Popular Kenyan YouTuber Chantelle Petit recently took to social media to mark World Fistula Day with an appreciation post to everyone who helped her through her journey with the condition. Looking back at her difficult days, the mother of one explained how hard life was after delivering her daughter.
“Today is World Fistula Day. A year ago I wouldn’t have been able to sit on this spot and pose for a picture. The fact that I’m able to now makes me super emotional. I don’t even know what to say but I pray we will one day live in a world where the stigma associated with fistula is no more,” she wrote.
Not only did Chantelle advocate for a stigma-free fistula society, but also encouraged women living with the condition.
“I salute all the warrior queens who have survived it and a special thanks to God and my gynaecologist Dr Khisa who made a small thing as sitting to pose for a photo possible,” she added.
Diagnosed with fistula
During her delivery, an episiotomy was performed on Chantelle to make more way for her unborn child’s safe passage. According to Chantelle, she was in the delivery room for hours trying to push her child out and when she eventually came, she was told she had a third-degree tear and needed to undergo surgery.
“I was forced to walk the day after surgery to avoid blood clots without support. I couldn't feel my thighs but there was a sharp pain.”
Now in even more pain, Chantelle says she complained to one of the nurses who assured her that everything was fine and that she only needed to clean the wound well which, unfortunately, turned out not to be the case.
“One day as I was in my room during lunch, I went to pee. When I removed my panties, I found grains and lumps on my pad. I thought it was normal but my gut told me I had to ask. Luckily I bumped into the nurse who delivered my baby on the way back.
“Turns out the grains and lumps were poop. I had poop coming out of my vagina. I didn't understand how this was possible. I was confused, sad, shocked and in denial. Felt like I was going nuts.”
It is then that Chantelle was diagnosed with Recto-Vaginal Fistula (RVF); which is when the vagina and rectum connect through one tract allowing gas and poop to pass through. According to Chantelle, this was as a result of the backfired corrective surgery she underwent to stitch up the tear.
“My tear went all the way from my sphincter to the inside of my (vagina). My perineum was damaged as well.”
After seeking different opinions from various doctors, she underwent a third and fourth surgery that helped correct her condition.