Burn victim Pippie Kruger (13) is no stranger to the operating table. Since the disastrous burns accident she suffered as a toddler, the young girl has been through a gamut of surgeries, and recently she had her 62nd operation.
Her mom, Anicè, for whom hospitals and air travel have become a way of life, believes this procedure has made a significant difference to her daughter’s quality of life.
“As I sat with her this morning, I asked, ‘Can I hold your hand?’ And I
realised it’s the first time [since the accident] that Pippie can open her hand
again. It’s the small things that make a huge difference every time,” Anicè
She says they travelled to Johannesburg from their home in Still Bay in the Western Cape last week to visit their long-time plastic surgeon, Dr Ridwan Mia, at Mediclinic Sandton. He recommended they stay on for him to perform the latest medical procedures.
“He did a so-called Z-plasty on her left wrist which entailed cutting small diamonds from the skin to improve the functionality of her arm. He also severed a shortened sinew in her wrist. This now enables the hand to open and close.
“She was also Botoxed from head to toe again,” Anicè explains.
“Her horse, Bold Jazz, broke its leg and was with her the whole time,” Anicè says of the toy Pippie had with her in hospital to keep her calm. “Bold Jazz distracted her all day.”
This time, Pippie didn’t need to stay overnight, and she was discharged
on the day of the surgery. They’re staying with a friend in Johannesburg and plan
to go home over the weekend.
In the past 11 years, Pippie has faced more doctors, nurses and hospitals than most people will have to in a lifetime.
The accident – which occurred when a firestarter gel exploded at the family braai – left Pippie with severe burns all over her body and caused her to suffer brain damage. She’s had five strokes in her short life, which caused all her muscles to contract. The Botox helps to alleviate this.
Last year, YOU wrote about Anicè’s physical transformation when she lost 10kg and 10% body fat by following a low-carb diet and exercising more. She says it’s possible to maintain her regime when she travels, but it’s definitely harder.
“There were a lot more chocolates this week,” she chuckles. Asked what her diet entails, she says, “Do you like meat? Because I eat meat six times a day.”
They’re planning on seeing Dr Mia for a follow-up consultation in two
weeks, Anicè says, and then they’ll also be seeing an orthopaedic surgeon
because Pippie’s hips aren’t aligned, which also affects her legs and feet.
They’ll take it from there.
“It’s second nature by now, but it doesn’t get easier,” Anicé says bravely.