Tassiou's Procedure on
"I'm not afraid to get surgery. I'm excited!" Tassiou exclaims with his million dollar smile plastered all over his face. For years now, Tassiou has been an outcast in his school and his community because of his burns so the idea of having them tre… Read more
"I'm not afraid to get surgery. I'm excited!" Tassiou exclaims with his million dollar smile plastered all over his face. For years now, Tassiou has been an outcast in his school and his community because of his burns so the idea of having them treated is nothing short of thrilling for this young man! Eight years ago, when Tassiou was just two years old, he was huddled around the fire during Niger's cold season in an attempt to keep warm. At two years old, his depth perception wasn't yet where it needed to be and he got too close. His shirt catching on fire and the burns were bad. The other children did their best to help him, but they couldn't get his shirt off before it started melting the skin on his right shoulder and upper arm. With no medical facilities in their village, Tassiou's family did what they could to make him comfortable as he recovered from his burns. While he did indeed heal, he did so in a way where his upper arm is melted to his torso, rendering his right arm useless. His disability makes him an outcast. The other kids refuse to play with him or, even worse, completely ignore him. Thankfully, his dad found out about us at CURE Niger and sent Tassiou here accompanied by Tassiou's grandmother Kande.
Now that he is here, our medical staff will free Tassiou's arm, setting him free and opening up his future!
Tassiou is such a great guy - this morning he helped clean up a bunch of lego bricks he didn't even spill. Right before that he'd just recounted the entire story of Jesus calming the storm to Emanuel from our spiritual staff - Tassiou's been here so long he's becoming part of the family, and we're glad he feels so comfortable here. But it looks like in not too long he'll be done with physical therapy and be able to go home!
"Even though I'd like us to be home, it's a good thing we're here [at CURE Niger]," said Tassiou's grandmother earlier. They live in a region where Islamic terrorists continue to threaten lives despite the presence of international military forces. "The terrorists are tearing villages apart, and I don't want mine to be one of them," she says. Pray for peace in Tassiou's region, that God would protect innocent people, and that Tassiou and his grandmother would find trust in the God who is stronger than any enemy.
Today Tassiou has been all over the place - in the morning he terrorized some pigeons with his balloon sling-shot, later he went to the playground with other patients, and even later he made an impossibly tall car out of legos - even though these activities might sound like normal kid things, for Tassiou, they're a treat. There's no public playground in his town, his family can't afford to buy him toys, and up until recently his shoulder wasn't able to rotate enough to use a sling-shot. We're glad that while Tassiou is here he's seizing as many opportunities as he can to have fun!
Tassiou and the other guesthouse patients helped us out this week by modeling with some donated goods - the longterm patients are doing a better and better job at working together and cooperating, even when it comes to posing for a photo! Still, Tassiou is anxious to go home - "Please pray that I get better soon so I can go back to see my father,” he asked our spiritual team.
Tassiou came to art therapy with a big smile and brand new clothes. "I am a cool guy now," he says proudly. His grandmother was very happy about his new wardrobe. "This must be from God because I prayed for enough money to buy Tassiou new clothes!" she said with a grin. In art therapy he drew his family because he cannot wait to show them what he got today.
Tassiou spent this morning like every kid back in the village, killing pigeons, or at least trying to. His slingshot was pretty innovative - an un-inflated balloon he stole from art therapy! "I used to not be able to stretch the sling-shot back because of my shoulder," he said. "But now I can!" We're not sure if we're glad he's hunting innocent birds, but it is encouraging to see Tassiou's mobility return - even so, our doctor put a new cast on to keep his hand from rubbing against the healed surgery wound - it's an extra precaution that will help Tassiou heal faster. Pray that he would have a good attitude even as it's not as comfortable as being cast-free.
