Health, a facet of life that is typically enjoyed by many, for those who suffer fatal illnesses, it is viewed as a priceless commodity. For 14-year-old Ansauf Benjamin, who witnessed her life alter within less than a month, the value of health has only been realized. Ansauf, who excitedly began preparing for her final exams, in October this year was informed that she is suffering from a severe case of scoliosis, a diagnosis that effectively changed her reality. Her family has since requested assistance to raise funds for some of Ansauf’s medical expenses.
Scoliosis, which is described as the abnormal lateral curvature of the spine, includes; congenital scoliosis, neuromuscular scoliosis, degenerative scoliosis, and idiopathic scoliosis. Where congenital scoliosis is caused by a bone abnormality present at birth, neuromuscular scoliosis is a result of abnormal muscles or nerves, while degenerative scoliosis may result from traumatic bone collapse, due to injury or illness. However, idiopathic scoliosis, considered to be the most common type of scoliosis, has no specific identifiable cause, but evidence suggests that it is inherited.
Speaking to VOC, Ansauf’s mother, Fazlin Benjamin explains that the Grade 8 learner was diagnosed on October 22, 2016, but only two weeks prior she experienced mild back pain and subsequently began complaining that she is unable to carry her bag and was having difficulty walking.
While she initially assumed the symptoms to be as a result of ‘growing pains’, upon applying arnica oil to Ansauf’s back she realized that her daughter’s entire back is skew.
“I immediately called the GP and went that same evening. [The GP] thought it was kidneys or something, she said go for x-rays the following morning. We then found out it was actually scoliosis and [her back] was already at a 55 degree angle,” Benjamin elaborates.
She says that Ansauf’s back curved to 55 degrees within a two week period, a stage of the disease at which surgery is required, without which Ansauf would remain in constant pain.
Given the speedy deterioration of Ansauf’s condition, Bengamin says that her daughter is currently struggling through each day.
“In scoliosis cases, as far as I’ve researched, the patient does not have much pain. However, with Ansauf, she is in constant pain, has heavy breathing, and at night I have to monitor her every two hours.”
Benjamin further explains that if Ansauf does have the required operation, her back may curve to 100 degrees, deterioration that may be fatal.
Since the space for growth decreases from the age of 16, Ansauf’s window to have the operation is limited and she has been recommended to have the operation as soon as possible.
While the surgery was initially scheduled to take place on December 7, 2016, due to the regression of Ansauf’s condition, doctors have advised that the surgery be conducted on November 23, 2016.
Despite the difficulties associated with the disease, Benjamin says that her daughter has remained a positive force and a diligent student who continues to persist through her exams, all the while needing no reminder to sit with her books.
“The whole school is very supportive, she even has people waiting when she gets to school to carry her bag. I am very proud of the way she battles with this every day, where she takes her medication without me having to tell her. So, she still fights through this, for which I thank the Almighty, because that in turn makes me stronger every day,” Benjamin said.
If you wish to assist with the cost of Ansauf’s surgery or simply to share a message of support, visit Ansauf’s Facebook support page, My Life with Scoliosis – Ansauf Benjamin.
“Shukran to everyone who has contributed already and all I can ask is that everyone make dua [prayers] that the outcome for the operation is a success, inshallah [God willing].”
For more information, contact Fazlin Benjamin on 0737357731.