“I have to experience pain every second of my life,” Sarab says, looking down. She clenches her hands together as she tells her story to us, often looking down at them as though they give her strength to continue telling us what happened.
The familiar sound
Sarab lived with her aunt in Syria. Her family had left to come to Lebanon, and wanted Sarab and her older sister to finish at school before they joined the rest of them.
Sarab was stood outside her house in her village in Syria when she heard the familiar sound that she knew all too well: the noise of a jet coming. She had heard them many times before, but this time she was completely paralyzed by fear. “I couldn’t move to get inside the house. I really wanted to move but my legs wouldn’t work. I just remember my aunt screaming, begging me to get inside, but I just couldn’t.”
After that, Sarab can’t remember anything else. Her next memory is hazy, but she remembers being in the hospital and being in unbearable pain. The bomb had landed near to her, and she was punctured by shrapnel in her back, chest, and abdomen. Her aunt had to call her parents in Lebanon informing them that their daughter was in bad condition in hospital.
The shrapnel causes her constant pain
When she got a little better, her parents brought her back with them to Lebanon. They live in a refugee camp in the north of Lebanon. She enrolled in a school, and the parents were thankful that they still had their daughter.
But despite trying to lead a normal life, shrapnel is still stuck inside her abdomen, causing her constant and agonizing pain, particularly when she walks as the shrapnel presses down on her nerves.
Her INARA journey begins
When we met Sarab, we introduced her to our team of doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center. We were told that an operation on her abdomen to remove the shrapnel will ensure that Sarab is no longer in pain, and will be able to walk easily.
On the 31 March 2017 Sarab went in for her operation and it was a success. She is now back in the north of Lebanon recovering and will be coming in to Beirut for regular follow-ups at AUBMC.
Sarab’s mother desperately wants her daughter to get the best education she can get. “When I was a child, my mother wouldn’t let me go to school. She needed help in the house,” her mother tells us. “I can’t read and write and I really have regretted this all my life. I felt like my mother didn’t love me enough, and I never want Sarab to feel like this. Yes, I want her to get married and have children, but I want her to focus on her education.”
Sarab loves going to school and is in the eighth grade now. “I can’t pick a favorite lesson as I like them all,” she tells us with a proud smile on her face. “In the future I want to be a doctor. But I may change my mind.”
But her main focus is on getting rid of this pain she’s in. “I want to end this pain and lead a normal life again.”