Today during art therapy the patients had to pair up to draw something from CURE Niger - "We've found they need to work on collaboration," says our Art Therapist Georgiana, who came up with the activity. It's true - Tassiou and Rabiou especially love to fight and play rough, but they don't necessarily like to work together. But here it looks like they're doing a pretty good job drawing our ward. Earlier this morning Tassiou went to physical therapy where he put his hands on his head with a smile, something that would have caused him a lot pain not that long ago - it seems like his shoulder is getting better and better!
Tassiou readjusts the glasses he made with the other longterm patients yesterday afternoon - "We had lots of fun!" Salamatou from our spiritual team told us. "Where were you?" We may have missed out on a pair of these sweet glasses, but we're pretty sure that as long as Tassiou and the other patients are around, we're not going to miss out on any fun!
This morning Emanuel from our spiritual team stopped by our patient guesthouse to say hi - he taught the kids a song about God, prayed with them and then after looooots of efforts by the patients to make him stay, he finally managed to say goodbye. Tassiou was really really into it - before coming to CURE Niger he'd never heard of Jesus, but now he's decided to follow him!
“When my grandma started talking about bringing me to [CURE Niger] I doubted if I was ever really going to be healed,” Tassiou told us. “My family is poor and it would take a lot of money even to make the trip here." But to his surprise, his family managed to scrape together the funds so he and his mother could make the long trip. “When we arrived and we found out we had to pay so little, my mom looked sooo happy, and I didn’t know what to feel,” he told us. “Then, by seeing how well the people around here were treating me, that’s when I started hoping again.” Now, after surgery and plenty of physical therapy, the arm that used to be glued to his side is now reaching almost above his head!
This the moment that Tassiou got outed for lying to Salamatou about his artwork (in yesterday’s post) - “So you told me you were drawing Jesus and God forgiving you for your sins, but you were really drawing your future wife?” she said. At that, Tassiou burst into laughter and couldn’t stop. “How dare you to lie to me!” She continued, “I’m like your best friend here! Why didn’t you tell me? I could have prayed that you would find her!”
"This is my future wife!" Tassiou told us enthusiastically, pointing to his drawing. In art therapy today the patients were asked to draw an answered prayer, but Tassiou's mind wandered around until it led him to draw "His future wife." Funny enough, when our art therapist asked him what he drew, he said it was "God forgiving me when I told him I was sorry for all the pranks and bad things I do!" Maybe God forgiving him is giving him a wife? We're not sure ... Aside from feeding different people conflicting stories about his artwork, Tassiou is doing really well - "It hurts a lot less than before," he tells us about his shoulder - when it was burned he could barely lift it, but now with surgery and lots of physical therapy he's doing better and better - he's even able to reach his arm up above his head now!
Tassiou's excited because he no longer has to wear a bandage! His wound from surgery on his arm has healed enough to be exposed to the air, and now he just needs to keep going to physical therapy so he can move his shoulder well again - the other day we were playing catch with him, and he motioned to us to show that we could only throw it to his stomach, otherwise he wouldn't be able to reach his arm up to catch it. Pray that his physical therapy would go so well that his shoulder would be restored to full motion!
Don't be fooled! Tassiou may look relaxed, but really he's just gearing up for the next round of water balloon games! For all our patients stuck here due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, art therapy brings excitement to their day! We're thankful for our spiritual team members who minister to our patients, even though some of our normal activities have been limited. Pray that our patients' hearts would be open to receiving the gospel at this time.
COVID-19 travel restrictions may be keeping Tassiou here, but they're not keeping him down - in this picture he's charging up for another high-energy day of goofing around with other patients. But not everything at the hospital is fun - physical therapy can be challenging and painful, and it's probably the only time we see Tassiou without a smile on. Even so, it's absolutely necessary to regain movement in his shoulder - pray for strength and forebarence for him as he works with our physical therapists to get better.
