Woman of Valour: 26 year old Kushaba is a lymphedema warrior

In 2014 when Lawin Kushaba started to experience cramps and pain in her right leg, she thought it would stop. A few days later the pain would become severe.

A series of Doctor’s appointments would follow without a conclusive diagnosis. “I was subjected to tests after tests, but no doctor was able to ascertain what was wrong with my leg, the the size of my leg grew by twice the normal size,” Kushaba intimated

“After 4 years, in 2018 we came across a physician who hinted at the possibility of lymphedema, it was progress. He referred me to a hospital in Hyderabad, India. I was diagnosed with primary lymphedema. My heart bled when I was told there was no cure for it,

“But as they say there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, the condition was treatable through management. It was frustrating to know there was no cure, but it’s something in the long run I eventually had to come to terms with. Here I am today full of life, and living positively with Lymphedema.” she said

Kushaba told Gateway News that it took her time to open up about her condition. “I had been shy, uncomfortable to talk about or bring it up due to the fear of stigma.” she said

“I finally found the courage, I decided to use my experience to be an advocate for the disease, giving hope to other warriors to fight the stigma. I am passionate and love self-expression that is why am telling my story to the world to help other lymphedema patients of all ages to discover their very own voice, have courage, hope and know we can still live, love and laugh regardless of our condition as Lymphedema Warriors.” she said

She currently manages the condition through dieting, regular body exercise, using compressions stockings, bandages and a pneumatic compression pump, which she says is not enough in the long run.

“There is still hope for me, there is a possibility of a leg reduction surgery at Campisi Clinic in Genova, Italy.” Kushaba revealed she will need over UGX 340 million to carter for the surgery and travel expenses and her stay in Italy.

Resources for lymphedema in Uganda

Only a few hospitals and clinics in Uganda are able to provide specialised care and treatment for lymphedema.

According to a report by USAID, approximately 72 million lymphedema treatments have been delivered to more than 12 million people across the country, making the disease a silent killer and as well confining many to life indoors.

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