Mary Oluchi is a graduate of LASPOTECH. She was hit by a strange illness 6 years ago called Arties And Vein Malformation. Recently, the story of this beautiful lady called Oluchi Mary Oluchi caught the attention of everyone online. Her recent birthday became the talk of the town and people showed her much love online. One of the things that got us attracted to her was her spirit. When you check her page, it is either you see her dancing or modelling. Despite been an amputee, Mary has never shown any sign of sorrow. She is so full of life. One of her posts where she was playing with her husband also got us attracted to her Online and we decided to do some leg work on her after going through her profile and discovered that she just recovered from an ailment that left her amputee. We realised that this particular ailment started when she was just 19 and she nursed the pain for 5years before she finally got a solution. In the course of our investigation, we discovered that Mary is equally married and she’s living fine.
City People Assistant Editor/Head of City People Tv, SUNDAY ADIGUN hooked up with her to get her to share her story of how she survived this deadly disease called AVM that almost took her life. Excerpts.
How did it all start?
It started in late 2013. You know here in Nigeria we don’t really take things seriously until it gets out of hand like probably you have something that looks like a wound, we take self-medication instead of going to the hospital unless it became something serious. I started having something that looks like whitlow in my index finger on the right, hand. We started treating it as whitlow, but with time it wasn’t going and was giving us concern. It got to a time I had difficulties in lifting up my hand or bringing it down, that was when we now had to go to the hospital. And after a series of scan and test, the scan now showed that I had a malformation called Arties and Vein malformation. I’ve never heard of that in my life, and I’ve seen anybody that has it. We all know the likes of cancer and the rest. It’s something different and very rare. So that was the whole genesis of it. The very first I will hear of that was through a scan. They treated it like normal ailment and there was no improvement and we resulted to scan. It was even from the price of the scan that we got to know that something was really wrong.
Like how much was the scan?
180k. it’s a full vein scan. It was from that scan we knew that something is wrong and it’s not something small.
I saw the early stage pictures you posted. The first 2 fingers were burnt. How come?
Yes. At that stage, I’ve already had like 2 surgeries before it got to that level. They operated on it with the hope that they would be able to correct where the whole thing was faulty, rather, it got really worst and really serious. Been the fact that it has not been solved it started malfunctioning and started looking very bad because I was bleeding internally. So any part that the blood pour inside that part will start getting spoilt, that was why it was looking burnt at that stage.
What were the things going through your parents’ mind at that time?
Like I said, we are all Nigerians. At first, they took it with levity, and when the whole thing boomerang they taught it was an attack. They wanted us to probably go spiritual. People started saying a lot of things like maybe I shake somebody and cause the whole thing. There were different suggestions. Though my mum happens to be a very strong believer, but we just kept on believing in God and we were following Doctor’s instructions. Those times were really tough time. Off course, people don’t plan for sickness but this one was bigger than us, bigger than what we expected. As at that time, I now felt like I’m the devil of the house. My parent went bankrupt. My dad had to take loans and actually spent everything they had on me and I was more like suffering and smiling because you will hardly tell I was going through something like that. I don’t shake hands. I don’t get close to people. I’m always conscious. I don’t go to people’s house because I might start bleeding and the person will be scared.
At what stage did it now result in amputation?
After I’ve had multiple surgeries, I had 3 surgeries here in Nigeria, and then my first amputation took place. The doctor said since this half part of the first and index finger has been really bad, and there is no point keeping that part. They had to slice it into two, so I was having a half hand. Then we had to carry on the surgery on an emergency because I was really losing blood. Because one thing about arteries and veins malformation is that it has to do with blood, wrong connection with veins. It was basically veins. Most of the time I was losing blood, and they had to just carry on with the cutting of that part, with the hope that they’ve cut off where the problem is and I will be fine. It was when they cut off that part and still not making any sense, that was when the whole thing begins to choke me and I had to cry out. I went on Instagram, pour out my heart. Some people came and they were able to raise some amount of money for me to go to India. India on its own was another experience. I had to go there alone when they didn’t grant my parent a visa. India said they could sort it out without amputation. We did the whole processing and I went all alone. It was like hell for me, I had a terrible experience. You know here in Nigeria if you have that surgery you will see many people around you to help you. But there I had to cater for myself, do a lot of things for myself with one hand. I also had like 3 surgeries in India, because it’s a staged surgery, they don’t just do everything at once.
