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Endometriosis patient, Ijeoma Isimokwenye seeks help to live

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Ijeoma… (now)

An endometriosis survivor patient, Jessica Ijeoma Mokwenye, has called for financial support from the general public for her to resolve a life-threatening health challenge.

Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory progressive disease affecting more than 170 million women worldwide and up to 30 per cent of women of reproductive age. It is equally defined as the presence of endometrial tissue found outside the uterine cavity in the pelvic and other organs of the body like the Douglas, sacral ligaments, vaginal, intestinal wall, ureter, bladder pouch, liver, umbilical endometriosis, ovaries causing an endometrioma cyst, bladder, pleural, lung parenchyma and airways, including the brain.

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According to Mokwenye, “endometriosis has affected my quality of life in all aspects, physically and psychologically, causing me depression, anxiety and compromising my social relationships. Mine is known as extra pelvic endometriosis and I was rated under stage four endometriosis called Deep Infiltrating Endometriosis (DIE). Laproscopy was the gold standard to diagnosing endometriosis.”

She spoke further that her case was actually a tough one because it started with gradual removal of her organs without proper diagnosis in Nigeria. “I kept deteriorating health-wise undergoing a total of 22 surgeries! I kept having blood transfusions and battling with fatigue. Each time I had a surgery, it went worse which resulted in my immediate family, especially my mother and my husband, seeking for medical interventions,” she added.

She disclosed: “At a point, I was admitted into the National Hospital, Abuja on an emergency when I had an endometrioma cyst ruptured and I was bleeding internally. I lost another organ due to that episode. After my surgery I realised I battled with fatigue and I had difficulty walking, with severe pains on my legs. I kept having blood transfusions and battling with fatigue equally. I was then told at the National Hospital for the first time ever that I had endometriosis. I had scar tissues and adhesions.”

Ijeoma… (before)

Ijeoma explained that she was devastated when she was told her illness had no cure “That was when my family decided to source for medical assistance outside Nigeria. Eventually, I arrived the USA and started the battle for my life with series of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)-Computed Tomography (CT) scans, blood works, ultrasounds and X-rays. At a point I realised I had severe issues with my breathing. I passed out several times and finally ended up on oxygen in the Emergency Room (ER) after a lung collapse and pleural effusion.

“Currently, the billing for my surgeries is in hundreds of thousands of dollars with other series of surgeries lined up. With fluid drained from my body, I had to wait and raise funds. I thank my immediate and extended family for their support. Similarly, friends and my ex-high school classmates of Federal Government College Enugu 2004 set have assisted in raising funds. I relied on prayers.

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“Endometriosis is a problematic disease, causing patients to rely on surgeries for my survival. I am being booked for a surgery with my nerves because I suffer from sciatica endometriosis which cause severe pains while walking, sitting or in a resting position and managed with nerves block injections (steroids) with attendant stabbing pain, especially while menstruating or ovulating. I have battled with insomnia, depression and suicidal thoughts which led me to a psychiatric doctor and was placed on therapy and medication, including taking top rated sleeping pills, all to no avail.

“Thereafter, I got support from a group in Nigeria called EndoSurvivors International Foundation being managed by Olivia who assisted me in raising funds and seeking opinions from excision specialist. Endometriosis support group of America,Endo Girls Blog. Endometriosis is a disease that is expensive to manage. I take close to 60 tablets of medications daily.

Mokwenye advised: “Early diagnosis of endometriosis using laparoscopy surgery helps keep it under control. Early excision of endometriosis by an excision surgeon is equally life-saving. Reported cases with issues of heavy menstrual, unbearable menstrual cycle should be given medical attention by a certified gynaecologist.

“Endometriosis in Nigeria is swept under the carpet because it is a reproductive starter disease. I have been called out severally because I chose to speak up. I have been humiliated and mocked about going public about endometriosis.”

Ijeoma can be reached through The Guardian.

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