Nollywood Actress, Kemi Afolabi, sits with Chude Jideonwo, host of #WithChude and founder of Joy, Inc. to discuss her diagnosis, loss, and the impact of a deadly disease on her family and career.
Sharing about the initial stages of the sickness and diagnosis, she said, “For my first three months at LUTH, I didn’t know what the problem was. We had run a whole lot of tests. Different doctors kept coming, they will ask me questions and I will communicate with them through writing. One of the doctors finally came and he was able to tell me the kind of test I will run. The test was done in South Africa, and it took like two weeks to get the result.”
“I knew something was wrong because I had 11-15 doctors when they wanted to tell me what was wrong. I even thought it was something worse than what it worse because I’m an actor, so I can actually tell the reactions on the doctors faces. Eventually, they were asking me questions like do I still want more babies, I said ‘Yes I do’. They told me that there is risk in doing that because with what they are about to tell me I will need to stay away from a lot of things, that my life has changed forever,” she added.
She eventually got her diagnosis, one that, according to her, has changed her life forever. She said, “I was told I had that I had ‘Lupus’, which is not curable. Lupus is a disease whereby the vital organs in the body are being attacked by the tissues in the body. It is like what is supposed to be working for you, now working against you. At this point I broke down, I even stopped using my medications. When I was even told that I had to avoid lighting, and that is what pays my bill as an actress, my life just changed forever.”
She also shared the impact of the ailment on her relationship with her family, and the kind of support she has received from them throughout this period. “At some point, I was feeling like I couldn’t breathe properly. So, I said, let my daughter come and see me in this position. Even if I am going to die, I need to see my daughter. So, they brought her, and she broke down. To my surprise, after a week of crying all of sudden, she became mature, and she started asking how she can help with my medication. I had this feeling that, even if I am going to die eventually, the moment I have left I need to be there for her.”
She added, “My mother was overstressed, she was going in and out of the hospital with me. The burden was so much because we couldn’t share with a lot of people what was going on. So she was carrying it alone. God bless her for me.”