Stepping forward after surgery

Thankful: Chitrawathy at home recuperating from her surgery. Alongside her is Ho.

JOHOR BARU: After being forced to put her life on hold for more than 20 years due to an illness, K. Chitrawathy can now move forward as she has finally received the treatment she needed.

The 43-year-old former quality inspector for a clothes factory, who was diagnosed with lymphoedema two decades ago, said she felt a huge burden lifted off her when she finally underwent a surgery in June.“The surgery caused me to shed about 80kg off my swollen left leg,” she said.

Lymphoedema is the swelling of a body part due to the build-up of lymph fluid.

Chitrawathy said she did not know the cause of her illness, adding however that she did not have other underlying health issues.

She was hospitalised for almost two months at Universiti Malaya Medical Centre after the surgery.

She is still recuperating and has not regained the full strength of her left foot.

Chitrawathy is unsure if she could walk as normal again, but she said she was ready to go on with her plans in life.

“I want to continue my studies in business management after this and get a job in a relevant field.

“As I was not able to work for more than two decades due to the disease, I have tried selling clothes online with the help of friends and family. I do not earn much from it but I get to learn a lot,” said Chitrawathy, who is single and lives with her father.

She was also thankful to those who have funded her medical treatment as well as her travel expenses throughout her treatment and recovery period.

“I would not have been able to have the operation without the help of the public, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

“Some people have also reached out to me through social media when they found out about my case and gave money to help me out.

“I will be forever grateful to those who have reached out,” she said, adding that she is working on thanking them via videos.

Among the NGOs that have been collecting funds for Chitrawathy’s surgery and recovery was Yayasan Suria Johor.

Its founder James Ho said that they collected RM30,000 for Chitrawathy’s post-operation expenses and had handed it over to her on Saturday.

“She has never given up on life despite the situation and that is both inspiring and heart-warming,” Ho said, adding that he hoped she would lead a better life after recovering from the surgery.

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