A Mother’s Agony

EMILIAN Joel Paulus has banned her one-year-old daughter from running around, because the slightest knock could cause the huge and abnormal growth on one side of Emilia’s neck to balloon and crush her windpipe, or she could bite her tongue.

Emilia Paulus has a cystic hygroma, a huge cyst on the side of her face, neck and chest. It is so big that it forced her to keep her tongue outside her mouth after the cyst took up the space in her mouth.

According to experts, cystic hygroma is a collection of fluid-filled sacs, known as cysts, that result from a malformation in the lymphatic system.

The lumps can develop anywhere in the body, but most commonly occur in the neck and under the armpits.

They form when the lymph vessels of the baby fail to develop properly during the first few weeks of pregnancy.

The cysts are particularly problematic if they fill with fluid, or if they become infected. They are often surgically removed but can come back after treatment.

Emilia faces a daily battle to fight the condition, and her mother said she hopes that something can be done for her.

Paulus said she noticed the swelling when Emilia was six months old, but was not alarmed until Emilia’s tongue started swelling.

“At first when I took her to the clinic, I was told that the swelling was due to infected tonsils, but as the months passed by it got worse. We are originally from the North, but every month we had to come to Windhoek to see the doctors who could not tell me what was wrong with my child.”

“I feel sorry for my daughter. If an operation is possible, why can’t they do it for Emilia? I am sent from one point to another. I asked the doctors to have an operation to reconstruct her tongue so she can eat normally, but when I ask questions, I am told things I don’t understand,” Paulus said, adding that Emilia does not eat solid food but survives on liquids only.

“She only drinks oshikandela. I am still breastfeeding and sometimes I give her bananas, which she eats with difficulty,” Paulus said.

The mother said it scares her that she has no idea of the extent of her daughter’s condition.

The following is an extract from a laboratory report on Emilia’s case, done last year by the Namibian Institute of Pathology, and authorised by Dr Huchappa Nashi and submitted by Dr Cecillio Villarreal. The cytology report states that there were four smears performed: The smear preparations are suboptimal. All smears are bloody, show only the normal elements of blood, and no abnormal cells are seen.

The diagnosis on the report states that the right submandibular swelling shows negative for malignancy.

Source : The Namibian