20 September 2018

Cancer making life difficult for a poor Vhembe family

A sinus complaint that turned cancerous has deformed a Limpopo woman's face to the extent that she has become almost unrecognisable.

A rare infection which started as a sinus complaint has left a rural mother and her family confused, stressed and traumatised as it has since turned cancerous.

It all started in 2016 when Vhonani Netshifhefhe (42) of Tshikombani village, outside Louis Trichard, developed a sinus infection, which within few months developed into a tumour and later turned cancerous.

Traumatised as a family

The married mother of three children has been in and out of the hospitals in the province since then, trying desperately to get the help she needs to reclaim her life.

The condition has left Netshifhefhe completely helpless and unable to take care of her herself and her children. As a result of the condition her face is now completely deformed.

Her concerned husband, Ralph Rabada said, “We are traumatised as a family because it seems like there is nothing we can do to help my beloved wife. There is  nothing which the hospitals are helping her with, and she is in constant pain. We have been to various hospitals in the province but it seems like no one knows what needs to be done to help my wife.”

Netshifhefhe’s face has completely deformed to the extent that people who last saw her more than two years ago can hardly recognise her now. She travels to Polokwane Provincial Hospital twice a month for chemotherapy, which costs the family a lot as they have to travel with her using public transport. Tests have confirmed that the cancer has already spread to her head. Rabada, who is self-employed, said it is hard for him to take care of their children on his own as he spends a lot of time at work.

No money for specialists

“The situation is negatively affecting us as a family because even our children do not understand what it is happening to their mom. Her face changes each day. At the hospitals we have been, her sickness has been diagnosed. But it seems like they do not have any medication to help her. They keep on promising that she will be helped but her condition is getting worse each day”, said Rabada.

Netshifhefhe was supposed to have been operated on last year, but her date was postponed and she is still waiting for a new date to be confirmed.

“We have lost hope in the public health care but pity we do not have any means to take her to the specialists in the private hospitals.”

The spokesperson for the MEC of Health, Thabiso Teffo said that the department will look into how they can help Netshifhefhe access the treatment she desperately needs.

"We will work closely with our district office to see how we can help her and the family", said Teffo. – Health-e News.

Image credit: Health-e News


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