6 days ago, I wished Jadudi a safe and successful trip and shared the news on Twitter and Instagram that he was returning to India for his first medical review since his fourth brain surgery in August last year. Several people sent messages of support and we were all optimistic. Jadudi was supposed to be gone for two weeks, but he said he was not really looking forward to the trip, and hoped he would be done and back home within a week. Then three days ago, as I was preparing to go for Kenya’s historical Ivory burn, I received these messages from him:
So I called him, and as usual, despite the deep disappointment I heard in his voice and tone, Emmanuel was not devastated.
“How do you feel Jadudi,” I asked.
“Bad … but I’m ok. It will be ok,” he replied.
I was speechless. I asked how mom was, and he said she was ok. Dad still didn’t know. I was not ok. I was angry and upset. This wasn’t supposed to happen like this. Not after everything he has been through.
In August last year, thousands of Kenyans came together to support this young man that was once a stranger to us all, because we believed we could save a life, and that this would be the last tumor. What happened to the power of collective prayer and intention? Kenyans had demonstrated how we could use our collective digital power for good in what was one of Kenya’s most successful crowdfunding campaigns. Through the #1MilliForJadudi campaign, we had saved a life. It was nothing short of a miracle. Within two weeks of raising the money, he had had his surgery and begun his recovery journey. All his doctors were amazed at the speed at which he was recovering. He even walked for the first time in months, without a walking stick and we were certain once again that this was it. In January this year, the results of his first MRI came back positive and we celebrated once again. His doctors here said that he was able to fly again. Although he has continued to have headaches, ear aches, nausea, and his speech is still partially impaired, his doctors have been assuring him that this is all normal, as the brain surgery recovery process is a long one.
So here we are. Even before he has fully recovered from the last surgery, less than eight months later, Jadudi has to go through yet another one. We still don’t know what the implications are, but this young man and his parents continue to demonstrate the power of incredible optimism and faith. Jadudi has taught me many things: resilience is just one. Please stand with them in prayer as the doctors deliberate on next steps. They are currently doing several tests, including the electroencephalogram (EEG) test (see picture below), which is used to detect abnormalities related to the electrical activity of the brain. This procedure tracks and records brain wave patterns. The Africa Cancer Foundation, the custodian of his medical trust, has been walking with Jadudi and his family throughout his process since last year, and will update us on their facebook page, as they receive information.
Emmanuel Otieno has dreams he has yet to fulfill. He is passionate about giving back to society and making a difference in the battle against cancer. In his own small ways, he has been supporting the children at the oncology ward in the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Referral Hospital in Kisumu. He even threw a Christmas party for them on his birthday in December. But Jadudi wants to do more. Just a few weeks ago, he called me saying how bored and frustrated he was because he couldn’t work. His health was still too unstable, so he didn’t know what kind of work he could do. I encouraged him to try and figure out what he could do online. The very next day, he called and said he had several ideas about providing online support for people with different kinds of cancer in Kenya, and eventually even Africa. I told him it was a brilliant idea and asked him to begin by doing research about existing online support systems in other parts of the world, start putting his ideas down on paper, and then share them with people who might be able to help turn his dream into reality. Jadudi is a man with a vision, on a mission, and we need him back well. May this new challenge just be another opportunity or gift in disguise.
For everyone who has family and friends who are struggling with cancer, you are not alone. May you be strengthened so you have all the endurance and patience you need. Remember that God is always on time.
“Faith is confidence in what we hope for, and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
(Please refer to ACF on twitter @AfriCF and Facebook for updates and feel free to send your messages of support directly to Jadudi on Twitter @Jadudi. I will share what I can on twitter via @ZawadiNyongo using #PrayForJadudi and or #Jadudi)