Meet another patient

Watsi logo blueWatsi

Success! Velonica from Malawi raised $1,015 to fund thyroid surgery.

Velonica
100%
  • $1,015 raised, $0 to go
$1,015
raised
$0
to go
Fully funded
Velonica's treatment was fully funded on February 16, 2022.

Photo of Velonica post-operation

March 11, 2022

Velonica underwent thyroid surgery.

Velonica’s thyroid surgery was a success! After surgery, she remained in the hospital for two days for observation before being discharged with good health. Now that the goiter is removed, Velonica said she will no longer have low self-esteem due to her appearance and will be able to concentrate on her household chores to support her husband.

Velonica’s sister in-law was her main guardian in the hospital and was incredibly grateful that Velonica’s surgery went well, and that her brother will now be able to rest knowing his wife and mother of his children is in good health. Velonica will now be able to live out a hopefully very happy life without pain and consistent discomfort.

Velonica was excited by finishing her treatment, saying: “Thank you very much, now I will be able to do my household chores and I will not be despised in the eyes of my inlaws. Glory be to God.”

Velonica's thyroid surgery was a success! After surgery, she remained in the hospital for two days for observation before being discharged w...

Read more
December 29, 2021

Velonica is a 43-year-old woman and a mother of three living children. She shared that she lost a set of twins just a few days after birth some 15 years ago but still holds fond memories of her lovely tiny twins. Her children are aged between 25 and 8 years old and they are all in school. The oldest daughter is at a teachers’ training college and the youngest in 4th grade in primary school.

Velonica lives with her children and husband in Dowa about 40 kilometers away from the city of Lilongwe in Malawi. She and her husband are subsistent farmers, although they usually don’t have enough food for the year and they seek support from her husband’s relatives that live in the same village.

In 2013, Velonica developed a swelling on her neck. She visited different hospitals and finally was referred to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) where a diagnosis of goiter was made. A partial thyroidectomy was done at the facility in 2014. However, in 2019 her neck swelling resurfaced again. She started feeling pain, having sleepless nights, difficulties in swallowing, feeling neck tightness, and headaches. She reported again to Kamuzu Central Hospital and a rescan was recommended but unfortunately, it was not done at the time.

While seeking alternatives, Velonica came to Partners in Hope Medical Center. She was seen by a surgeon who, after laboratory tests and a scan, concluded that her goiter has recurred. He recommended surgery to remove the enlarged thyroid gland in a procedure called a total thyroidectomy.

Velonica is currently unable to help her husband on the farm and has challenges in performing daily duties. She is unable to lift water on her head or to carry other heavy loads. Velonica feels the condition is interfering with her life and is looking forward to living her normal life again soon.

Velonica said, “I live at my husband’s village among my in-laws and it has been about 2 years now of failing to do the things that every woman does, this is threatening my marriage and makes me feel bad. I hope this operation will bring an end to all this and I will be able to do my household chores again.”

Velonica is a 43-year-old woman and a mother of three living children. She shared that she lost a set of twins just a few days after birth s...

Read more

Velonica's Timeline

  • December 29, 2021
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

    Velonica was submitted by Edward Mugane, Impact Assessment Coordinator at African Mission Healthcare.

  • December 29, 2021
    PROFILE PUBLISHED

    Velonica's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • January 5, 2022
    TREATMENT OCCURRED

    Velonica received treatment at Partners in Hope Medical Center in Malawi. Medical partners often provide care to patients accepted by Watsi before those patients are fully funded, operating under the guarantee that the cost of care will be paid for by donors.

  • February 16, 2022
    FULLY FUNDED

    Velonica's treatment was fully funded.

  • March 11, 2022
    TREATMENT UPDATE

    Velonica's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 27 donors

Treatment
Thyroidectomy
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,015 for Velonica's treatment
Hospital Fees
$289
Medical Staff
$383
Medication
$63
Supplies
$57
Labs
$128
Other
$95
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

​What kinds of symptoms do patients experience before receiving treatment?

Patients in need of a thyroidectomy often present with a small thyroid growth (nodule or cyst), a thyroid gland that is so overactive it is dangerous (thyrotoxicosis), cancer of the thyroid, noncancerous (benign) tumors of the thyroid that are causing symptoms, or thyroid swelling (nontoxic goiter) that makes it hard to breathe or swallow. Patients in need of thyroid surgery often present with nervousness, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, hand tremor, excessive sweating, weight loss, and sleep problems, among other symptoms.

​What is the impact on patients’ lives of living with these conditions?

The thyroid gland is an organ located in the front of your neck that releases hormones that control your metabolism (the way your body uses energy), breathing, heart rate, nervous system, weight, body temperature, and many other functions in the body. When the thyroid gland is overactive (hyperthyroidism) the body’s processes speed up and you may experience nervousness, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, hand tremor, excessive sweating, weight loss, and sleep problems, among other symptoms.

What cultural or regional factors affect the treatment of these conditions?

Thyroid disorders are relatively common in the African continent. Iodine deficiency, although still the commonly documented cause of thyroid disorders in Africa, is not as rampant as it used to be. There is a compelling need to set up thyroid disorder registries in order to determine not only the scope of the burden of these disorders, but also to document changing trends, if any, especially given the background of widespread iodization programs. Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine cancer, and its incidence has continuously increased in the last three decades all over the world. This trend is present on every continent except Africa, where detection is possibly insufficient.

  • Process
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Risks and side-effects
  • Accessibility
  • Alternatives

What does the treatment process look like?

Thyroid surgery takes approximately 3-8 hours depending on the patient. Patients will stay in the hospital for a maximum of 6-8 weeks or as needed for recovery. A patient will usually have one follow-up appointment in six weeks.

What is the impact of this treatment on the patient’s life?

In cases involving thyroid cancer, the surgery is the patient’s best chance of preventing the spread of cancer and saving the patient’s life. For hyperthyroidism, the treatment helps stabilize the hormones that regulate metabolism and effectively treat some of the symptoms that the patient presents with such as rapid heartbeat, anxiety etc.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

Thyroid surgery is often 90% curative if diagnosis happens early. For benign tumors and hyperthyroidism, the surgery is more than 90% curative. The surgery comes with few risks.

How accessible is treatment in the area? What is the typical journey like for a patient to receive care?

There are few quality care centers in the region. Hospitals lack adequate resources and expertise to treat this condition.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

Radiotherapy and medication alternatives are not easily accessible in the country. Also, the cost of treating with radiotherapy and medication is higher than that of surgery.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.