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Rare illness made me find my purpose in life

After attending an air hostess interview, Jaki Wasike-Sihanya failed the medical test which had revealed that she lacked an enzyme that made her blood thick.

She may have failed the interview but looking back, she is grateful for the event that led to the diagnosis. The analysis made her stay vigilant of any ailment or bodily change.

As years went by, she stayed in good health until 2007 when the back of her leg got swollen. Alarmed, she called her sister who is a medic.

“It never occurred to me that it was a big deal, but when my sister told me to check into Aga Khan Hospital and obey the doctor’s orders, I was taken aback,” said Ms Wasike-Sihanya.

“Once I checked in, doctors hastily ferried me into the treatment room, the look on their faces convinced me that something was terribly wrong,” she added.

After the treatment, the doctor told her that she was lucky to be alive.

“He said he had never seen anyone with a blood clot in a deep vein survive,” she said.

All was well until last year when she suffered blood clots in both lungs. The doctors successfully treated her and to prevent a recurrence, they put her on medication for  the rest of her life.

She said that being aware of her body was the one thing that has kept her alive. Whenever she suffers the mildest headache she always seeks medical advice.

Blood clots can be fatal. That a person sees no sign when one is about to happen makes it more deadly. It can happen in a matter of minutes and the difference can mean life or death.

Causes of blood clots range from physical inactivity to genetics as is the case for Ms Wasike-Sihanya. Luckily, she did not pass the condition to her two children.

A blood clot can occur if a person sits in one spot for a prolonged time. It is advisable to make movements when travelling to prevent it.


Overweight people are also at risk. Besides, a person who has undergone a recent surgery, has suffered a bodily trauma like a fracture or has a damaged blood vessel is at risk of getting a blood clot.

It, however, needs not to be a life threatening condition, through various scans and procedures it can be detected and treated immediately.

Ms Wasike-Sihanya’s first encounter in 2007 helped her look at life differently. It inspired her to help people realise their purpose in life and overcome every day difficulties.

“I was given a second chance to live.  I thought that it would be more fulfilling to bring more meaning into my life and other people’s,” she said.

The marketer by profession enrolled at the Institute of Life Coaching and now strives to empower people by helping them meet goals in their personal and professional lives.

“I seek to install a person’s confidence through guidance, empowerment and improvement to enable a person to reach their high goals,” she said.