‘Tell Ghanaians to pray for me’ – Blind 15-year-old girl with brain tumour begs
Inside the brain of a 15-year-old girl, a tumour has been working its way to capture her five senses, much like a rebel militia tries to take over a country.
In this country of the girl’s body, the tumour is winning against the government of her body. It has gained control over her eyes and so she is practically blind.
The tumour has made incursions into her speech, easily overcoming her body’s fight back. This dark victory means Genevieve Owusu now slurs – the last remnant of an ability likely to die off.
This rebel group of malignant tissues have also moved, almost unhindered, inside her brain, accessing her motor cortex which controls body movement.
And so Genevieve Owusu cannot move much, spending large parts of the day in bed and staring at lifeless objects there.
Every attempt to move is a daily dare. Severely propped up by her 37-year old mother, she marshals strenuous effort to make one baby step and then another.
All the time, her body trembling in opposition to this rebellious task of trying to walk – the world’s most underrated activity.
Genevieve Owusu lives with her mother and three other siblings in a room that is the physical example of her own physiological state – falling apart and very dark.
It’s not even a room. It is an abandoned kitchen in a dilapidated building.
It is windowless and without electric power and so the family lives in the dark – where Genevieve’s practically blind eyes have been living for the past 10 months.
And it all started on an innocuous-looking day in September 2019 when the JHS 2 Dome DC Primary school student returned home and complained of a headache
Headache is not the kind of condition which a mother who earns 6cedis a day would bother too much about, preferring to let the body’s fighting army of cells mount a push back.
She could still go to school and ran errands and her brain could still dream of becoming the nurse she has always envisioned.
But by December 2019, her body began losing the fight against what looked like a routine headache. Genevieve was in pain. The curtains closing in on her physical sight and her mental vision.
“After a vacation in December 2019, her situation worsened, she could only see with one eye, I took her round from hospitals to prayer camps but her situation kept worsening.” Abigail her mother narrated.
Through the help of benevolent individuals, Genevieve was arranged for her first surgery for doctors to get a look-in inside her head.
“So, in February, I took her to Korle Bu…..and there, it was confirmed that Genevieve had something growing inside her head.”
“She underwent surgery, even with that we were detained at the hospital after our discharge because we couldn’t pay for the bills,” Abigail said.
Genevieve has a shunt infused in her head down through her stomach to her private part for draining out the cancerous substance.
She passes out the substance as urine in a diaper.
“As she sits there, she has a rubber wrapped through her ears to her head down to her private part and that is how the ‘water’ is draining.” Her mother narrated.
Genevieve needs another surgery. And this family’s manifest penury is closing in on any chance of further medical attention.
Genevieve needs only GHC25,000 to undergo the second surgery.
Theghanareport.com‘s Aba Asamoah visited the family in the dark kitchen cum bedroom, surrounded by utensils and stuffed bags and saw the 15-year-old girl who could not see her.
The 15-year-old, Genevieve, laid slightly on a sofa; a position she will maintain until she is adjusted by her mother, a hawker now full-time baby-sitter.
“My daughter’s condition has really affected me, she is virtually a vegetable, I can’t leave her behind to go anywhere.”
Her mother, Abigail Say, drained emotionally and psychologically, said she sometimes feels death may be a relief.
The 37-year-old single mother of four says she has had to babysit Genevieve for almost a year.
“Even now she is better, everyone who came to visit her when we returned from the hospital told me she would die, she was just there,” she said.
As if Genevieve’s situation is not enough, the family faces accommodation problems.
They live in someone’s kitchen.
“We used to live in a kiosk at Dome market but we were ejected sometime in March, so through a friend I met my landlord he allowed us to sleep in his kitchen.”
“But there is no light, nothing in here. We have been living here for the past three months.”
All during the interview as Abigail narrated her family’s plight, Genevieve, well aware of the presence of an unfamiliar voice, did not speak.
When the reporter, bidding goodbye, tried to get some words out of her, all Genevieve could mutter in a slur was “tell Ghanaians to pray for me.”