LOVETH MARY EMEGHAI: “I was bedridden for a whole year and I learned one powerful lesson; never give up!”
Loveth was healthy, happy, young and carefree one minute and then suddenly she wasn’t anymore. Her life was on a roller coaster of happiness and opportunities; she had finished her ‘introduction’ and was already making plans for her white wedding. The hall had been booked, the asoebi had been selected, the food had been paid for, and her wedding was fixed for 17th December 2016 when she suddenly started developing excruciating pains that travelled all the way to her back. They seemed like ulcer pains at first but they kept getting worse and worse lasting in endless waves of red-hot, debilitating pain sometimes for as long as eight hours at a time.
She was originally diagnosed with gastritis and inflammation of the stomach wall.
Loveth’s world was altered when the doctors further diagnosed gall bladder stones and recommended major surgery to repair it. Amidst the pain and confusion, she couldn’t help noticing that her fiancé never came to the hospital to check on her.
After the first surgery, some complications arose: there were pockets of leakages in her system from the first surgery and the doctors recommended yet another surgery to heal the injuries. She went for a second surgery and it was thought to be successful until it was discovered that her bile duct had tears as well. The condition resulted in further complications and it was recommended that she be sent for a third also major surgery: Roux-en-Y (hepaticojejunostomy). Her surgeon also recommended that a specialist be flown in from the United States to handle the complicated procedure.
While she was preparing for the third surgery, and battling discouragement, Loveth got shocking news: her fiancé had secretly begun the process of marrying someone else; he had even completed the Introduction in March 2017 and was preparing for the white wedding in April to a girl she knew. Loveth collapsed and had to be rushed to the Emergency Unit.
Depression took on a whole new meaning for Loveth and she was also swamped with bitterness and anger at the injustice of her situation. Her anger took on a life of its own: she became angry at her ex, angry at herself, angry at God, angry at her parents, angry at her siblings and the world. Her laughter and joy dried up and her internal pain threatened to overshadow the physical pain.
Her anger found an outlet in a petition to the church against the proposed wedding by her ex. As a result of her petition, the church stalled the wedding,
Loveth admits that her depression worsened until it began to affect her physical recovery; her organs began to shut down and she stopped responding to treatment. Her doctor told her she would never be able to recover if she didn’t let go of her emotional rage.
She was bedridden for an entire year; she had a colostomy bag attached to her for nine whole months, she was jaundiced for nine months; she was in intensive care unit for an entire week, and the doctors told her she would never stand straight again. She developed insomnia spending each night soaking her pillows with tears and each day wondering why God had abandoned her.
As her third surgery drew close, Loveth finally had an encounter that convinced her she needed to forgive her ex for her own sake otherwise she would never survive the surgery. She forgave him, withdrew her petition, and channeled all her energy into getting better.
The specialist surgeon was flown in and she had the surgery attended by twelve surgeons in all. The surgery was supposed to last four hours but it lasted nine solid hours leaving her family wracked with fear and tension at the thoughts of what could have gone wrong.
In the end, she emerged successfully from the surgery and went into Intensive Care for an entire week during which time she was unconscious. Loveth admits that although she could not open her eyes or speak she was strangely aware of everything that happened around her. She could feel her parents’ hands on her as they checked on her day after day, she could hear their tears when they cried, she could hear their voices when they spoke to her, she could hear the visitors who came in to pray for her. She could hear everyone; she could think and feel, but she could not open her eyes and she could not respond.
Finally in that state of absolute despair and helplessness, she made a promise to God that if she walked out of the sickness alive, she would give the rest of her life to helping people have access to healthcare.
Her healing began and finally she was not only walking around upright, she was running and doing everything else the doctors said she would never be able to do.
Loveth admits that her harrowing experience has left her with a burning passion for helping others. Until her experience she had never envisioned running an NGO but now she is in the process of registering one aimed at helping the indigent, the widows and the orphans.
Loveth confides that during her series of admission in the hospital, she saw people who died because they didn’t have Five thousand Naira (approximately $14 only) for medical treatment and that coupled with her own experience, sparked a hunger in her to help any way she could.
Loveth is also into agriculture on a largescale; she grows beans, beniseed, and yams. Loveth admits that she hopes the proceeds would be channeled into funding her NGO. With a smile and absolute delight in her voice she confides that she is also passionate about organically grown crops and supplies her crops to customers through an innovative online medium she set up. Business is good and she has learned to laugh again.
Her parting words? Positivity is how you get through things in life. Problems will always come but how you handle them makes the difference.
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