Thoughts of her children keep Ms Katinka Steyn clinging to life and the hope that she will be healed.
Ms Steyn’s body is wasting away while doctors at the Eugene Marais Hospital in Pretoria are trying to build up her strength enough for another operation.
She barely weighs 38kg now. She needs to gain at least 7kg before they will take the chance to wheel her back into theatre.
It has hardly been six months since Ms Steyn suddenly fell ill.
She spent days in the intensive care unit of the Mediclinic Highveld in Trichardt.
Since then, this 40-year-old mother of two has been in and out of hospital due to complications. Food does not seem to pass through to her stomach.
“Katinka will take a bite or two and then the food will just come out,” explained her very concerned husband, Manie.
He recalls her health taking a knock a few years ago when she developed a “strange” condition to her left leg.
According to him it looked like a small hole would appear in the flesh.
This condition also steadily worsened.
Ms Steyn was initially diagnosed with lymphedema, but was eventually told that she has cellulitis, a bacterial infection under the skin.
The cellulitis reached a new painful peak since Ms Steyn’s time in ICU in December.
The infection ate away at the flesh on her upper left leg to such an extent that she needed a skin graph in April.
“We have hardly ever been apart. It is really tough not being able to be there for Katinka. The Covid-19 restrictions prohibit the kids and I from visiting her in hospital.”
The Steyns were also childless for many years before Marinda (8) was eventually conceived. Little Manie junior (Boeta) is five years old.
Ms Steyn was emotional as she spoke over the telephone with Ridge Times on Sunday night.
“I miss my people, my husband and my children. I wanted for so long to be a mommy and now I cannot even be with them. It breaks my heart,” she sobbed.
She said some days are worse than others – each marked with pain.
“I had been so worried and focused on my leg, I did not realise that I had trouble brewing in my stomach.”
“It actually hurts being so thin. My body aches when I lie down,” explained Ms Steyn.
“I will never again talk of diets and being too fat! Even if I become as round as a soccer ball, I will be thankful to be alive,” she said.
Ms Steyn thanked God for strengthening her faith and being with her through this ordeal.
“I want to thank everyone who is praying for me. Please don’t stop.”
The Steyns are also worried about the medical bills that are piling up.
Mr Steyn is a plumbing foreman at a construction company and does extra jobs after hours to earn more money. Ms Steyn is a control room supervisor at Roman Alarms and is thankful for all the support she receives from her employer.
“We have a very basic medical aid and that is why Katinka is currently in Eugene Marais Hospital which is covered by our medical aid. But the bills are escalating,” explained Mr Steyn.
A quick calculation of outstanding bills on Saturday amounted to about R20 000.
Anyone who is willing to help the family can contact Mr Steyn at 082 492 9608.