A SURVIVOR’S STORY – THE CHILD’S PERSPECTIVE

By:  ISICHEI-OKAFOR KWUNKEYI

Volunteer


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Life can be very interesting and sweet as a child, but in a few seconds everything can change, and the opposite then becomes the case, you then realize that the last thing you’ll see before you may leave the earth will be light blue walls of the children ward of St. Barth’s Maternity Hospital. The air we breathe becomes so precious, you then see the beauty of the shattering TV station, the ruffles of the bed sheet and that drip that doesn’t stop dropping.

 

I have just been diagnosed with …

 

Let me tell you how it all started.

 

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in my father’s house, we just returned from an amazing Church service, I still remember the memory verse of last Sunday, “I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST THAT STRENGTHENS ME” Philippians 4-13. This verse subconsciously became a watchword for the day, maybe that’s the whole idea of a memory verse.

 

My mum was in the kitchen making the regular rice and stew, my daddy was in the sitting room watching AIT, according to him “this channel is the only Nigerian channel that gives me pure entertainment and information” I really wonder how that’s possible. The moment I asked him how is that even possible, he will bore me with the story of how that was where he watched the Super eagles play a final match in 1994, heard of Abacha’s death in 1998 and even saw the movie Nneka the pretty serpent in the year 2000. He loved the Channel so much.

 

I am the only son of my parents and you can imagine how loved and cherished I am in my family. That Sunday I was in my room playing my video game when I started to have this very heavy headache, and the game started to become very blur, I was losing balance, I couldn’t feel my fingers anymore, I looked away from the television to my picture that hung to the left of the room and I slumped backward to the ground and last thing I heard was a siren, very loud and shaky, I opened my eyes to see I was in an ambulance with nurses giving me various types of anaesthesia, the van was in so much speed that I almost tripped of the slim bed, you can imagine the roads in our beautiful city, Lagos! The next injection put me in a state of drowsiness and I passed out.


As I lay on that bed, all I did was dream, dream and dream, I saw the beauty of illusion, most


of the games I played over my 46’ flats screen, I saw them before me, I even dreamt of my class crush Anita, oh, I haven’t told you my age, I am 9 years old. Anita was 8.

 

I opened my eyes and saw my mum staring at me, she looked like she had cried so much, I looked to my left and saw uncle Emeka, uncle Emeka was our Family Doctor but I have never seen him in his “doctor clothes” as I always called it. He wore a lab coat, and carried a big file, over his neck was a stethoscope and he wore a slim pair of glasses, all my life this is the first time I will see Uncle Emeka as Doctor Emeka!

 

“How are you feeling Chidi?” Uncle Emeka asked, “I’m fine Uncle Emeka the Doctor” as we both laughed. As I laughed there was a sharp pain in my head, I then discovered my head was bandaged. He then held my hands and told me to calm down, that I was going to be fine.

 

I have just been diagnosed with a brain tumour, I remember asking uncle Emeka what that was and he smiled and told me not to worry, truth is, I wasn’t even worried. Let’s say I didn’t know the gravity of the ailment.

 

“He will need to undergo a surgery to remove the tumour” Doctor Emeka said to my father,

 

outside the ward, I heard them. The next line kind of brought smiles to my face, “I will suggest you fly him to Florida, U.S.A, we have the best brain surgeons there” – America, At this point I think I was liking the idea, I became excited and I could imagine how I was going to go to malls, parks and go shopping, the mention of America sounded to me like a get-away vacation, little did I know that I may not come back.

 

“He is a child and the survival rate is high, but nothing is certain, the doctors will do their best but God is the ultimate” Doctor Emeka said, at this point all my travel excitement stopped and reality started to really dawn on me.

 

“Doctor Emeka, Doctor Emeka” I tried to scream, they rushed in and I held his ‘Doctor clothes’ and asked “what is a tumour in the brain” He stared at my father as he said “A brain tumour is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in your brain.”

 

“Am I going to die” – I asked, and I saw tears roll down my father’s eye and he said “YOU CAN

 

DO ALL THING THROUGH… CHRIST THAT STRENGTHEN ME” I joined him to conclude –

 

“Let us Pray” Rev. Asoro just entered the ward and asked.


I’m writing this on my jotter on the Emirates airline Business class coach, I’m on my way to Florida for the surgery, say a word of prayer for me today, if you ever hear from me again, just know I survived, but if this is my last time writing, I had ambitions to be an author, let this be published as my only story, and tell my parents I love them so much.

 

Written by – ISICHEI-OKAFOR KWUNKEYI

 

For the Black child, dedicated to children who are being diagnosed of brain cancer or have survived brain surgery at various stages this is a story of hope and survival just believe and stay strong.