An amazing transformation
Our medical team, although used to see all kind of large tumors, knew this was not just another patient. In short time, the whole crew was aware that something special was just happening - an historic encounter !
Sambany is 60. Around 35 years ago, a tumor on his jaw began to consume his life until it became a burden the size of two heads. This tumor also became a burden of his heart, as many people and family members rejected him. Harsh words were flung at him: „Why are you still alive? No one can help!“
Eventually, Sambany became so weak that he couldn’t do anything apart from lying down. His life became a monotonous cycle of waking, sleeping eating and lost completely meaning. About one year ago, he started to wait for his time to come : „I was waiting to die. I could not do anything. Every day, I was just waiting to die.“
But, Sambany did not die. It was an announcement he heard on the radio about the arrival of our hospital ship in Madagascar that saved him.
It was a journey that only a desperate man would attempt. The closest road was very far away, the ship was hundreds of kilometers away and Sambany already struggled to walk around his house.
To make it from his village to the ship, Sambany had to be carried on the backs of six people for two days through the bush, until they reached a paved road. Then a 4-hour ride in a packed taxi drove him to the port of Tamatave. Eventually Sambany arrived at the foot of our gangway.
Due to the size of the tumor and multiple health concerns, our medical team was uncertain if they could offer him a surgery. It took nearly two weeks of tests, careful discussion, much deliberation over the risks and planning before Dr Gary Parker gave the green light. But the final choice belonged to Sambany: „I know without surgery I will die. I know I might die during surgery, but I already feel dead inside from the way I'm treated...“ And his decision was clear: „I choose to have surgery.“
On February 3rd, after 12 hours of surgery, the 7.46 kg burden was finally removed. During the operation, he lost over twice of his body’s volume of blood and seventeen crew members were needed to provide their precious A+ blood to keep him alive.
Around 23:30, he woke up and discovered his new face, incredulous. „When I have recovered, I want to repay you all. God saved me. I am well. I am free from my disease. I’ve got a new face.“
And now, for the first time in nearly two decades, Sambany can hold his head high. And people will no longer see, with contempt, fear or disgust, the tumor - they will simply see Sambany.