Young mother needs help to beat crippling illness

March 17, 2022
Shelice Campbell before she got ill.
Shelice Campbell before she got ill.
Due to her illness, Shelice Campbell has been unable to care for her daughter.
Due to her illness, Shelice Campbell has been unable to care for her daughter.

Could an underwear left overnight on a clothes line be the cause for 25-year-old Shelice Campbell's illness? Her mother is convinced that this is the case.

Campbell is being treated for hyperthyroidism, which occurs when the thyroid gland does not function properly. The condition often leads to weight loss, irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, and more frequent bowel movements.

Hyperthyroidism is being treated for heart palpitations. Her mother, Juliet Johnson, said that doctors initially thought she had lupus, but that was later ruled out.

"Right now is a bag a pill she a take and instead she get better, she a get worse. A three week now she can't walk. One time she could walk around a bit, but not now. If she want to turn on the bed we have to turn her. She getting really worse, and we just don't know what is wrong with her," Johnson said.

Campbell, the mother of a 10-year-old girl, has been struggling with illness since 2018. She was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism last November by doctors at the Kingston Public Hospital after she became gravely ill.

Prominent medical doctor Roger Hunter said hyperthyroidism is a very serious condition especially if left untreated.

"It can cause a number of dysfunctions in the human body. A thyroid hormone is extremely important for normal bodily function. It affects our metabolism and our heart," Hunter said.

"The person can become also very weak. It could interfere with the person's ability to move. It can so lead to abnormal brain function and the person can become psychotic. One of the features of psychosis is that you can stop moving around, you can freeze. It can make you as thin as a stick. It can lead to mental disturbance and heart failure. Because the changes are so traumatic, people may think somebody obeah them," he added

Hunter said the condition is, however, very treatable and a person can live a normal life once controlled.


Meanwhile, due to her illness, the young mother has been unable to care for her daughter. The Clarendon woman said this was far from the life she desired, as she has plans of becoming a psychologist.

"I am really sick and I am not sure what is wrong with me. I wanted to major in psychology and take care of my daughter the right way, but I cannot. It has been really difficult because I am in a lot of pain and I cannot do anything for myself," she said.

She spoke in a raspy voice as she told THE STAR that when she gave birth to her daughter at age 15, she did not forget about her academics. With the assistance of the principal of Garvey Maceo High School, she was able to sit her Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate exams and emerged with eight passes.

"I got four ones and four twos. I am grateful for the principal who paid for them. I was the top awardee that year, and I was still proud of myself."

Further demonstrating that she was not prepared to be defined by the fact that she is a teen mom, Campbell focused on her academics and was rewarded with four Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination passes.

Campbell said she wanted to move on to a tertiary level institution, but being a single parent she knew she had to put dream of becoming a physiologist on a pause so she could take care of her daughter. She gained employment at a call centre in Mandeville, Manchester, before moving to another job in Montego Bay, St James, in 2018. While in the second city she got ill.

Her mother is convinced that the source of her illness originated in the western parish.

"Mi nuh know what happen, but she leave her panty on the line, and from deh suh she take down sick. She nah keep down nothing and is like a every three months she get sick. A from 2018 she get really sick. She sick out and in a lot of pain, she a vomit among a whole heap a things," Johnson said.

The concerned mother said that Campbell's condition has worsened since last year.

"The amount a doctor and church whe mi carry her go. Dem say her sickness anno doctor sickness. Dem say it weird. The last church whe I carry her go, the pastor say what set fi her is to cripple her up fi life. Mi daughter was a perfect and is a very bright girl. Now she can't move," the mother said in a worrying tone.

Juliet Johnson says she unable to keep up with the day-to day expense of caring for her daughter and has appeared to the public for help. She can be contacted via telephone at (876) 501-6145.

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