Sibongile's Procedure on
“Sibongile’s disability is very strange to me. I tried to figure out what happened, but I don’t get answers. All I think is that it’s matsenga (magic), since she was born healthy and out of nowhere started complaining and it was so fast. It… Read more
“Sibongile’s disability is very strange to me. I tried to figure out what happened, but I don’t get answers. All I think is that it’s matsenga (magic), since she was born healthy and out of nowhere started complaining and it was so fast. It was in 2013 when something went wrong with her hip. We went to the garden in the morning to pick some vegetables to sell. I had my vegetables in a basket on my head. Sibongile had her own basket and her little sister Gladys also had a basket. Sibongile was walking very slowly, and when I asked her, she said her leg was in pain. When I asked her, ‘When did this pain start?’ She told me, ‘It started when we set off to the garden,’” says Selina, Sibongile’s mother.
“All this happened on a Friday and we went to the hospital on Monday. By then, her whole hip was swollen. At the hospital, they asked me some questions about what had happened to her. I said, ‘I don’t know how to answer because she was born very healthy.’ They gave me some medication to ease the pain and said, ‘If there’s no change, return to the hospital so we can refer you to another hospital.’ When we went home, the medication did not help so we just decided to go straight to the other hospital. At the other hospital, they gave me some medication as well and said, ‘If you don’t see any change, come back.’ There was a slight change; it wasn’t as swollen as before after taking the medication, but still she had pain. I returned to the hospital and they changed the medication to help ease the pain, however the hip was still painful. Since then they haven’t given me any medication again, but were just looking at the hip each time we went to see if there was a change. One day the CURE doctors came and gave me a date to come to CURE Malawi.”
“I came here to CURE Malawi in 2015 and they did a biopsy on her hip, but the results showed that she had nothing wrong. This made me feel very bad. It even increased my thoughts of it being magic. When we came the first time, we were told to go back home after the biopsy and wait 2 years, and were given a date to come back to clinic, and that’s where we were booked again. They said she needed to grow a bit before her operation. However, now that I’m back here, I believe that with God’s intervention, she will get better.”
Unfortunately, medical communication between English and Chichewa can be really hard, as often there aren’t medical terms in Chichewa. Obviously we didn’t manage to explain to Silvia very well what is wrong with Sibongile the first time, but hopefully now that our spiritual staff know the story, we can better communicate what’s going on to her! Part of the difficulty is that Sibongile’s condition is confusing even for health care workers! Most likely when the biopsy came back with “nothing wrong”, that just meant there was no tumors or arthritis discovered, which helped narrow down the options to what IS wrong.
Sibongile has a rare childhood condition called Perthes disease, where the blood flow to the ball of the femur is cut off, causing it to slowly die. Even doctors don’t understand why this condition happens, so it’s hard to blame Silvia for chalking it all up to “magic”! Depending on how severe the condition is, the femoral head can grow back once the blood supply returns, which is why the doctors were hesitant to operate on Sibongile as long as she wasn’t in too much pain to walk. However, now that it’s been several years without improvement, the best option to relive her pain is with a girdlestone operation, where the ball of the hip is removed completely, followed by a pelvic support osteotomy, which involves cutting the femur to create a “shelf” for the pelvis to rest on.
Sibongile says, “I don’t know what happened to make me like this, but my friends say it’s matsenga (magic). The problems I face because of this disability is that I’m not able to do what my friends can do, like play jingo. Some of my friends laugh at me because I can’t walk well. After surgery, my life will change very much, because as it is now, I think a lot about it. When I see my friends, I wonder if I will be able to walk like them again. I will want to be a doctor when I’m done with my education so that I can also help my friends.”
Please join us in praying for Sibongile and Silvia, and for our staff as they try to communicate Sibongile’s condition and the necessary operations to correct it!
Sibongile started her first session of physio today! The doctors have advised her to start pin-site care. She was in a lot of pain, as her surgery was quite intense. We later caught her practicing her exercises in her hospital bed again with her guardian. We said, "Wow, two sessions in one day?" She laughed and said she hopes it helps her heal quicker. What a trooper! Please continue to keep Sibongile in your prayers and that she heals very quickly!
Sibongile has mixed feelings about surgery today! The doctors will be reconstructing her hip by creating a platform from the femur called a PSO (Pelvic Support Osteotomy) and it will be quite painful. She's excited to get closer to full healing, but not excited to go through the tough part first! Please keep Sibongile in your prayers today during her operation and for a smooth recovery!
Sibongile has been admitted into the hospital again! She was drawing today with her arm covering her paper so no one could see what she was drawing. When we asked if we could see it, she said, "I hid it somewhere nobody can find!" We searched, but she was right, we couldn't find it! She is good! Even though Sibongile didn't let us take a picture of her work of art, which we know is absolutely beautiful, she still posed for us! The doctors plan on doing a series of X-rays before making a plan for Sibongile. Please pray for Sibongile during her time in the hospital and that we find her hidden drawing!
Sybil is going home, and Funny's going to give her her very own Bible to take home! Sibongile says, "I'm feeling good. I missed home. I will be happy. The first thing I will do when I get home is go to see my friend Norah. We have a lot to talk about." Sybil will be back October 7th to be readmitted for her next operation, the pelvic support osteotomy. Please pray for safe travels and healing!
Sibongile says, "I'm doing better today than the other days. I am walking now. Physiotherapy is going well, there's pain but not that much." We asked if she's made any new friends in the hospital since she seems a bit shy, and she told us, "My friend is Shanan's mom. I don't have other friends apart from her. We just chat together." Please pray that Sybil opens up and makes more and more friends in the hospital!
We brought Sybil her get well messages today and you finally have a glimpse of her great smile! She says, "I'm very thankful, they should continue praying for me so that I get healed. I have four younger siblings - Gladys, Elube, Phillip and Olivia - at home... you can pray that they don't worry about me." Selina asks you to, "Pray that when we meet up with the children I've left at home, they will be safe and healthy."
"I'm feeling better than yesterday, but still not very well. You can pray I recover." Sibongile is recovering from surgery and still not feeling 100%, but she's so graceful and has a sweet smile even though she feels sick! We asked if she prefers Sibongile or Sybil (which may be easier to say for our English-speaking audiences and is a common nickname) and she say's she's fine with either, so we'll use them interchangeably from now on.
Sibongile had her surgery today! Dr. Lubega and Dr. Saf went in and removed the painful, dead ball of the hip and cleaned it all up. This means that Sibongile should no longer have any pain! Unfortunately, she'll need another surgery in the future to reconstruct the hip and create a sort of platform from the femur called a PSO (Pelvic Support Osteotomy) which can be quite complicated and take a long time. For now though, we're just celebrating that she will be able to walk without it hurting. Please join us in praying for her while she recovers from surgery!
Meet Sibongile! She's holding Cliff, another CUREkid! They've both come in this week for surgery. Sibongile will be having a girdlestone operation to help with the pain from her diseased hip joint. The ball of her hip has been affected by a condition called Perthes disease, which has caused it to lose blood supply and die, so the doctors have decided to remove it. Please be praying for Sibongile and Cliff as they have their surgeries later this week!
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We'll deliver your message to Sibongile at her hospital bed.