Feature Story: An Evening with Mrs. Imaga
Mrs. Imaga is a 61 years old woman diagnosed with MSA. She initially noticed the onset of her condition in early 2011, with early symptoms being pain in one part of her arm and leg, which made walking difficult.
Below are excerpts from a little chat with her in April, 2014, which she agreed to have publshed to raise more awareness for Multiple System Atrophy (MSA):
Q: What did you do immediately you noticed the initial discomfort?
A: Because of the pain in my arm and leg I decided to visit the hospital where I was diagnosed of malaria and so I started treatment for malaria immediately.
Q: Was there any relief?
A: No, my condition only worsened with my feet dragging involuntarily and increasingly any time I walked. This made me visit another hospital, and this time they told me I had stroke.
Q: So you started treating stroke this time?
A: Yes, but not at the hospital. Some family friends suggested an herbal doctor, whom they claimed was a stroke-specialist. I visited this native doctor and was undergoing treatment in his care for a period of about 3 months, however with no real signs of improvement.
I was not satisfied with the care I was getting so I decided to return to Lagos and resulted to taking painkillers, as well as visiting some churches for prayers. This continued until October 2012 when my children, returned home for a wedding ceremony. On seeing my condition, they took me to see a neurologist. The neurologist diagnosed me with Parkinsonism.
Q: How did you feel getting different diagnosis from different health practitioners?
A: it was quite frustrating. But I was bent on finding a solution to my problem. I also had the support of my sister. I even had to move in with her, although she is married with kids. It was from her house that I started going to this neurologist for periodic check up and Parkinsonism treatment.
Q: Were there any improvements?
A: Not much. At a point when I ran out of my Parkinsonism drugs, a friend introduced me to a Korean acupuncture centre where I started going to for treatment. They ran a series of tests on me and diagnosed that I was actually suffering from stroke.
Mrs. Imaga’s sister points out to me that Mrs. Imaga actually walked unaided to the Acupuncture centre on her first visit. Such was the state of her health. She was still very mobile at the time. “She was the one who even led the way to the place”, she tells me. “It seemed I was the one even slowing her down that day”. Mrs. Imaga clarifies that although she felt a bit of difficulty walking from the pain, she could walk long distances and with no aid. “She only became worse after we started visiting that place (The acupuncture centre)”, concludes her sister.
Q: Tell me about the acupuncture centre
A: They were located at Ire-Akari Estate, Isolo, Lagos. I don’t know if they are still there. We registered with the sum of N10,000 and were charged a further N100,000 for treatment. We had to do a part-payment of N75,000, with the promise to pay the balance as soon as possible, and so the treatment started. One week after commencing treatment at this acupuncture centre, I lost my ability to walk unaided. My sister quickly put a call through to the centre and we were asked to go to a general hospital.
We visited the general hospital as advised but were told that I had to book an appointment and that it will take about 8 weeks for me to see a specialist. However, considering the length of time in relation to my condition I was referred to LUTH.
It was at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) that I was diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy (MSA).
Q: How are you faring now?
A: At least I think I now have the right diagnoses and the medication helps alleviate most of the symptoms, although, they return when the effects of the drugs wear off.
Q: What has been your greatest challenge so far?
A: Difficulty in breathing, the pain, the salivating. The ailment has also affected my speech as I have to strain myself more to get my words out properly. Another thing is the tremor and stiffness. I also ease myself more often and sometimes i go to the toilet but return without actually easing myself.
Q: What is everyday like for you?
A: These days I sleep a lot. But not for too long at a go because i cannot sleep in a position for too long and i cannot turn myself. But I sleep more. I also do a lot of reading. I read different books and the Bible.
We lost Mrs. Imaga on the 14th of February, 2015.We continue to pray for her and for her loved ones.
Her remains were laid to rest on the 6th of April, 2015.