Her parents named her Henrietta Lacks, but scientists refer to her as HeLa. She was a deprived Southern tobacco farmer who worked at the same place as her slave older generations; however her biological cells-captured without telling or asking her—turned out to be one of the most vital implements in medicinal history. The first “eternal” human cells developed in culture, are alive even today, nonetheless she has departed for over sixty years. There’s plentiful to get into in the book, ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’. The following essay relives the incident of the lump (that Lacks referred to as a knot) that changed her life upside down and unfortunately ended it.
It had been over a year Henrietta had been discussing her close friends that something didn’t make sense, something didn’t feel right. One night after eating dinner, she sat down on her bed with her cousins Sadie and Margaret and expressed, “I got a knot inside me.”
She told her cousins that when sex first began aching, she supposed it had to do with her baby Deborah, who was born a few weeks before, or the disgusting germs David (her husband) sometimes brought home with him after spending nights with other female. That type which doctors cured with injections of penicillin or by treating with heavy metals. Henrietta grasped her cousins’ hands one by one and steered them on to her abdomen, exactly the way she’d done when Deborah was in her womb and had first began moving. She asked her cousins, “You feel anything?”
The cousins gently pushed their fingers onto her belly. And her cousin Sadie exclaimed, “I don’t know, maybe you’re pregnant outside your womb—you know that can happen.”
“I’m no kind of pregnant,” Henrietta replied. “It’s a knot.”
Her cousins suggested that she should see a doctor as the ‘knot’ could be something dangerous. But Henrietta didn’t immediately see the medic, and the cousins didn’t discuss with anyone what she’d told them at her house. In those times, people generally didn’t discuss matters like cancer or tumors, but Sadie knew that Henrietta won’t tell anyone and she somehow guessed that Henrietta was keeping it undisclosed and her reason was, if she would go and see a doctor regarding her ‘knot’, she was scared that the doctor would remove her womb and that would make her infertile.
Henrietta Lacks was later on detected with cervical cancer. This was the year 1951 when her youngest baby was only four months old. She had five children. She got medical treatment at public wards of Johns Hopkins hospital, where, when she was out cold and without her approval, a small section was taken from her carcinomatous tumor as well as from the non-cancerous cells around it. These cellular sections were then given to a medical investigator, Dr. George Gey, who was gathering tissue sections in an attempt to grow world’s first eternalized human cell streak—cells that would frequently split under laboratory settings, permitting to be used for study resolutions without having to repetitively produce them from extra tissue sections. That is how the incident of a knot turned the life of Henrietta Lacks upside down.
“Rebecca Skloot – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” Scribd. Web. 10 Sept. 2011. http://www.scribd.com/doc/57297054/Rebecca-Skloot-The-Immortal-Life-of-Henrietta-Lacks>.
EVANS, ELRENA. “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks | Books and Culture.” Books and Culture | A Christian Review. Web. 10 Sept. 2011. http://www.booksandculture.com/articles/webexclusives/2010/october/henriettalacks.html