East or west, home is best. For 13-year old Pius Kurama, this saying made a lot of sense after his family, having gone to different countries trying to find remedy for his arm which progressively grew shorter from the age of three, found a solution right here in Kigali. At first, only one arm became stunted and then later, the other suffered the same fate as well.
This complication, which doctors diagnosed as Echondroma, is one of the most common hand tumors. Its cause is still remains a mystery.
Pius Kurama was first taken to Mulago Hospital in Uganda where the doctors told his parents that his arms were normal. Despite this positive diagnosis, his arms kept getting deformed.
He was then taken to Kibuli Hospital in Uganda and Kenya for a second opinion. Doctors there did a biopsy on his arm and recommended that he should be taken to India.
The narrator of this heartwarming tale is Pius himself, an intelligent and confident young man not averse to throwing medical lingo into the conversation.
“We went to India and nothing was done until I was taken to King Faisal Hospital,” he narrates.
Kurama recalls how some of his schoolmates would make fun of his because of his deformation. At one point he was stopped from playing football at school, one of his favorite sports due to the state of his arms. Luckily, after going for an x-ray, he was later permitted to play soccer.
According to Frank Mugabo, Kurama’s father, the family spent a lot of money trying to get help from other countries yet, as they discovered, the remedy was right here in Rwanda all along. For instance, they paid 1.8 million Ugandan Shillings for just one biopsy in one hospital.
“I was almost losing hope that we would never find remedy after visiting different hospitals and countries. I was afraid for my son’s condition and hated to see him with this deformation, which was continuously spreading while the cause remained unknown,” Kurama’s father said.
He had been taken to different countries including India (which is a referral country for most of the complicated surgical operations and treatment) but it was all futile until he was brought back to his very own home, Rwanda, and had the surgical operation from King Faisal Hospital.
The 13-year old got his breakthrough in January 2010 and March 2011 when he had two operations performed by Dr. Alex Butera at King Faisal Hospital. He is now in good shape with both his arms straight. “The children at school won’t make fun of me anymore,” he ecstatically said.
In his own words, people having the same complication shouldn’t think its witchcraft and shouldn’t be afraid to go for treatment.
Doctor Alex Butera, the Director of King Faisal, says that although the surgery was slightly complicated, it could be capably handled at the hospital.