Balki's Procedure on
“When the other kids make fun of her, it hurts,” said Balki’s mom, Biba. “So she’s never gone out much to play.” When fourteen-year-old Balki was born, she was perfectly healthy except for one thing - she was born with far too many fing… Read more
“When the other kids make fun of her, it hurts,” said Balki’s mom, Biba. “So she’s never gone out much to play.” When fourteen-year-old Balki was born, she was perfectly healthy except for one thing - she was born with far too many fingers on her left hand, making it looked more like a catcher’s glove than anything else. In Niger, this striking condition is often seen as a curse and people normally react with a mixture of derision and fear.
Still, Balki’s been fortunate to have the constant of a loving mom and a few good friends. “When they come over and play, it makes her really happy,” said Biba. But that’s about it for Balki as far as social interaction goes - she doesn’t go to school, and she doesn’t go out much. Her smile doesn’t come easy.
Even so, things are changing - some time ago the family heard about CURE Niger and Balki had surgery to remove her extra fingers. Unfortunately, given the complexity of her hand structure, it was possible to save only her thumb and two additional digits. “If they had tried to save more they would have ended up losing them all,” explained Dr. Anthony, our CURE Niger surgeon.
But Balki’s next operation isn’t about removing or adding fingers - it’s about giving her back that opposable thumb that allows us humans to do so much. Right now the tissue holding her thumb to the rest of her palm is pulled tight and doesn’t give her the opportunity to really use it - after surgery and physical therapy, she should be able to hold a pen and write, to put on earrings, to unscrew lids and to do lots and lots of things she couldn’t do before.
Balki still seems quiet and uneasy, but her mom seems hopeful - hopeful when she talks about Balki’s previous surgery and even more hopeful when she talks about the upcoming one. She doesn’t talk as if her daughter is under a curse, but instead under a blessing!
After surgery, OR nurse Deborah made sure Balki was settled in the ward before leaving. She's so kind and reassuring to patients, which is a good thing since she's usually the first face they see when they're waking up from surgery! Balki is doing well and once she's up and about later today, she'll be heading home! It's been quick but please keep her in your prayers as she continues to heal.
Dr. Anthony shows how freely Balki's thumb will be able to move after surgery - he's about to separate the tissue that's been keeping her thumb and fingers stuck together - even though it's a simple operation it will make a huge difference for her future!
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