Abdoul Rahim helps Tassiou practice his numbers outside our CURE Niger guesthouse. Of course Tassiou knows how to count to ten in his native language, but so far in his ten years of life no one has taught him in French (the official language of Niger). This is pretty common, but luckily Tassiou is eager to learn! Thank God that his wounds from surgery are continuing to heal and pray that he would benefit from his extended stay at CURE Niger in more ways than one.
It's not often that we witness Tassiou looking alarmed, so when one of our CURE Niger staff, Issafou, caught him off guard while practicing a comedic skit, we had to get it on camera. But don't worry - Tassiou is healing well and in his usual high spirits, even during this time when patients and staff alike are asked to limit contact with each other. Pray for him and all the longterm patients at our guesthouse - as CURE Niger and Niger in general step up measures of protection against COVID-19, the usual sources of encouragement and support (such as the spiritual team) are keeping a physical distance for the patients' own good. Pray for supernatural encouragement and peace for all the patients and caregivers during this time.
Tassiou is good at bouncing back from trials. He is healing well but is having some problems with his skin graft - even so he dances around with his friends whenever he gets a chance. We pray for healing for Tassiou and for wisdom for the doctors.
Tassiou is always up for a game of catch - it's been almost a week since his skin graft and he's healing well at our guesthouse, surrounded by other kids. Our guesthouse is a good place to heal physically and it's also a good place for kids to learn how to play well together - it's not always easy for our patients to learn this - a lot of them have been mocked, ridiculed and excluded by peers their whole life - they've always been on the defensive and they learn how to treat others by how they've been treated - Tassiou is no exception. Pray for him as he heals, that he would also learn that he can be treated with love by a group, and that he too can be a loving member of one.
Tassiou has recovered so well his skin graft that he's already back in the guesthouse with his friends! He and Manirou are practicing their numbers with Salamatou from our spiritual team, but we're not quite sure which number he's written here....any guesses?
Tassiou is back in the ward and surprisingly pretty happy about it - today he is getting a skin graft to help him along in his healing process - because the area of his burn was quite large it would have taken a substantial amount of time for new skin to grow on its own - this minor procedure helps his body along as it repairs itself! Tassiou seems to be completely on board with this - "I like going in that room [the OR]", he says. "I don't know why, I just do!" Please be praying for this young man as he heads in again!
It's been almost three weeks that Tassiou's been recovering at our guesthouse now and he's definitely enjoying himself! He can often be found goofing around near the art therapy room with other long-term patients. Today he took a break from an impromptu solo dance session to pose for us - we thank God this exuberant little boy is healing up well!
We asked Tassiou this morning if he had any fun this week. "None," he said. But we have photographic evidence that says otherwise! Tassiou is having fun with other kids at the guesthouse AND he's getting better - "I have a lot less pain at night," he told us today. We're glad he's doing so well.
Tassiou is very happy today when he came for his bandage change. We asked him if he is worried but he said no. He said it hurt a little during the first few bandage changes, but now he's a pro and it doesn't hurt at all! Please keep him in your prayers as he continues to heal.
And with that, Tassiou has been discharged from the ward! Since his healing process is going to be a little high maintenance, he'll be staying at our patient guesthouse as he starts his regular bandage change and would cleaning regimen next week. It's not fun, but it's super important to make sure his surgical wounds don't get infected and he heals up as well as possible!
Tassiou is recovering remarkably well for just having received a pretty big surgery! It took no time at all for his big smile to come back even though his arm and half his torso are covered in big bandages!
Tassiou has had a successful surgery! While the doctors usually get all the credit for surgeries, it takes an entire team to conduct a safe and successful surgery. Here you can see four of the team who have just helped Tassiou fall asleep and are setting up for the doctor to enter. Dr. Issa then released the skin binding Tassiou's arm to his torso, bandaged him up, and sent him back to the ward to heal up!
With the size of that smile and this young man's outgoing personality, it's hard to believe he's bullied and excluded at his school. We're just glad he's made it here to CURE Niger where he's making friends with our other patients as they all walk down this path to healing together!
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