What happens to us does not make us who we are but how we learn to live with it. Here is Thomas's story. He is 18 years old. His life got disrupted by the swelling of his stomach that limits him from doing everything in his community like other children his age.
Thomas says his condition started when he was 15 years old. He noticed something different with his head, legs and belly, they had started swelling but the belly was worse. According to Thomas' mother, Florence, it was at that time their life took a turn for the worse. Thomas' father died. She wondered how she would take care of Thomas' treatment since she didn't have a job. She had to sell their house to get treatment for Thomas.
Thomas was experiencing a lot of pain because of his hurting belly. He developed a fear of going out because of bullying they called him pregnant. The doctors said he was suffering from Acitis and it was this condition that was causing a build-up of fluid in Thomas' belly. It was during these hospital visits that made her run out of money. Florence says she had to start digging at people's farms. She was earning just a dollar a day. The money wasn't enough to sustain them and they would sleep hungry.
Florence says when the doctors first removed the liquid from Thomas' body, it was 8 litres and this was not all of it. When she asked why they didn't remove all of it they said it would have been fatal for Thomas. Florence says she had given birth to other children before Thomas but they all died. Before the condition developed, Thomas was in school but he cannot go to school because he was afraid of being bullied.
Florence had lost all hope and was expecting for the worst. She and her son were living in deplorable conditions, they didn't have a mattress or proper bed. This all changed when their story was shared on YouTube. People donated some money and food. But this was not enough. A doctor who had watched their story called them and offered his medical services for free. He gave them an appointment to carry out tests but they couldn't afford the fare. A good Samaritan gave them a ride.
The test took some time and he gave the mother the results. He said that his condition was caused by a problem in his heart and that it was dangerous to remove all the fluid at once. He then gave medicine to help remove the fluid gradually. The story touched many and they donated money via their gofundme link.
Florence says that before their story was highlighted they were on the verge of being thrown out of their house. Someone bought the house and gave it to them. They are both grateful that they got the money and all the donations.
Florence says she will be able to afford food and will send her son back to school. Thomas says the treatment he got has improved his condition. He says he can play and even help out with house chores.
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