Single mom seeks help to complete brain operation
Saidian Townsend had her dreams of a relaxing vacation dashed when she suddenly began feeling ill just days after landing in Trinidad and Tobago in 2019.
With the illness persisting and experiencing excruciating head pains and signs of having a seizure, her holiday was abruptly cut short as Townsend was rushed to a hospital, where she was admitted for a week.
“I just went to my bed and took sick, and I wake the morning and is unbearable pain,” she told The Gleaner of the frightening experience.
She was later diagnosed with a frontal lobe tumour in the right side of the brain and was instructed to have surgery done immediately to remove it.
“Couple days me cah walk ... . Because the tumour on the right, it weaken the left, and so I couldn’t walk and couldn’t use the left hand either,” Townsend recalled, and even to this day, her left arm is not fully functional.
Townsend had to hop on the next available flight to Jamaica and went under the knife at the University Hospital of the West Indies, removing the tumour and a segment of her brain plate, which was also infected.
A frontoparietal tumour can trigger behavioural and emotional abnormalities as well as impair judgement, cause loss of smell and vision, and cause paralysis on one side of the body.
Almost two years later, Townsend is still unable to complete the second stage of her operation, which will see surgeons installing a cranial plate.
The operation was initially scheduled for December 2020 but has been delayed due to financial constraints and a debt of more than $1.2 million to the hospital.
She has been advised by doctors to avoid any falls or other head trauma as this could result in her death as her brain is only covered by a titanium screen mesh panel and the skin on her head.
Townsend said that the cause of the tumour still remains unknown, but she has also been advised to stay away from red meat and pork, admitting that this has helped to some degree.
Unemployed since 2019, she has been completely reliant on her mother for her care, and the financial toll has been heavy.
She is asking Jamaicans for help pay her debt so that she may proceed with the next step of her surgery.
“It rough, mi a tell you. You don’t see a soul when your back against the wall. The only person you see is God,” she said.
Nonetheless, Townsend remains grateful as the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre assisted her when she first had surgery in August 2020, a little later than she was expected to due to the COVID-19 outbreak and a lack of space to accommodate her.
“When a first went there, I couldn’t walk,” she said.
Over time, she made steady progress, moving from a wheelchair to a walking stick. Now, she is again able to walk unaided.
Still hopeful for a full recovery, Townsend is praying that God will help her to get back her footing so that she can work to better assist her family.
With a 17-year-old daughter in sixth form, she is worried that she will be unable to make ends meet.
There has also been a mental toll on her and her family as she sees the tears in her daughter’s eyes.
“Sometime she cry, so weh me try fi do as me wah cry, me go outside go cry,” said Townsend of the heartbreak her condition has caused.
Saidian Townsend can be reached at 876-448-7738.
Donations can also be made to her using the following details:
Bank Name: National Commercial Bank
Branch: St Jago Plaza
Name: Lolita Townsend
Account Number: 474420779
Account Type: Savings