• Nahum Nditi lost her mother and son to cancer in two months.
• Her mother’s body is still detained at the Kenyatta National Hospital because she has been unable to pay a Sh1.22 million bill.
“I am sick in the body and heart, deadly combo,” Nahum Nditi said as she welcomed the Star to her house in Umoja 1, Nairobi on Monday.
The sickness in her body is the severe stomach peptic ulcers she has suffered from for almost five years. The condition worsened this year and has left her weaker, but Nditi says she is unable to pay for treatment.
In Nditi's heart, the loss last year of her stepson Kelvin Mwangi and mother Lesi Musyoki are still raw. Her mother’s body is still detained at the Kenyatta National Hospital because she has been unable to pay a Sh1.22 million bill.
As the 27-year-old lies on her grey sofa, one can see the effort she takes to keep talking, the pain she has to endure.
She can be reached on the phone—0795146525.
“The irony of welcoming you is that the caretaker this morning told me that he was waiting for me to step out of the house so he can lock it because of four months’ rent arrears,” she said.
Barely 15 minutes into the interview, a large damp patch had formed on her dark blue T-shirt. She pulled her sweater over it and continued talking, almost in a murmur.
“The dressing won’t stop the wound from leaking. It must be badly eaten up from inside,” she remarked, lifting her clothes slightly to show us the dressing.
Thick strips of bandage cover her stomach. Nditi showed us graphic pictures of the wound stretching down to her navel before it was dressed.
“I can eat, a few select dishes but I prefer not to. The pain that comes with eating is not worth the effort,” she said.
“My prayer before I eat anything, which is almost always pawpaw, is that I don’t vomit. The pain in my stomach as I vomit is excruciating.”
Nditi’s painful journey started in 2016 after she was diagnosed with ulcers. She was in and out of hospital, prompting her mother, Musyoki, to move in with her and her two sons.
However, in 2018, in what started as a headache, her mother was diagnosed with brain cancer. A tumour in her head had grown so big it needed urgent surgery.
“I had spent all my savings treating my mother for misdiagnoses and other conditions that came as a result of the tumour,” Nditi said.
Musyoki had been admitted to Kathiani Level 4 Hospital in Machakos, where she stayed for a month being treated for high blood pressure.
Her condition deteriorated as did Nditi’s account balance until a CT scan revealed that she had a tumour that was later discovered to be cancerous.
“She had glioblastoma and needed urgent surgery before the tumour could advance and spread to other parts of her body,” Nditi explained.
Unable to secure admission to KNH general wards after two months of waiting, Nditi decided to take her mother to the private wing in the same facility.
“I had been dismissed from work for regular absenteeism and all my savings were exhausted. Through a fundraiser, I managed to secure some cash for her admission,” she said.
But her father declined to sign consent for her mother’s surgery and insisted on alternative treatments.
“Counselling could not help. We counted days, weeks and months hoping for a miracle, but it never happened,” she said tearfully.
While nursing her mother whose condition was worsening, Nditi’s adopted son, Mwangi, fell ill.
Mwangi was diagnosed with blood cancer. He bled from the mouth, nose, eyes and ears and was admitted to KNH too.
“I was juggling between two wards managing my mother and son. Well-wishers donated blood, but he lost all of it through bleeding,” she told the Star.
Unable to find a solution, Nditi resorted to singing to her son as she tended to his bleeding with towels.
“‘Mum sing for me,’ he would say when in extreme pain and as I watched the first drop fall on the towel on his eyes until it was fully soaked, I helplessly sang his favourite tune, Florence Andenyi’s Kibali,” Nditi said.
The 13-year-old Standard 8 pupil eventually succumbed to leukaemia on November 24 last year and was buried at their home in Machakos.
Six weeks later, Nditi’s mother died too at KNH and the body was detained. The mother of two said, her two elder siblings do not have a job and have been depending on her for most issues.
“If I cannot raise Sh18,000 needed for the oesophago-gastro-duodenoscopy procedure to determine treatment for my stomach ulcers, how can I manage that bill?” she asked.
Nditi hopes to get help and have her life back.
But every day she feels better, she spends at the KNH private ward begging for absolute mercy or a waiver to lay her mother’s body to rest.
"Laying my mother to rest will give me peace. I appeal to anyone who can to help," she said.