When last did you take stock of the fact that you are able to go about your day without mind-numbing pain and limitations? Far too often able-bodied people forget that there are those, whose bodies have failed them, leading to a life most cannot comprehend, a life limited through a dreaded illness.
Sitting in her wheelchair, Adanja de Bruyn is one such person. Diagnosed with debilitating Multiple Sclerosis (MS), the 34-year-old woman faces not only immense pain on a daily basis but has to overcome many challenges as a result of the disease.
Looking at this illness, MS is a disease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves, resulting in nerve damage which disrupts communication between the brain and the body. As one can imagine, this disruption leads to a plethora of issues, ranging from loss of vision, fatigue, impaired coordination and of course vast sums of pain.
Adanja explains that her journey with Multiple Sclerosis initially began in 2017, when she suddenly lost her eyesight for a number of days. “The doctor gave me medication, but warned this was a sign of something serious.”
The words of the doctor rang true when she lost all movement in her body, in October 2017. She was quickly rushed to hospital and treated, with these symptoms eventually clearing up, seeing Adanja hoping her health issues had finally come to an end.
This, however, was not the end, but sadly only the beginning of a long and hard journey. Upon starting a new job in March 2018, she began to randomly faint and lose all balance. Unable to afford medical treatment, her previous employer extended a helping hand and took Adanja to her doctor.
The doctor then sent her to Grey’s Hospital, where she underwent testing. It was then that she was officially diagnosed with MS. In time, the disease rapidly developed and affected her health. Leaving her facing an unforeseen battle, in unchartered waters.
Adding to her woes, Adanja could not afford the necessary medication to help slow the autoimmune disease, leaving her in constant pain.
“There is no way to stop it at all. I recently wanted to go to Madadeni Hospital, but due to COVID-19, I couldn’t as I do have an underlying condition which will put my health at risk. I also can’t get a medical aid now, as I simply can’t afford it and a lot of Medical Aids do not want to cover someone who already has the condition.”
Not being able to afford medication or treatment, Adanja says she has also been struggling to secure employment. She explains that prospective employers are often concerned she will be unable to carry out her duties, due to the unpredictability of MS.
Unable to work and afford treatment, Adanja’s confidence and will to live has taken an immense knock.
“My mobility has been taken away from me, I can’t work or even go to the toilet without my wheelchair. I used to love cooking and baking, and I can’t even do that anymore,” she expresses.
Facing an uncertain future, Adanja, with tears in her eyes says, there is only one reason which sees her continuously fighting for her life. That reason, the light of her life, her 14-year-old son.
“He has been my strong point and he has helped me from day one with MS. He has always been there for me and understands the difficulties that I face and there is no struggle with him around. As a mother, it feels horrible to put your child through something like this, but he is the reason I am still fighting,” she cries.
Her son now lives with his father, but regular contact with him, sees Adanja persevering through her difficulties.
Adding to this brave soul’s story, Adanja says she is fortunate to have met someone, who not only showers her with love but assists her in her day to day life.
“Gareth and I have been together for just over two months now. He helps me in more ways than I can even explain. I never wanted to put anyone through this, nor did I ever want to be a burden to anyone. But, if not for him, I think I might have given up eventually,” she affrims.
As Adanja takes each day in its stride, she wakes up every day knowing her physical and financial difficulties are in dire need of assistance.
She receives a SASSA disability grant, which as most know, does not cover much. This payment only covers some of the vitamins which she needs and personal items. However, she is unable to pay rent or even acquire food for herself.
Tearfully, Adanja says it gnaws at her that she cannot afford to contribute to anything. “Even my clothes are gifts and it gets me down.”
With a sense of uneasiness, Adanja now looks at the Newcastle community for assistance, asking for nothing more but healthy foods, such as vegetables and fruits.
Truly not a big ask, especailly when considering the magnatude of what she is dealing with.
If anyone can assist Adanja, be sure to contact either the Newcastillian offices (Pixelfish Marketing) or message our Facebook page. Alternatively contact Quinton Boucher, the Editor of the Newcastillian – Online Daily News for further information.
Authors: Quinton Boucher and Calvin Swemmer
Edited: Calvin Swemmer