By Esther Mary Esawe EHJ
A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5: 24-34).
here are many complications that occur as women grow and develop as they go through life. Some of these include ovarian cyst, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome,interstitial cystitis, gynecologic cancer etc. symptoms commonly associated with these conditions is excessive bleeding (hemorrhage) which could lead to anemia. Menometrorrhagia, defined as excessive and prolonged uterine bleeding occurring at irregular and/or frequent intervals, between periods or that is not associated with menstruation occurs in up to 24% of women aged 40-50 years. This may be the age bracket of the woman in the gospel with the issue of blood
The woman with the issue of blood in the gospel we were told suffered terribly from severe bleeding for so many years up to twelve years and spent all her money on treatment. She has gone to so many medical centers of her time seeking attention and treatment of her condition. To have spent money means she was able to get the treatment of the best professional gynecologist of her time but instead of getting better she got worse all the time. What a frustration and deep distress she went through. Nothing is said about the real cause of her bleeding. One could imagine she had fibroid which is very common in our today’s world or it could be due to ovarian cancer, gastrointestinal bleeding or other causes including hormone imbalance, abnormal growths, pregnancy complications, and infection, it can also be caused by deficiencies of several clotting factors, like platelet deficiency. It can lead to anemia in long-standing cases.
Women experience monthly periods of 3-5 days of bleeding as part of normal physiological process of female reproductive system. However, abnormal bleeding may set in which the bleeding may last for 7 or more days, in which case the underlining cause would have to be discovered to stop the bleeding. If the cause is not discovered and bleeding continues other health conditions set in that endangers the woman’s life. Untreated heavy or prolonged bleeding can stop you from living your life to the fullest. It also can cause anemia. Anemia is a common blood problem that can leave you feeling tired or weak. If you have a bleeding problem, it could lead to other health problems.
Complications of chronic abnormal uterine bleeding can include anemia, infertility, and endometrial cancer. With acute abnormal uterine bleeding, severe anemia, hypotension, shock, and even death may result if prompt treatment and supportive care are not initiated.
The woman in focus with the issue of blood is practically a case of chronic bleeding for good twelve years of her life getting worse with even the best treatment and it has become a case of no possible cure or solution. I could image that all the joys of living have eluded her, no time or money for social life. All her friends and family must be avoiding her at this time since scriptures says she was getting worse even with treatment. Most family members must have backed out, few friends remaining will just be on lookers. Life indeed for this woman has become a night mere. All attempt at getting solution to her problems has failed her. In the scriptures we see a man who have been ill for as long as thirty-eight years, he has suffered so much pain and frustrations. When Jesus asked him, “do you want to be well? He answered I have no one here to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up..” (John 5:1-9).
So many are experiencing the pains and likely health challenge like this woman. Going from health specialist to prayer houses to visit “powerful” men of God for healing or seeking solutions to their problems but instead of getting better their conditions are becoming worse. They are traumatized and feeling abandoned. The society as it is today is sick and traumatized from chronic bleeding from lack of love and good morals in family, to banditry, kidnapping, corruption at all levels of government, bad leaders both in the religious communities and civil society. For so many years, hearts have been broken and left bleeding in the cold arms of injustice, dreams of youth are shattered with no hope or plans in sight for our teeming youth. Our educational system is at the verge of collapsing with endless strikes and unstable academic activities.
More cause of worry is the poor state of our health facilities across the country resulting in untimely death of Nigerian citizens, untold sufferings and pains to families left to mourn the demise of their loved ones. Our nation Nigeria is bleeding heavily and excessively from all these predicaments, like the woman with the issue of blood in Mark’s gospel and the man at the pool of Bethesda we need Jesus healing touch and power. The woman heard about Jesus and came in the crowd behind Jesus and said to herself “if I just touch his cloths, I will be well. So she touched his cloths and immediately her bleeding stopped.
Nigeria will be well again. Like the woman, we have heard about Jesus with the number of churches in our streets and preachers in the media and social network, we need to touch the cloths of Jesus with faith and receive his healing power to be well again.
Rev Sr Esther Mary Esawe EHJ, a Catholic Nun with the Sisters of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, is a Medical Lab Scientist working with the Nigerian Air-Force Hospital Ikeja, in the Archdiocese of Lagos ([email protected]).