Katlego: My Story Could Be Someone’s Survival Kit

Fast Five Facts about Katlego
Favorite 🎵 that puts you in a good mood? Janelle Monae- I like that
Favorite motivational quote? “I enjoy when things are happening. I don’t care if its good things
or bad things. That means you’re alive”- Joan Rivers
Favorite 🍩🍪? Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream for the win (Birthday Cake Flavour)
 Female role model? The oh so fabulous, Simphiwe Ngema
If you could go to any country in the world, where would you go? Definitely, the breathtaking
Greece 🌴

Six weeks after a positive pregnancy, an ectopic pregnancy was confirmed, ruptured, clotted and surgically removed along with my left ovary and fallopian tube. The operation was done via a Laparoscopic salpingectomy which is a less-invasive procedure, the surgeon makes 1-3 small incisions in the lower abdomen. 2-3 days after the operation, I returned to the hospital after not making progress with recovery and it had been discovered that a Hematoma (Hematoma is generally defined as a collection of blood outside of blood vessels. Most commonly, hematomas are caused by an injury to the wall of a blood vessel, prompting blood to seep out of the blood vessel into the surrounding tissues.) had formed where my ovary had been removed. The hematoma had to be surgically removed and it left behind a ‘C-Section Scar’. With my first operation, I got 3 bags of blood transfusions and with the second op, I had one. Post both Ops recovery has gone well however, I was informed that falling pregnant in the future might or might not be a challenge.

This is the story of Katlego, who recently had an ectopic pregnancy. I came across her story on Facebook, where she had a poster encouraging people to join and share her group for women who've had ectopic pregnancies. I was both in awe and impressed that she had gone through this tragic occurrence in her life and yet she somehow found the strength to try and help other women.

A pregnancy in which the fertilised egg implants outside the uterus. The fertilised egg can't survive outside the uterus. If left to grow, it may damage nearby organs and cause life-threatening loss of blood. Symptoms include pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding. To prevent complications, treatment is required. In the early stages, medication may be sufficient. Later stages require surgery.

I asked her if she had known prior to her own diagnosis, what an ectopic pregnancy is and she said: "No, I did not. It was a foreign word to me." Like many other women, I too was clueless. Despite this, I still reached out to hear Katlego's story and then proceeded to do some research on my own. We had a Q&A so if you'd like to find out more about her experience read further below. 

How did your family react to the news? And your partner? 

"My family and partner at the time were supportive. It was an emotionally daunting roller coaster ride but everyone was present to hold my hand. I think my parents should write a survival guide as to how they were able to see me go through so much because I do not imagine it was an easy journey. There were times my mom would have to bathe me because I would not be able to do such a simple task myself. God bless them, really."

Do you think more needs to be done to educate females (more so black females) about vaginal /
fertility health? 

Definitely! It is so sad how females are deemed as ‘less woman’ if she is unable to
conceive but as black women, we are not educated enough about the things that could go wrong with
our reproductive system. Seeing a gynae needs to become the norm. Not only when we are pregnant but
regular checks up so we are aware of our health.

What is your message to young females globally who have either gone through an ectopic pregnancy or are in the process of trying for a baby and are scared they might have an ectopic pregnancy? 

Sigh! I firstly suggest that women, who are on contraceptives, make sure that they are on the right type for their bodies because I have heard of too many horror stories on how some contraceptives form ovarian cysts (This happened to me and someone I know closely). But I also recommend that women go see a gynecologist at least twice a year to make sure they are in the green light should they want to conceive. I would like to add that it took seeing about 3-4 different Dr’s before my pregnancy was noticed to be ectopic which I found alarming so I hope women will be able to find the best medical attention and avoid my experience. For women who have gone through an ectopic pregnancy, it is an emotionally taxing experience and I highly urge women to join support groups like the one I have started(MSCBSSK- My Story Could Be Someone’s Survival Kit) or seek any form of mental help. It is not an easy journey to walk alone.

It's apparent that not only do we lack knowledge about our reproductive organs as black South African women, we might also be unknowingly using contraceptives that may harm us a few months/years down the line. More needs to be done in educating women of colour (and all women) about their vaginal health and normal GP's should encourage and normalise visits to the gynae.

Change starts with you. Advise your friends to get their vagina along with their reproductive organs checked - out (if they can afford to). If you know of anyone who has had an ectopic pregnancy and would benefit from receiving support from other women whhave to, please join Katlegos group by sending her a Whatsapp to this number: 082 7090 254

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