Ailing UWI graduate pleads for help
Twenty-four-year-old Tamoya Lynch is living in excruciating pain and constant discomfort.
Her body aches just to share her story, but she clings to hope that she can lead a normal life.
"When I'm on the road and I'm walking slowly, somebody would just push me out the way, but they don't know why I'm walking the way I am. At one point I was limping and crying, and people were laughing at me while at school, and they didn't know why I'm limping. It's embarrassing," Lynch, a recent graduate of the University of the West Indies (UWI), told THE STAR.
Doctors diagnosed her with stage two endometriosis, a condition associated with severe pain before and during menstruation, and abdominal adhesions, painful scar tissues that connect tissues that shouldn't be. The latter condition is more severe, and doctors have warned that the adhesions could spread and damage vital organs. Lynch's troubles started in her first year at the Wolmer's Girls School but things worsened last year.
"I was at school (UWI) walking, then I just felt this excruciating pain that caused me to fall to the ground. That's how bad it was," Lynch recalled. Doctors diagnosed endometriosis, but based on the severity of her abdominal pains, they recommended a laparoscopy, a procedure costing over $335,000 in which a small instrument is inserted through the abdominal wall to view the organs in the abdomen and make a diagnosis.
Lynch had ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract. Her condition deteriorated and she was admitted in hospital for more than a week.
"After they gave me the medication, I got extremely sick. I had fever. I was going to the bathroom 30 times a day. If I even sip some water, I had to rush to the bathroom," Lynch shared. Doctors were baffled, and when they finally gave medication, she suffered an allergic reaction and broke out into hives and started to suffocate. Lynch was then hit by another tragedy. Her father died on Christmas Eve after suffering a stroke and heart attack.
"I really took it to heart because I know that my illness affected him. He was worried about me." After almost a year of no improvement, doctors ordered a computerised tomography scan, which showed three abdominal adhesions inside Lynch's intestines. Now, she will have to do another laparoscopy. However, a cash-strapped Lynch doesn't have $600,000 to do the procedure, as her illness has emotionally and financially drained her mother and other family members.
Despite the pain, Lynch has managed to complete her studies at the UWI, and hopes to work in the Justice Ministry to help solve the island's crime problem. In addition, she said she wants to create an organisation to encourage youth.