Phyu is a 17-year-old who lives with her parents, husband, and two brothers on the Thai-Burma border. Her father and husband work as day labourers, while her mother looks after her two younger brothers. Phyu used to help on small jobs too, but stopped six months ago when she first felt unwell.
Beginning last October, Phyu felt tired, experienced chest tightness, and oedema in both her legs. A few days later, she went to a clinic and was told that she has a problem with her heart. She received medication and a follow-up appointment for the following week. Although she took the medication regularly, she did not feel any better. When she went back to the clinic, it was closed due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in their area. While she waited for the clinic to reopen, the swelling in her legs worsened and she also had difficulty breathing. Eventually, her employer drove her to Phop Phra Hospital, where she was admitted and given oxygen.
The doctor at the hospital referred her to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) the next day where she received a number of diagnostic tests. The doctor told her that she has a heart condition and diagnosed her with aortic valve regurgitation. The medical team shared that she needed to undergo surgery and told her to travel to Chiang Mai where they can provide the care she needs. Worried about how her family would afford the surgery, once Phyu arrived at the clinic, a medic referred her to our medical partner Burma Children Medical Fund for assistance accessing the treatment she needs.
Currently, Phyu feels tired if she walks far or when she has to do anything strenuous such as carrying water or cleaning her house. If she sleeps on her back, she has difficulty breathing. Although she still has oedema in her legs, the swelling has gone down since she started taking medication from MSH.
“When I recover from surgery, I want to work to help increase my family’s income so that we can pay back our debt. I also want to support my brother who is attending a teacher training college in Burma. He is a second-year student now,” said Phyu with new hope for her future.