HELP! Save Me from the Hands of Painful Death – Zaharaddeen #Balarabe
My names are Zaharaddeen Balarabe and like many other people around the world, I have a heart condition that needs urgent surgery. I was born on September 17th, 1988 in Lagos State, Nigeria.
I lost my mother in 1993, I was only five years old then. Even though I can only remember a little about her, I know she was a loving mother. I remember how she dealt with my sister, when she was being a bully, and how she’d make my favorite meal rice and milk. May Allah SWT rest her soul and grant her Aljanna Firdaus
My childhood wasn’t a normal one, I spent most of it in the hospital, I had bronchial infection. Because of it I had to follow many doctor’s orders, I didn’t play like most kids do, I wasn’t allowed to drink cold water or drinks and a lot of other rules. Missing school and taking drugs became a part of my life at an early age. But miraculously I got better.. And started living a happy teenage life..
The horror began in my 2nd year at the university. It all started with palpitations (irregular heartbeats) which I was constantly ignoring. When I couldn’t ignore them no more, I decided to pay the university clinic a visit. The doctor said I was stressing myself, and my body was telling me I need to rest. Doctor gave me drugs, asked me to stay off coffee and rest more.
We finished the semester and went on a break without the palpitations stopping, I became worried and scared. When I got home, I decided to go to a hospital in Kano. The doctor told me I had stomach Ulcer, gave me some drugs and told me I’d be fine in no time. But the palpitations didn’t stop and chest pain sets in.
During our break, I had the opportunity to travel to Lagos to visit my Dad. I went to a hospital there and was asked to come back to see a specialist. After seeing the consultant, he used the Electrocardiography Machine (ECG) to detect any heart abnormalities. He asked me to get an Echo (A test used to see the image of the heart). After the Doctor saw my Echo result, he said the left side of my heart is swollen. As a muslim, I was taught to believe that everything that happens to me, is from Allah SWT, be it good, or bad.. And not to despair of Allah’s mercy, it wasn’t good news, it was a scary news but the doctor was very supportive he gave me a drug and attributed the swelling to my previous health issue, the bronchial infection I had as a child. When I told my Dad he was heartbroken and very supportive, I remember he kept on telling me everything would be fine, and we’d get through it together.
I came back to Kano and continued living my life, like nothing happened, but I was constantly thinking about the information I got from the doctor in Lagos. I couldn’t bare thinking about it anymore and having sleepless nights, so I decided to get a second opinion in Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital. I was told I need a referral from a family doctor to see a cardiologist. I met a family doctor and he advised me to get a medical report from the hospital I went to in Lagos if I really wanted to see a cardiologist soon. I got the report and I was given an appointment date to see a cardiologist.
But I fell seriously ill before the appointment date. I was so sick and was coughing out blood. They had to rescheduled my appointment. The doctor told me I had tuberculosis and I was placed on TB medication. I took my medication religiously, until I was tested and told I was TB free.. I was really happy, I felt the Doctor in Lagos didn’t know his job, and he scared me for no reason.. Little did I know he was right all along..
Everybody in my house was happy, we even celebrated my life all over again.. But a month later the chest pain came back, and I was coughing blood.. I decided to go back to the cardiologist, that was when he said I had to go through some tests. When the results came back, the doctor told me I had a bad aorta and he was going to place me on drugs, but the final solution to my problem is valve replacement. I was confused, and didn’t know what to believe, how can TB led to valve replacement, or didn’t I have tuberculosis to begin with? The news as devastating as it was didn’t stop me from asking questions, and that was when I realized, he meant I need heart surgery. I became so sad and I was constantly thinking of leaving this world. I prayed and prayed, my family and friends provided me with a lot of support, and we all thought the drugs would be enough, that they will cure me and I wouldn’t need a valve replacement. I was so scared to believe that I needed heart surgery, so I decided not talk about it.
