Redemption

A Journey to Health

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My heart goes to anyone dealing with whatever form of illness and disease; I pray you strength and healing.

Exactly a year ago, 19th Dec 2014 when the battle for my health and life started after what was called a “minor” surgery.

“Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.”
― Emory Austin.

I am not one very comfortable dropping private story on FB, but I found strength in someone’s journey to healing shared here on Facebook.

I believe my story will also encourage someone not give up hope.

19th Dec ’14
Heart cold as stone as the nurse wheeled me into the theatre with a smile…

Are you feeling “high” already the doctor asked…
I gave him the STFU look…(well I wasn’t in the mood for one of his dry jokes)
she never laughs to any of my jokes he said…

My heart beating faster for fear of not knowing what lies ahead.
I gave my will to the Anesthesia as I drifted away…

Hours passed…

Loud shouts of my name Deola! Deola!! Deola!!! Snapped me out of my deep sleep, the storm is over someone said…

Trying to see if I would recognize people around, the Nurse started with the who is this questions…
I responded with sounds that convinced her I did.
I couldn’t keep my eyes opened for long; I went off and on through the day.

The Beginning
Well, it started like a sore throat, became so stubborn and resistant of all medication. Swollen tonsils ( one would assume it’s tonsillitis). The bigger the swelling the tighter the jaw locks.

Every sledgehammer antibiotics had nothing on it, the more the doctor aspirated (Get fluids out of the gum with a needle and syringe) the bigger it gets.

I have lived with peptic ulcer before then, with my inability to feed it became very aggressive. I couldn’t be administered stronger painkillers because of this state; I felt Pain 100% all the way…Pains that confused the brain, Pains that rendered me numb.

..the struggle is over I thought to myself, now I will be able to eat, Take spoon into my mouth, clean my teeth with a toothbrush…
little did I know this would be the beginning of a very long night.

After the surgical procedure to remove the tumour growing on my tonsil which closed up my mouth and obstructed my speech. I came back with severe muscle spasms worse than I left with, I was still unable to depress the jaws. Days turned weeks, weeks-months.

I was moved from Lagos to be with Family who carried my ailments in theirs minds.

My little flesh was gone, I was bone dry.
Finding innovative ways to feed me watery cerelac was a necessity for my survival.

Vulnerabilities
I hated never to be in control of things that concerns me…I fought so hard as I became the object of pity. I used up all my energy questioning why I was not getting better; resisting my reality

I lost grip…

Traumatized by my own pains and experiences. Panic attacks became something handy; concentration became a rumour…

“So I am dying I said to myself”

Events looked unpredictable, passing out could happen when ever and where ever. I could no longer be by myself…insomnia, severe migraine, my pulse slowing down while I go on and off… Scary!

Acceptance
As events unravel, I thought to myself: “But Deola you are not dead yet nah”
I began my Journey to healing with the acceptance of my reality at the time, my predicaments. I embraced my vulnerabilities, you don’t have to fix everything yourself Deola, it’s okay to take help from people… you are not in control

“The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it” -Nicholas Sparks

Healing
Learning to walk again…
Father takes me on a walk every morning at the backyard. Gradually I gained confidence that I could do better. Father would tell me don’t push it, Slow and steady wins the race.

We travelled 3-4 times a week to the closest teaching hospital, which is in Ile- Ife.
I started with Physiotherapy sessions to correct my deformed body. I wanted to stand upright again.

Months after, my posture improved but my mouth still closed up.

In Lagos, another Surgical Procedure was scheduled based on misdiagnosis to Open up my Locked Jaws, by this time I had no strength to resist anything. I was tired of the back and forth…2015 is running to an end I said to myself.

At the height of preps, a superior specialist showed up to discard this wrong diagnosis, this was my saving grace from what would have changed my life forever.

I commenced an intense treatment/therapy for Fibrosis and Temporomandibular joint ankylosis.
A deeply painful procedure of forcing the Jaws open with crazy tools some looked like pliers. I would cry until I feel nothing (numb).

I put the last ounce of Faith in me towards this…
I was told it wouldn’t work, it’s a waste of time

I believed it would.

And Yes! It worked.

Oh that beautiful feeling whenever we take measurements and there is an improvement. I remembered calling my Family to share the news of being able to get a spoon into my mouth… We celebrated like we won baba Ijebu.

I faced my fears of eating in public…I was so conscious of my disabilities and the stare I get from People (probably wondering “why this one dey chop like this” )

Overtime, I couldn’t be bothered who watched as I picked the grain of rice one after the other or how long I spent consuming a tiny portion of food.

11months down the line…going through different specialists; Ent surgeons, Maxillofacial surgeons, Cardiologists, Physiotherapists, Iya Alagbo, Baba Aladura, Wolis, Pastors, Herbalists, Pharmacists and the “ists” I don’t remember to add…

My body healed up gradually and finally!

The Mind (PTSD)
Getting back at life to start my normal routine of work. Flashbacks of events became overwhelming. I would blink severally so I can concentrate. It became difficult to read and understand, as I would read a line several times to get a hold of it.
I would be on the road only to forget where I was going or coming from.
Claustrophobia, Hyper sensitivity, a mosquito bite looks like a tumour…
Fear shows up at my door always.

Depression sets in.

I thought I could handle it myself.

No I couldn’t

I sought professional help, I am still on the process…
It is getting better I believe.
It is a daily work, I am glad I could be open about it.

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” -Rumi

Thoughts
The things I had taken for granted, like the free air I breathe, the luxury of packing large chunk of food in my mouth, ability to shout and gist with next door neighbor, the strength to walk long distances… I would think it’s natural, Now I know It’s a privilege.

My life can no longer be the same, things have changed for me.
A realization that rids me of every sense of entitlement.

I apologize faster now, no time for unnecessary burden. I call out people who offends me-mend fences. No space for negativity

I start living- learning to enjoy everyday as it’s a gift.

I know about pains that wouldn’t go away, but as crazy as it was, seeing people in worse situations changed my attitude to gratitude.

I am deeply thankful for every day I get to see.

Gratitude
To My Father,
Baba Adé as I fondly call him… You have been a blessing to me.

You would drive me down to the Hospital, sit the whole day in the car waiting for me. You left everything to be there by my side always…Nothing else mattered to you but my health.
Abiyamo Ku Oro Omo.

I am happy that today is a beautiful day- to be thankful to God for life, not one for grieve

I Love you Dad.

Thankful to everyone in my family… Mother, Step Mother, Aunties, Uncles, everyone that showed support.

To Friends, Thanks for Prayers and Support.
My colleagues at work, I thank you all for the love.

Special Thanks to Femi You are more than a brother! Omitonade O Seun mi o,  Olumuyiwa Thanks for making me belief it’s possible, I appreciate your efforts and resilience

To the central force by which all things emerge…I reverence you Abba.