While talking to Nancy, you may be surprised to realize that she is 47 years of age, is a grandmother and has 4 children aged between 29 years and 17 years.. She has a bubbly voice full of life and despite the challenges she has faced in the past. Being a divorcee, she had to raise her children alone for the better part of their lives. Playing both roles of father and mother. This however has not been her toughest challenge yet.
In the month of June 2016, she visited Ruiru Sub-district Hospital due to chest pain and a persevering cough that had troubled her for so long. At first, she thought that she was suffering from pneumonia. The pain was unbearable and she could not understand why the doctors were taking so long to give her the drugs she needed as they conducted multiple tests for 2 whole weeks. The bottom of the barrel presented itself when she was informed that she has multi-drug resistant TB. This did not register beyond what little knowledge she had of TB. When the doctors explained what it meant, she was crushed and full of anguish to say the least. Nancy’s mental toughness and faith gave her the will to accept the situation she was in and to do what was expected of her with the slim hope of getting better.
Nancy’s treatment regiment still gives her the chills to date. It comprised of daily injections at the hospital for the first 8 months of her 20 months treatment. She was also expected to take 15 pills each day. This really took a toll on her body and within the first 5 months, she could not even walk or sit. Nancy had to be carried to hospital each day for the drugs to be administered. Her children formed the backbone of her support during this trying time. The fear of losing their mother haunting them each day. Her friends were quick to dismiss that she had TB and openly stated that she had been bewitched, but with the doctors by her side, she paid no heed to the sentiments of the misinformed.
Keheala was introduced as part of her treatment support when she had 6 months of treatment left. Nancy did not know that such support existed and wished she had it from the on start of her treatment. The major benefit to her was the calls she received from Support Sponsors to check on how she was doing. She felt overwhelming support beyond her family and the few doctors she interacted with. The calls always put her in a good mood and renewed her belief in humanity and the power of compassion for those facing a difficult time.
“Life goes on and will get back to normal as long as you follow the advice given with regards to your treatment”. She has since then finished her treatment but has used her experiences to better the lives of those around her. She is an ambassador in the front line creating awareness about TB. She actively participates in TB awareness activities within Thika county and even visits universities to participate in talks about TB awareness.
Nancy is indeed a Keheala health hero.