Sunday, February 16, 2020 4:40 pm
By Nehru Odeh
Shan George is a veritable actor both on and off set. Not only has she played key roles in many Nollywood movies, she has acted prominently in the drama of existence. She got married and had her first child at 16.She has been in and out of several marriages. And just recently, she escaped dramatically from a spine injury that could have left her paralysed for life, thanks to a surgery she underwent in Abuja last year. “I am much better now. I have gone past my recovery period. And I am now getting stronger,” George enthused in a chat with presenters of Entertainment Splash on TV Continental.
George had spinal injury when she had a fall in her bath tub eight years ago. Initially, she had thought it was a mere pain in her legs and was taking pain killers until the injury degenerated. Not only was she feeling pains in other parts of her body, she was bedridden. “I do a lot of driving. And that is what probably made the back to degenerate further.. It started paining me. The whole pain started from below my bum all the way down to my toes-very severe pain. My leg was just paining me, the whole back of the leg, not this front – the back side up to my feet.”
Still, George’s journey to recovery was not an easy one. It was fraught with many aches, pains and even unbearable financial expenses. According to the Rivers State-born actor, she spent a lot of money on treatment, which included several medical tests and herbal treatments when it seemed she wasn’t responding. “I was spending money, even selling my stuff to even afford medication and all that. I even went for herbal treatment when they had to give me all these herbs for like a period of one whole month. I was taking herbs with honey, Ginger, , garlic, turmeric and all kind of stuff,”‘ she recalled.
“My feet was numb. So sometimes when I step down it is like I am stepping on hot pebbles. It was a very bad pain. And naturally, when I had the pains I started taking normal pain killers. A couple of weeks later it became bad. I went to the first hospital, they did some X-ray. Normally I thought my leg was paining me. That made it to last that long. They were doing X-ray on my leg but the thing that was doing me was on my spine. So it too a while, moving from one hospital to the other until the point where one of the doctors said it was probably because I had one other thing impeding all the medications. So he advised I did all the tests I had to do. So I did all kinds of tests – diabetes, hepatitis, HIV, High Blood Pressure, Cancer etc. Yet there was nothing.
However the financial burden was more pronounced when it became glaring that the only solution was surgery – an only option that was so delicate it could make her paralyzed, if it was not properly done. “Before I even got to the point they told me that I had to do a surgery that cost about N8 million. I wrote to a hospital in Israel. They didn’t even bother to go into any preambles. They Just sent me the price – $30,000. I also contacted an American hospital in Dubai. Because this spine injury is like having a heart or a brain injury,” she said.
Still, since George couldn’t afford medical treatment abroad, she had to do the surgery in Nigeria. Still, he had to scale through some hurdles which included getting a proper hospital in Nigeria and the finances. “A couple of my friends had already told me, ‘Don’t even try to do it in Nigeria all.’ But I didn’t have the kind of money to go and do it outside. I now went on Google. I asked who is supposed to do this surgery? They said a neurosurgeon. I went on Google and googled :Best neurosurgeons in Nigeria’ and their names popped up,” she explained.
When asked how she was able to pay for the surgery, George said she sold some of her property to do so. “At the time I was talking I didn’t even have any money. Because I had been spending money since January. And this was like August. So I had to start selling my stuff. I sold my movie equipment, equipment I used in shooting my small, small movies to eat my small small pomo soup,” she said. This came up to some millions. And a couple of friends added one or two,” she maintained.
When asked again whether she got any assistance from her colleagues in Nollywood, George said all through the time she was going through treatment, she deliberately decided never to tell anyone. “I never informed them. So I will not blame them. Because I did not involve anybody in Nollywood. The thing is that my mum who had been sick for many years now, who made me leave Lagos to take care of her started getting better. So I didn’t want my mum to know I was in a very bad situation. Though i was in the same house with my mum, she wasn’t aware. I didn’t tell other people so that my mum will not get to hear,” George submitted.