I continued school and every other activity with my condition. I was on medications and I started my regular doctor’s appointments. I managed to overcome the fear with Allah’s help. And I finally graduated from the University. I was very happy with my achievement. After graduation, I was posted to Cross-river state for my national youth service. But I had to relocated after camp, because my condition requires regular doctor’s visits. I relocated to katsina because of it’s proximity to the hospital I go to in Kano.
Sadly other symptoms of my heart condition started manifesting, dizziness, finding it difficult to walk and weakness. I remember one faithful friday I was walking back home from Juma’ah prayers when I collapsed. I was rushed to the hospital and the Doctors said we should start preparing for a Valve Replacement Surgery, because the symptoms I’m experiencing are only going to get worse.
My Dad started crying and asked the Doctor how much the surgery would cost. He said he wasn’t sure but nothing less than two million naira in Nigeria, when we got home my Dad started calling his friends and asking for their opinion and they all advised him to take me to another country, I shouldn’t have a heart surgery in a country that couldn’t even detect what was wrong with me until it got to a point where I needed surgery. My Dad told me he’d do everything he can to make sure I get better, because he is all I have and he will not fail me.
But funding the surgery is the big challenge, because we can not afford it. I was told about a multi-billion dollar Foundation and I decided to write a letter to them, seeking for there help but I’ve still not gotten a word from them.
One beautiful morning, I was reading Nigeria’s former vice president’s (Atiku Abubakar) book, While I was reading the book, I read a sentence where he mentioned helping people with life threatening conditions. The sentence motivated me to ask for his help. I decided to send him a tweet. I have written and saved the tweet for a while, before I finally got the courage to send it to him. The tweet gathered enough popularity, that was how a lot of people got to know about me and my health issue. And tweeps have been very supportive, someone even started a hashtag #SaveBalarabe after she begged her followers to donate a tweet for me, with the hope that someone, somewhere would see the tweet and pay for my surgery.
Dizziness, weakness, difficulty walking and chest pain are some of the symptoms I currently live with. Distances I used to jog are becoming a challenge to walk. It gets scary at times when you’re walking without a companion and you have to sit or keep supporting yourself with walls and anything you can get your hands on. It is now becoming more obvious that I am not feeling well. But I’m trying hard to hide what I’m going through from people. These symptoms are becoming obstacles to the voluntary teaching I engage in on weekends. Which is making me sad, because I have a strong passion for helping these kids.
People around me are saying that despite all these challenges I still smile. And I told them, with Allah’s help I have only become stronger at heart and with Allah’s help I’m only going to get better
Lately I’ve been thinking of giving up. But I know I’m not going to only hurt myself, I’ll be hurting the people that love me, those that have been there for me, those that support me, people that think and believe that I am their hero, and the strongest human being they’ve ever met.
I am in dire need of a valve replacement and if I don’t have the surgery within the next three months, the surgery would be useless, I am not afraid of dying. What scares me is suffering before dying, becoming a liability to people that love me, becoming a burden, not being able do the things I love, being helpless, but above all what scares me most is knowing that if I don’t have that surgery very soon, there will come a time when I won’t be able to get up and go to the mosque to say my five daily prayers..
I may be asking for a lot from all of you, but I’ve ran out of options and I’m getting weaker by the day, you don’t have to contribute for my surgery.. But please pray for me. Allah Azzawajal that created me will definitely find a way out for me. If you are reading this, I am pleading with you to say a prayer for me. May Allah SWT bless you and yours.
Thank you for reading my story. I am just sorry it isn’t a happy story.
Editor: If you are touched by Balarabe’s story and you want to help improve his condition, you can pay whatever you have into this account: Bank:
Guaranty Trust Bank.
Account Name: PYRAMID OF HEARTS CHARITABLE FOUNDATION.
Account number: 0151913757.
You can also reach Balarabe diretly vis his twitter handle @zbalarabeor vis his phone number 08135686952.
Thanks as you help save a life.
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