By Taniya Dutta
An aspiring Indian footballer is forced to live a painful life after a life-threatening condition has left his belly bloated to 59 inches.
Bikash Hazarika from a remote village in Assam in northeast India, weighs just 61 kilos, but he cannot walk, sit or sleep because his belly has bloated to enormous 10 kilos.
For last five years, he has been sleeping only in a sitting position for one and a half hours.
“It has been several years now. I cannot sleep or walk. I spend my day sitting on a bamboo chair thinking about the day when I will get a cure,” said Bikash.
An ace footballer who dreamed of playing for the country, Bikash was on field striking a goal five years ago, when the 21-year-old complained of severe stomach-ache and collapsed to the ground in pain.
A local doctor said it was a minor infection and recommended him to rest for few weeks.
He said: “It was excruciatingly painful. I could not breath. I tried everything but the pain did not fade. My mother then took me to a local doctor who prescribed some medicines that did help for sometime but the pain was back again.”
Three months later, when he frequently suffered from breathlessness, he visited a doctor who told him he had a heart attack. A pacemaker was fit in his chest but a month later, things worsened for him when fluid started collecting in his body and his stomach started bloating.
“For three months I suffered frequent breathlessness. I consulted a doctor in a government hospital where they said I had had a heart attack and due to that my heart beat rate has slowed down. They placed a pacemaker inside my chest to help control the abnormal heart beats.
“But one month after the pacemaker was placed, another medical problem arose. Fluid started collecting in my body, and stomach started swelling abnormally. Since then, I have been having breathing issues and my stomach has growing bigger and bigger,” said Bikash.
To find a cure, he consumed tonnes of medicines but none could help give stop the swelling of his stomach.
Showing the mound of the discarded medicines, he said: “Look at the pile of the medicines. I have eaten every medicine, every pill a doctor has prescribed. But nothing worked. My belly is continually swelling.”
Two year ago, Bikash consulted a specialist who diagnosed him with Congestive Hepatomegaly, a liver dysfunction where blood backs up in liver due to heart failure.
Doctors told him a surgery can save his life but it would cost £ 7,300. Unable to arrange money for the operation, Bikash returned home with his father Dilip, a contractual labour.
Dilip said: “I barely make £50 a month. It is impossible for me to make ends meet and feed five stomachs.
“We have already sold off our home to arrange moeny for his monthly medicine expenses that comes around £6. We cannot do anything else. We have no source to arrange money for his surgery.”
Bikash and his family are now relying on government for help for his surgery.
“It feels like I am dying a slow death. My life was perfect before 2009. I am losing all hopes of being able to live enough to get a treatment. It is already very late.
“I wish that government notices my condition and comes forward and offer me a free treatment. I will not just be able to live a normal life but also start playing again and make my country proud,” he said.