My story | Disabled woman who never thought she’d find love celebrates second wedding anniversary

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Lutendo Serumula on her wedding day in 2018.
Lutendo Serumula on her wedding day in 2018.

Love found her at her lowest. She had just broken up with the father of her child, she didn't have a job and suddenly overnight, she lost use of her legs and became disabled. 

When Lutendo Serumula (33) thinks of that time, she's amazed at how far she's managed to come and is grateful she opened the door to love, even when she felt she didn't have the capacity because of her health problems. 

She tells us all about the circumstances that changed her life, and led her husband into it. 

“I just woke up one day and I could not walk. I was taken to hospital and doctors told me that they do not see anything wrong. They gave me painkillers.”

Those painkillers did not do much for the then mother of a six-year-old daughter. At the time, she was living back in Venda where she grew up.

Lutendo Serumula found happiness when she never thought she had lost all hope.

She got pregnant as a teenager, dropped out of matric and moved to Pretoria to live with her mom in 2006.

She wanted to get a job so she could raise her daughter.

But after years of searching and as her child got older, Lutendo decided to go back to Venda to complete her matric. 

That's when she suddenly lost the use of her legs.  

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“There was talk of witchcraft because it was mysterious and especially as doctors could not explain what happened,” she adds.

Two months later, she just didn't get better and she was taken to a different hospital where doctors advised that she be admitted.

“I was admitted for about two months, no one knew what was going on. It was so frustrating. And this time I could not walk at all, I could not move and I had to be turned on the bed if I wanted to sleep on different sides,” she adds.

"I was admitted for about two months, no one knew what was going on. It was so frustrating. And this time I could not walk at all, I could not move and I had to be turned on the bed if I wanted to sleep on different sides."

In 2012 when she spent weeks on end at the hospital, learning how to function in her condition. After some time, she was told she had Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves. Weakness and tingling in your extremities are usually the first symptoms.

These sensations can quickly spread, eventually paralyzing your whole body.  Lutendo also had to learn more on her own about the disorder which made her body go numb but organs kept working.

With physiotherapy, she learnt how to use a wheelchair and do other things on her own.

“My mother then decided to get me a smartphone so I could keep in touch with them. In my first week in hospital I decided to download Facebook and it was then I found a childhood friend from Pretoria on the app,” she says.

“The rest is history,” she laughs.

Mr and Mrs Serumula found love and could not be any happier.

Lutendo and her now husband reconnected in the ‘DMs’ and he wasted no time in telling her that he loves her regardless of what situation she was in.

“Whether I walked or was not walking, he told me he loved me,” Lutendo says.

After a year of chatting, the two saw each other again when Lutendo was visiting her mother in Pretoria. “By God’s grace, I had learnt how to walk with crutches over the months. When we finally saw each other, the love grew even more. By the time I went back to Venda after the visit, I was pregnant,” she adds.

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In 2014, they had their first child, he paid lobola for her in 2016, in 2017, they had their second child and in 2018 had a big white wedding celebration. 

“Don’t ignore your DMs. You will never know,” Lutendo jokes.

"Don’t ignore your DMs. You will never know."

It has taken a lot of courage for her to talk about her story.

“A lot of people go through tough situations in life like not leaving an abusive relationship because they thought no one will love them, no matter how painful and dangerous the situation is. Maybe my story will inspire someone not to give up on love and see that even after all the life experiences they have gone through, love will find them,” she says.

Lutendo never thought she would find love. She was just set on living for her child.  “Life is unpredictable. There is a God. I used to ask myself why is it happening to me? Why must I go through this? But God restored all of that and I had to accept my situation. I had given up, all I wanted to do was to live and love my child because I knew that my daughter would love me regardless of how I looked but God had other plans,” she says.

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