Thoracic endometriosis, or the presence of endometriosis in or around the lung, is a rare but extreme expression of the disease, and as The Blossom recently reported, a case can require multiple specialists to be called in to help treat a patient.
For Kenyan-born TV and radio personality Njambi Koikai, 32, that nightmare became a reality when, after enduring painful periods for 18 years, she suffered a lung collapse during her menstrual cycle three years ago.“My very able gynecologist at home took me through it and made me understand what this meant," Koikai tells The Blossom. "He later advised me to seek specialized treatment.” To date she's suffered from 12 lung collapses.
Koikai, (above, pre-hospitalization) strikes a regal pose. “What keeps me positive is God, my mom, and my sister,” she tells The Blossom.
That specialized treatment would require her to journey 8,000 miles to America, to visit endometriosis specialists in Georgia. Soon enough, Koikai would learn her condition was even direr than she originally thought. Her full diagnosis was Stage IV Endometriosis, catamenial pneumothorax with diaphragmatic endometriosis, sigmoid and rectovaginal endometriosis, and abnormal appendix.
America has been great even though we've been bound to hospital walls. I flew in here wih my family and God. I keep believing every single day, that i am a miracle child. A miracle child who the devil has tried time and again to snatch from God. So after that long major and excruciating surgery, there was no sleeping. Like right after recovery room, physically therapy started. Can you imagine walking immediately after surgery? Crazy right? I won't even start on the pain. Then i have what they call a paediatric back, so fixing in an epidural was pain that i cannot again explain. I've never been numbed by pain. This pain numbed me. Anyway i have 3 amazing surgeons who have worked on me so far. Right after the major surgery, i was notified that more fluid was found hiding in my ribs..and i asked what that means. Doc was like we need to insert two other tubes to drain out all the fluid. Friends at this point i told God haki surely have mercy on me. This endometriosis thing cannot ravage me like this. Then God reminded me who He is. That He is King. I was wheeled into radiology yesterday and got two chest tubes added, i didn't even realise it by the time they were done. God reminded me that this road won't be easy. Infact it's bound to be the hardest because relief is near. It is bound to be the hardest because healing is here. It is bound to be the hardest because the strongest women alive have fought crazy battles and won. My mom and sis have stood by me and I'm here to show both of them and the world that we can beat endometriosis. I'm here to stand in strength for every other little girl in high school fainting due to this thing. I'm here to remind that career woman whose dreams are on hold that they too can have their life back. I'm this little girl ready to engage with my government leaders and women leaders to fund more research on this condition. I'm still in hospital and still fundraising. Paybill Number is 490681 Account Name is Jahmby Koikai Fund Mpesa is 0721543239 Mary Njambi My CashApp is: Patricia Taylor Phone number: 848-250-2704 Handle: $Kerubo19 On the For section: put “NJAMBI ENDO FUND P.s. you can now call me purple blanket Jahmby???? Jahmbyarmy
The entertainer recently underwent excision of endometriosis in her pelvic, bowel, right lung and diaphragm at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, GA where an endometriosis specialist and a cardiothoracic surgeon excised endo from Koikai's diaphragm and lungs. “I chose to come to America because these two doctors have experience with this disease and understand it's complexity.”
Thankfully, Koikai is recovering from those extensive procedures and says life is already dramatically different. “I am recovering well. I'm breathing well without any complications. This was a major surgery as I developed complications due to previous surgeries from back home that left damage in my right lung and that was fixed here.” However, the surgical procedures and subsequent therapy, while seemingly successful, have now left the deejay with a $75,000 hospital bill. “I started a fundraiser back at home because I have no insurance in order to meet the costs. Unfortunately, after I was admitted, I developed complications," she adds. "I'm still fundraising, and any assistance is highly appreciated.”
Koikai says she yearns for the day she can return to her home to her loved ones. "I'll be home after therapy depending on how fast my body responds to that. Our Kenyan people also keep [me] so positive and keep encouraging me because they have continuously supported me in this fight."
With the worst of her endometriosis hopefully behind her, Koikai wants to be a beacon of hope for other endo women. “I would like people to know that endometriosis robs women of their livelihoods, careers, relationships, self-esteem, fertility and their will to live because of the pain — but there is hope. We can overcome it, and we should be steadfast in fighting for a cure."
Editor's note: Njambi Koikai started a GoFundMe to help pay for her mounting medical bills. If you would like to donate, you can do so here.