mother and brother had visited me in Lagos, and their concern was at my weight loss, I told them it would be fine.
There were days I could not stand up straight because of the extreme pain in my abdomen.
At the start of 2018, I really started thinking of coming home to my parents in Abuja with my kids, but I kept stalling for a number of reasons.
I felt I was really slipping away and I was to go home at the end of March, but I decided I should leave for Abuja immediately and stop delaying. On arriving Abuja, everyone was shocked at my appearance, I too was shocked, because I had not gotten a full glimpse of myself in a mirror while in Lagos, till I looked at myself in my mother’s dressing mirror and I also broke down crying. How had I become a carcass of a living human being? My ribs were sticking out, my chest was flat I had no breasts any more, I had no thighs, I was all bones.
I was so weak that my family had to keep carrying me around, the hospital in Abuja admitted me immediately, I was eliminating what I ate in the loo exactly as I ate it, I was not digesting any food, my body was not taking any nutrients from food.
Between the months of March to April 2018, I was moving from one hospital to the other, I was running endless tests, some tests costing as much as a hundred thousand naira (N100,000) like colonoscopy, which I had to repeat twice. Why? Because the camera found a bulge in my intestine, a blockage that made it impossible for the camera to go further.
What was this bulge? Again doctors in Abuja, started telling me that I might have cancer, I should be ready for anything, that they will do a surgery on me to remove the bulgy lumpy part.
I was waiting for my surgery, but then health workers went on strike while I was on admission, the hospital basically parked up. I left.
I have an uncle in Kano who is also a doctor and with my mother we left for Kano immediately, within 2 days my uncle summoned other consultants and they decided on a surgery for me having looked at all my test results from Abuja.
On 21st April 2018 I had surgery.
I never had Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS), I never had cancer or kidney problems. What I had was a gauze bandage (pictured beneath), left inside my stomach during my last surgery. What my uncle and his colleagues did was a colostomy, to help me pass waste through a small bag attached to the side of my stomach.
This was the item that had wreaked all that havoc on my body almost making my kidneys fail, almost killing me, and almost making my 2 kids motherless.
It was pulled out of my rectum when the doctors were feeling the foreign object felt like a fabric and not a fleshy lump suspected to be a cancerous growth. A growth that they were already saying I would need chemotherapy to shrink, and we all know not a lot of people survive chemo therapy.
It is just the month of June 20118 and I am gaining weigh rapidly, recovering rapidly. I will still go in for another surgery as I am not passing waste rectally, but through a small device attached to my stomach. I have another surgery come August to redirect my colon so I can now pass waste myself.
This is how many people have been silently killed without knowing what was wrong with them till they died, this is how some doctors get away with such acts of carelessness. Maybe it was mistake, but this is a costly mistake that has changed the story of my life forever.
That a doctor can forget a foreign object inside your body might sound like something only seen in movies, things you only hear from a distance and cannot be bothered about. But what happens when an incident like this comes knocking right at your door, happening to you yourself or someone so dear…
This is the story of how the doctors forgot something inside me, and there is more to come, because something has to be done about this.
Dear readers, take note of your body and how it behaves after a major or minor surgery, I had all the symptoms signifying I had a foreign external object inside me, but I didn’t know. Take note for yourselves and take note for your loved ones too.