Thyroid Nightmares and Victories

The preceding and following images and excerpt were sent to me by a fellow advocate with permission to use her letter and images to spread awareness about the need for adequate thyroid care in Nigeria, Africa. I will be setting up a fund for donations to help those suffering in Nigeria. Please consider donating to this worthy cause.


“Dear Zana,

Hope this mail meets  you well. this is Iruoma the Founder of Thyroid Awareness And Support Initiative(TASI) Nigeria.

Am sorry i delayed this mail for a while due to some constraints that have to do with my health and other compelling activities in the organisation.

Sequel to our discussion, you requested i send you mail about our organisation and what we have been doing to touch lives.

I always title the story of my Organisation “STORY BEHIND THE GLORY”

The near death experience i had  for five years while battling an unknown disease(Hyperthyroidism) inspired the establishment of TASI. . This was characterised with pain, fear, hopelessness,until  I got cured. 

Initially, it started with inability to conceive, already i had 3 kids but had the intention of having 4 kids. The first 3 kids came in quick succession without any hitch, i waited for a few years, my husband and i decided to add up. All our efforts to achieve that went futile. Not long after that my eyes started bulging out, initially i thought it was an effect of the eye problem i was having ,but was proved otherwise when i went to an eye hospital. on sighting me the consultant just handed me a paper that was written, “go for a thyroid function test”.

In deep bewilderment i became both confused  and nervous because the name of the test was so strange. From there i went immediately to the government hospital, believing that they must have the facilities for the test, but on the contrary i was disappointed. In indescribable anxiety i navigated through 4 of their different laboratories but could not find solution. It was at the last Laboratory that i was issued a referral form to go to a private Lab. I quickly went to the Lab, yes, they were doing it but i had to wait for a five working days of anxiety and fear before the result came out, my fear even increased because i had not heard about that disease before.

It was when the result came out that it was discovered i had a high level of hyperthyroidism, a physician was assigned to me yet he cold not really educate  and get me well informed about the disease discovered. he gave me some medicines which i was taking religiously. In a month i felt better, went for another test, my values came up, went for my check up and was was given another set of drugs. Though i felt better but i did not feel well because i wanted somebody to talk to me, something was missing, i wanted someone to explain to me exactly what i was going through because the feeling of weirdness overwhelmed me- fatigue, palpitations, tremor, anxiety,  losing weight even as my appetite for food increased. This started in 2007 and i was in my late thirties. As young as i i was i was always tired , could not attend to both my kids and husband’s needs. I was misunderstood by people around me because mentally i was not stable.

something was missing, i needed someone to understand and talk to me. the doctor i was seeing neither could give me any explanation, rather if i asked him he would give me a big book read. That alone use to aggravate and compound issues for me. I went to the internet to search for people that have gone through it in my country, just to at least get a counsel from them, yet I found none.

This continued as a roller coaster, going for test, visiting the doctor, taking my medication but not satisfied. After a while I gave up, I stopped the follow up tests and checks. I never knew I was killing myself more. All I knew was that I was not feeling well but I never knew the consequences of my actions.I was not feeling any better though, was losing weight rapidly, lost my job due to frequent sick leave. My life became a shadow. Family members, friends, colleagues, could not understand me. I was in a world of my own. It got to the level when my eyes bulged and my eyelids could not close my eye balls and started attracting more attention by people who always asked me what was wrong.

I had already given in that the worst was death, since I could not get solution to my problem. I just submitted myself totally to God and resorted to prayers believing only god can sort me out. I seriously held unto God by faith.

On that faithful day, a friend of mine I had not seen for a while called to visit me early in the morning by 7am. Those days I was not sleeping in the night, I only start sleeping when others were waking up. That morning as she came, I had to force myself to wake. Normally, then, anytime I woke up my eyes will bulge out more with a very irritating and hurting sensation.As my friend sighted me she screamed, I had so changed from who she use to know, eyes swollen with red colour, lost weight from 16 to 12 size, from fair colour to chocolate thick skin.That was the day God brought solution to me, because she immediately told me that something like that happened to her aunt and she was treated in Enugu, when I told her the name of the disease. There and then she spoke with my husband and we made plans to travel to Enugu state of Nigeria.

As the doctor sighted me, it was as if I went to a prophet who knew my history well, he is an endocrinologist, he did not ask me much questions but told me all I was going through, I felt so much at home with him. In my mind I was arrested, and I said praise God my solution had come. My legs were swollen, my body systems were shutting down. He sent me to series of tests that cost me a huge amount of money. Few days the result came out and the prognosis showed that almost all my body had been wrecked. He gave me the counsel and the information I yearned for , for years and I could not get. He addressed all my concerns in a loving manner, he felt so free with me and I did too.

I was on medication for three months, my energy came back, I got myself back, bounced back to normal life, all with the aid of the medication.

After 3 months my values became normal, my doctor recommended thyroidectomy. Called up the surgery, went for neck ultra sound. Exactly four months into my medication I had a successful surgery. So overwhelmed with joy that I made it at last

. Every morning in my hospital room I will wake up and face the mirror and begin to worship God. On the third day of my surgery, during my usual morning worship, God spoke to me “I kept you alive, use your life to save others”.

I

This to enlighten the general public and help to alleviate the pain, fear and suffering of the victims, as it affects mostly women . Most suffererers have consequently have lost their due to ignorance and not the disease.

We employ several mediums in creating thyroid disease awareness such as, Electronic Media, print media, various social media to spread our awareness. We also hold charity road walk in local communities and outreaches to sensitise people. We collaborate with other health based NGO to reach out to rural communities. We also partner with government health agencies to create awareness. TASI also advocates for indigent patients and other thyroid patients who are going through the pains of stigma due to their condition.The last awareness program we had was a charity awareness walk at Ikeja Local Government Area which was covered by different media on WORLD THYROID DAY, 26TH May 2018 in partnership with LAGOS STATE PRIMARY HEALTHCARE BOARD . The feedbacks are unprecedented. 

Thyroid disease is a disease that relevant stakeholders in the health sector have not given significant attention yet its a scourge. 

Our awareness c”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *