How a fall from a ladder left Faith Kanyaa depressed, in pain and in need of Sh300 million

“When I fell down the stairs five years ago, I didn’t know that I, Faith Kanyaa, would be given a new identity. If anything, I knew the worst that could happen was that I would break my leg. My life took a turn new turn and now live with a disability. I was later diagnosed with depression.

Since 2019, I’ve had more than four leg surgeries, gone into debt, been called crippled, threatened with dismissal, and literally lost the ability to sleep.

After the fall, I went on with my life as usual, until my right foot hurt and swelled.

I went to one of the hospitals in Machakos County, where they recommended an x-ray. The examination showed that he had a fracture of the first metatarsal of the foot at the level of the sesamoid bone. They put a cast on my leg to hold the fracture in place while the bone healed.

The doctor also recommended that I avoid movement to allow the foot to heal and return in two months for a check-up. However, despite taking the rest, the pain never subsided and I ended up returning to the hospital before the two-month period expired.

The first cast was removed and replaced with a tighter one. Five times they put a cast on my right leg, but the pain persisted and the fractured part remained unhealed. It didn’t matter that he was in complete rest.

Toward the end of that year, the doctor recommended that I undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a non-invasive medical imaging test that produces detailed images of almost all the internal structures of the human body, including bones.

I visited two hospitals in Nairobi, had two scans and received two related reports showing that the fracture had not healed. It seemed as if my body did not have the ability to heal a fracture.

Faith Kanyaa during an interview at Nation Center on May 16, 2024.

Faith Kanyaa during an interview at Nation Center on May 16, 2024.

Photo author: Adrams Mulama | Nation Media Group

I remember celebrating the New Year with pain. In February of that year, the doctor he was treating at the Machakos hospital suggested that since the bone was not healing, it would be better to remove it. He assured me that by July of that year everything would be back to normal.

On March 20, 2020, at the peak of the pandemic year, I was admitted for sesamoidectomy surgery to remove the incompatible bone.

But later, the surgical site bled a lot and left a wound that took nine months to heal.

Due to travel restrictions, a nurse who was a friend of mine came to my house to clean and dress my wound and, when necessary, give me pain relief injections.

That same year, I had the second surgery when the affected foot developed tenosynovitis (inflammation of the protective sheath surrounding the tendons of the foot) and edema (fluid buildup in the body that causes the affected tissue to swell). It was also done, as well as decompression therapy to reduce the inflammation of the nerves in the foot, but there was no improvement.

That same year, in November, I went to the Aga Khan Hospital in Parklands and narrated my medical history to the pain specialist, who suggested a surgical procedure on some nerves to reduce the pain. The next day I was taken to the operating room for a nerve block procedure.

Admitted for two months.

My foot went numb for two days, allowing me to walk and stand, and then the pain returned. This time I also developed gastritis and was hospitalized for two months.

The year passed and I returned to the Aga Khan Hospital, where we tried physiotherapy, but it never worked because I couldn’t walk. In February 2021, I was admitted again and put on nerve and spinal blocks again, but they never helped.

I became desperate, stopped going to Aga Khan and visited Kenyatta National Hospital to see a neurologist who prescribed me medication and gave me another appointment. Depressed and desperate, I kept calling people asking them to refer me to a good orthopedist.

I finally got one and he suggested we do acupuncture. However, it was very expensive and I couldn’t afford it. He sent me for x-rays and MRIs, which showed I had fluid in my foot and a foreign thread-like object, probably from wound dressings. This was in May 2021.

He suggested a surgical procedure to drain the fluid and clean the wound. The gastritis she had previously developed worsened and migraines made an appearance. I was discharged and we re-bandaged the wound in the midst of endless pain.

A month later, I was admitted again and given a medication called Pamidronate, a strong painkiller often given to cancer patients.

I went to the Coptic Hospital in October 2021, where the doctors suggested that we do a biopsy to rule out the presence of cancer. When the results came out, they said there was no cancer, but he had chronic inflammation in the soft tissues of his legs.

The doctor recommended that we go to the operating room and do a nerve ablation to destroy the nerves in the area of ​​pain. But that never worked and I went back to doing bandages as an outpatient.

Split headaches

When the year 2022 rolled around, I was still in pain, couldn’t move without crutches, and was still battling throbbing headaches.

After that I saw other doctors, who said I had soft tissue inflammation. Some offered to perform bone drilling procedures, but I couldn’t afford them because my health insurance had run out at that time. I made many calls but received no help and had to return home very disappointed.

I went back to work, only to be called a cripple by a colleague and scolded by a supervisor who called me “obsolete and of no benefit to the organization.”

Sometimes I get to work at 11 or noon, but I’m always ready at 9:30 because I have to find someone to take me to work.

I mainly rely on my tuk-tuk guys to pick me up and drop me off, and since I pay them at the end of the month, they give priority to those who pay cash. Because of this, it can take two to three hours for them to appear.

That’s when depression appeared. It’s hard. I don’t have anything. I had run out of money while moving from one facility to another.

I admit that I had not been productive at work. But they had shown no interest in what had prevented me from accomplishing.

The bitterness festered. She didn’t feel like talking to anyone. I ignored all the phone calls and when someone texted me to check on me, I didn’t respond.

Brushing my teeth

I couldn’t go anywhere and I had no friends. If I wasn’t in the hospital, I was at home. In the end I stopped going to work.

My son was in boarding school then. He couldn’t eat well, I stopped bathing, I went days without brushing my teeth and I also stopped combing my hair. That was the time I lost all ability to sleep unless I took antidepressants.

I wanted to die. I overdosed three times to get it all over with, but I woke up the next morning. I reported my suicide attempts to one of my doctors, who took me to therapy.

Shortly after, I met orthopedic doctors who suggested amputation, but they couldn’t guarantee the pain would go away.

The year was 2023 when I visited different orthopedics and received a combination of treatments from an orthopedic surgeon, a pain specialist, and a neurologist. I decided to exhaust all options before losing my leg.

The last option I have left to try is to go to India. I want to heal, but I don’t want to lose my foot.

I have been in touch with doctors from different hospitals in India and sent them copies of my MRI scans and although their opinions correlate, everyone has their own opinion and they need me to be physically present before making a final decision.

I have been prescribed the best and most powerful antibiotics, pain relievers, both oral and injections and infusion medications. Most of my medications are opioids, drugs I take to relieve long-term foot pain.

Despite all this, I still have a throbbing pain. I was recently diagnosed with Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome which makes it difficult for me to walk without needing any type of assistance. I move with the help of crutches.

This situation has affected me literally in everything. I have had a traumatic stigma after recurrent surgeries.

I face many challenges in performing my tasks, sometimes without any privacy. My financial stability has stalled due to medical reasons and I am in a lot of debt.

I have returned to work but I am not productive. Sometimes no one understands me and I find myself completely alone. I haven’t been active socially because getting around is still a challenge.

But I promised that I would not give up again and I want to live for myself and my son. I’m a civil servant, but I don’t have money. And now that I don’t want to give up completely, I asked for help. I started looking for money last year and formed WhatsApp groups asking people to contribute. This will allow me to explore other options in India.

Since 2023 I have been raising funds, but I am yet to reach the target of Sh300 million, which is needed.

However, I still have hope that everything will be fine. I ask God to give me the strength to live and fight more.