Free from pain after 24 years

2012-08-09 00:00

AFTER living with chronic pain for more than two decades, Nokitika Saraphina Tshazi (44) of Umzimkhulu can smile today without shame.

There is no need to cover her face with a beach towel, like she used to.

Tshazi has had an aching growth hanging on her face for 24 years.

She was diagnosed with an amelo­blastoma tumour, a rare condition that develops in the jaw, only in May 2012 after being referred to Grey’s Hospital. She had a seven-and-a-half-hour operation last month.

Doctors say the size of the tumour was eight by 13 cm.

Tshazi said that when the pain started, she thought it was a toothache and received little help from all the other hospitals she visited.

“I’ve had this tumour since 1988, when I was pregnant with my first-born child, who is now a grown-up.

“I visited hospitals and clinics all these years and if they didn’t give me a Panado to numb the pain they told me that they have lost my results. I’ve had sleepless nights and was not even able to go fetch water or cook for my husband.”

Even though her treatment is still incomplete, when asked how she was feeling, Tshazi was quick to declare she was “healed”.

She still needs to undergo a hip graft that will help in the reconstruction of her jawbone

“After my surgery I looked at myself in the mirror and I couldn’t believe it was me. Please make sure that when you publish the story you mention that I’m so grateful to the doctors that helped me,” she insisted.

Tshazi was lucky to become one of the patients who benefited from the first virtual surgery performed at Grey’s Hospital under Dr Avin Singh.

Virtual surgery and stereolithography in maxillofacial surgery are revolutionary surgical concepts that use computer-assisted design (CAD) technology for pre-surgical planning, guiding and performing surgical procedure.

Singh said: “The tumour is actually cut on the computer. Then it’s transferred to a machine which makes the patient’s bone without the tumour.

“This is all done before the actual surgery.”

He said this was done to save time and theatre costs.

Singh said the hospital was relying on sponsorship for her implants and for a new set of teeth.

“To offer patients such first-world technology and treatment in the public sector definitely means that our government is moving in a forward direction,” said Singh.

Singh said there were cases of women as young as 19 who were being treated for the type of tumour Tshazi has.

“We’re not trying to make her [Tshazi] Miss World, but what we can say is that she can compete,” he added.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.