Ovarian syndrome survivor offers helping hand to other women
A radiant smile is what attracts one to Anne Wanjiku ‘Ciku’ Waichigo. Only that smile conceals her troubled past.
She had a normal childhood but in 2009 was diagnosed with a hormonal condition known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
“I missed my periods so I went to the hospital, they did a few tests and the doctor found out I had PCOS,” she says.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is one of the leading causes of infertility among women. The condition is caused by an imbalance in the levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone in a woman. This leads to the growth of cysts in the ovaries.
He condition hit her hard when she got married and tried to get children just like any other couple starting life.
They made regular visits to the doctor with her husband Jackson Kamau, also known as DJ Soxxy.
“He was really supportive but I was stressed up. I was afraid to be ridiculed and so I kept my condition a secret. I only told my Mother and my husband.
The doctors put her under medication that consisted of hormonal injections that affected her emotionally.
“I would have severe headache every day and the meds affected my moods. Soxxy bore the brunt and was at the receiving end of my mood swings and headaches. I also developed high blood pressure.”
After two and a half years, the doctor gave up. She had two options: undergo surgery or in vitro fertilization (IVF). But neither of the two could work because she had developed high blood pressure and the process costs money which at the time they did not have.
Ciku gave up too and even wanted to try adopting a child but her husband kept the faith.
“I didn’t have any more energy to keep trying. But he had faith and kept telling me it’s only God who gives children. He never at one point looked distraught for not having a baby,” she adds.
Nine months later after she stopped taking the medication she got pregnant with her first child.
“I didn’t think I was pregnant. I thought I was unwell. I was fatigued and I booked a massage. The massage did not help. I went to the doctor and they did a pregnancy text which came out positive, I was in shock and so was Soxxy. He kept on asking me if the test was mine,” she asked.
“It was a miracle. I still have polycystic ovarian syndrome. I can’t say am infertile, because I have children now,” Ciku added
She is now a proud mother of two children, a boy and a girl.
“There was a time we thought we could never have children, crying in our house, now we have two making all the noise and playing,” she added.
After sharing her story, Ciku started receiving calls from other women who were going through what she went through.
She then decided to start a PCOS foundation so that women suffering from the syndrome would have a safe place to come and share their story.
“ I started walking with many women and with time the group kept on growing and the needs to have more medics coming onboard, having more information onboard started becoming very necessary and that’s why I went on and registered PCOS foundation of Kenya,” said Ciku.
She now hopes to expand from the 100 members reach to wider audience because she thinks more women are suffering in silence.
“I first want to find out how many women have PCOS because we dwell on research information from America and other parts of the world. We don’t know how many in Kenya cannot get children and they do not know what is affecting them. PCOS foundation will help in that, “added Ciku.
Tomorrow, October 6, 2019, she will hold her first free awareness session at the Memorial Park in Nairobi starting from 2.00 pm to
“We will have a fertility specialized who will take us through what is PCOS, we will pathologist from Lancet Kenya to make people understand the many tests people with PCOS undergo and a woman from New life children Home,” she added
New life Children Home is in the picture to make people understand the process of adoption in case one cannot give birth.
A nutritionist will also be available because people with PCOS need to know how to manage their diet because it is a lifestyle issue.