“Mommy, will you be able to run? Will you be able to jump and play? Will you be well?” These were my children’s questions when I told them I was having surgery…surgery to heal my incontinence. Yes, I leaked urine ALL THE TIME. For the last 8.5 years, it did not matter if I was walking, running, coughing, sneezing or simply sitting still…my bladder was broken, I leaked, and it kept me from really living.
As much as I appreciated this physical connection with my sisters with fistula and an incredibly small sense of their physical plight – isn’t it amazing how God works? – I was DONE, FED UP and READY to try SOMETHING. The women and girls we met in Angola were also DONE, FED UP and READY to be WELL.
Our sisters ask about healing through surgery. Is it possible? I asked the same question… weeping with my husband, Tim, the night before…what if something goes wrong, what if it doesn’t work, what if I can never really be free? Surgery results are never 100% guaranteed. As Tim held me, I felt I could give it a try. Most women with fistula have no husband to hold them when they weep. Yet they amazingly find the courage to try.
The morning of my surgery, I realized I would be put in the same position as our sisters are for fistula surgery. Wow! Another amazing connection. However, when I underwent surgery, I was accustomed to a hospital, knew my doctor well, and fully understood the procedure and desired outcome. I wonder about our sisters being in a different environment at the hospital, facing language barriers, and fear of the unknown.
Today is 3.5 months since my surgery…guess what? It worked! I am free from my physical limits. I can run, jump, sneeze, play…enjoy life to the full. In fact, I played dodge ball and kickball at my friend’s son’s birthday party and fully appreciated this renewed freedom. Such a gift!
We at Hope for Our Sisters want this same freedom for our sisters with fistula. YOU can help us give them the gift of freedom. Freedom provides me the opportunity to experience life with my husband and kids to the full. However, I was never isolated and shamed due to my leaking. I could cover it up and manage it. Since our sisters with fistula are most often isolated, shunned, and blamed for their condition, successful surgery not only frees them from leaking but gives them the CHANCE at COMMUNITY, at HOPE, at LIFE.
My answers to my kids’ questions were “Yes, I can run. Yes, I can jump. Yes, I am well.” It is our hope that one day soon our sisters with fistula will all be able to say, “Yes, I am dry. Yes, I can be in community once again. Yes, I can really live. Yes, I feel whole.”
© 2015 by Brooke F Sulahian