What were your bitter experiences in India?
Like my hand caught fire when I wanted to cook, they just did my surgery in 2 days and they wrapped it with this coiled thing that is flammable, I was trying to light the chain gas then my bound age just caught fire, my whole hand was on fire. Seriously India was not funny. My experience there was very though.
But were they able to rectify it?
We thought it has been rectified. It looks and I felt the problem was gone until like month later it came back with full force, more than how it was. The whole part that was closed started opening again and I started bleeding out again. I started managing maybe it will get better, thinking probably they’ve solved it and its just little complication.
How old were you when all these started?
I was 19 as at when the whole thing started.
What was the thought going through your mind at that time, going through such agony at a tender age?
I felt left out in so many things. Then I had a relationship, but he left me after my first amputation when I needed love most. He told me point blank that he doesn’t see himself marrying an amputee. That was the time I started opening up, I felt there was no need to hide it. Those times were tough. Lots of people neglected me. Things were not as they were when I was complete. There were so many lapses, there were so many people saying all sort of things. Nobody wanted to associate with me. I was facing a lot. I was really depressed. I wanted to commit suicide. At the time I will tell my mum to go outside, I will open the hand wanted to bleed to death.
How did you now get to the 2nd amputation?
When I came back to Nigeria and the whole thing started again, it got really worst that I was scared of my own life too; I thought I was going to die. I just said to myself to try complete amputation, if that is going to give me a lasting solution. So I went to Redington Hospital, the doctor was not around. I went to another hospital before they now refer me to the Military Hospital in Yaba. When I got to the hospital I specifically told the doctor I wanted an amputation, they were shocked to the bone marrow, that you been a young girl and wanted an amputation just like that. But when the Doctor opens it he just had to agree with me and the hand was amputated in January. Lo and behold it happened to be the best decision have made in my entire life, as the whole pain stopped.
I heard a week after the surgery you started dancing and was very active on Instagram, who counselled you?
I will tell you the truth. People do ask me what inspires or who inspired me. I will say nobody. It’s just that joy that comes within when you are relieved of a pain that intends to kill you. I felt this unexplainable joy. After the surgery, I just felt like one big stone was taking from me, so I didn’t even need any counselling. Though people were coming counselling me not to be worried, I will get married, I will be okay and all that, but I wasn’t bothered about all that, all I was happy for was I have my life back. I felt like I was given a second chance.
Now let’s talk about your love life, your husband?
I met my husband in my mum’s area. He said he has been seeing me, but I wasn’t concerned about any relationship but to regain my health. Then we got closed and one thing led to another.
And he wasn’t saying he doesn’t want to get married to an amputee?
He even agreed with me when I told him in 2018 that I wanted to go for complete amputation. He said he has been looking for a way to tell me because he doesn’t want to offend me but he felt that amputation would be the best option. So getting that response from him gingered me to go for it, though at a point I felt he would also leave but no, instead the love is waxing stronger.
What about his parent, was there any antagonism?
Seriously I was scared but I was shocked nobody kick against our relationship. Everybody accepted me. The love I got from them was overwhelming.
Now, let sum it up, looking at what you’ve been through in life even at this tender age, what has life taught you?
Life has taught me endurance, patient and still holding on to God. It wasn’t easy for me getting to this stage of peacefulness. The inner joy I feel now doesn’t even make me bother about my hand anymore. Life has taught me endurance. I had to endure lots of sleepless night because of the pain. I became a drug addict. But I give God all the glory for liberating me.