Header Ads

Breast Cancer Survivor! Hope that my story will give someone energy to push forward

Breast Cancer Survivor!

When you don’t speak up and talk about your experience, how will others know that one can survive breast cancer?

I had thought I was in good shape health-wise, until one morning while having my bath, my fingers felt something in my left breast. A lump? It couldn’t be! God, it just couldn’t be! This denial was, to say the least, most unrealistic as the lump would eventually turn out to be breast cancer. The trauma I went through can only be imagined. It was most devastating because I neither knew any survivors nor any place to go for emotional support. Emotions were running riot in my head. Fear and confusion took over my entire self.

I couldn’t think! I couldn’t even tell my husband. Confiding in our family doctor was out of it and I was under terrible emotional trauma, all alone. For one week, I kept to myself, not knowing what to do. I must mention that my husband noticed that I was withdrawn and emaciated, but I was quick in reassuring him that I was okay. But was I okay? Far from it. One day during that unforgettable, terrifying week, as luck would have it, I tuned to cable TV and there was a show titled “this programme can save your life” It surely did, for it was about breast cancer survivors. That programme gave me what I needed most at that point in time i.e.: hope that I could be a survivor too. It was the greatest spiritual upliftment I have ever had in my entire life.

By the following week, I summoned the courage and went to see a doctor. She, at last, confirmed the presence of a lump. Cold reality. Numb shock. What kind of lump? Benign or malignant? It was rather too early to conclude as a biopsy was yet to be carried out. However, it is pertinent to mention that by the time of confirmation of the malignancy, I had gathered myself, shut out emotions and was ready for whatever it would take to make me free of the affliction. My emotional preparedness, I want to believe helped a lot in dealing with the problem. Without delay, I had surgery at the University College Hospital, successfully performed by a most caring team of doctors. The best part of the good news was that my cancer was at stage 1 with the axillary nodes free of cancer cells. While in the hospital, I noted the generally high level of fear, apprehension and secrecy among breast cancer patients.

Nobody wanted to talk about it. Majority of the patients due to ignorance and poverty were presenting at the late stages of the disease when little help could be given them. The lucky ones who had successful treatment shied away from discussing their experience. They simply got treated and walked away with sealed lips. Some that I managed to engage in discussions disclosed that their husbands would never let them go public about their experience with breast cancer, apparently fearing stigmatization. What will people say? A victim was turned away because she could not afford the hospital bill. In a public hospital? ‘The entire system is sick’, I said to myself and that got me thinking. It is no surprise that my experience of shattering loneliness, unavailability of information and group support coupled with the ‘tight-lip’ syndrome and indifference surrounding the disease so stirred me that I was inspired to do something that would bring about a positive and lasting change in the attitude of breast cancer victims.

Today I talk about my experience with breast cancer with relief having sacrificed the anonymity and privacy of my family with the hope that other thousands of silent victims may be encouraged to face up to the new reality in their lives with fortitude. May I share with you one of my favorite quotes. It was I believe by Tony Blair of Britain and says inter alia: I have always had a strong belief in the community. One is not just in this world to do whatever one can for oneself, an individual has obligations to other people and that is the best way to live. My experience made me realize the crucial role of the media in fighting breast cancer. Without watching that show, it could have been a different story, most likely sad. I was lucky I got the inspiration to survive from cable TV. How many other women are so privileged? This is why our local media and International media should recognize that they are partners in the fight against breast world wide.

We may not by ourselves eliminate breast cancer from the face of the earth, but we can end its regime of a life threatening disease making it possible for survivors to lead normal and productive lives. For me, fighting to defeat breast cancer is a life time commitment. What about you?

Fellow women, mothers, and ladies get your breast checked at the right time to avoid a chaotic situation on your health.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.