AFTER suffering a mini stroke last year, 29-year-old Tomasi Taurawale has learnt his lesson and that is to take his medication for rheumatic heart disease daily.
The farmer from Nacuru in Noco, Rewa, was diagnosed with RHD when he was in Year 12.
Moments before sitting for his external examinations, he was admitted into the CWM Hospital for a severe headache, a sore throat and chest pains. His RHD was at such a critical stage that he remained admitted for six months.
"My only option was surgery, a valve replacement. Medication the doctors gave me was enough to sustain me but my leaky heart was giving up," Mr Taurawale recalled.
"In 2004, I underwent surgery thanks to a visiting international team. Last year, I was admitted again because I had suffered a mini stroke."
He said he was to blame for this lapse because he was not consistent in taking his required daily medication.
Mr Taurawale had opted for daily tablets instead of a once-a-month injection.
"The mini stroke was a huge lesson for me. I knew I had to shape up or ship out. My only chance of living a longer life rested with me.
"Now, I make sure I take the tablets. I take two types of tablets twice every day, one type in the morning and the other in the evening. And I have to make sure I take these at the same time every day."
Mr Taurawale says living with RHD is not easy but it is manageable with medication.
"To all those RHD patients out there, please do not take the doctor's orders lightly. Medicine is there to help you, to ensure that you are safe from other risks like mini strokes.
"Don't resort to traditional medicines because there is no guarantee that that will help you. The doctors know what they are doing and they can help you."