I was at COPE, when I came across an article in the Genevieve magazine about a breast cancer survivor, Mrs. Kehinde Gbelee. Her story of triumph encouraged me to go for chemotherapy and indeed she has been my Role Model.

In August 2013, barely a month to my 40th birthday, I discovered I had a lump on my right side of the breast and I went to the hospital. A month after I was booked for biopsy to know the status of the lump. Two weeks after the laboratory result revealed the lump was cancerous. The doctor said I would have to do mastectomy. I was quiet for a while and was thinking if this was the way I was going to die?

Looking back at my family history, my dad died of Prostate cancer five years ago, grandma died of cervical cancer three years ago, while my mum died of cancer of the gall bladder just last month {August2013}. I was aware of everything they had been through during their treatments process.

Then, my view about chemotherapy was chemo itself was life threatening because my parents never survived it. As a result of this, I was down for two weeks. I was like an empty bottle, I cried bitterly, why me? This was the question on my mind, because of all I went through during my mother’s sickness and she eventually died.

I had no clue what stage the cancer was. I just thought that cancer simply meant death sentence. I thought about my three lovely children, how my children would fair being that I am breadwinner of the family and also my other five siblings, being the first born of a family of six.

I tried to pull myself together and told my boss in the office that I would need a six-month leave to take care of my present health condition. My boss was supportive and asked me to complete the leave form with other documents collected at the hospital for record purposes, fortunately, the leave was processed and signed in accordance with my office policy the following day.

Precisely November 1, 2013, I had my mastectomy and came out of the surgery. It was carried out at Lagoon Hospital Apapa where I spent five days. My doctor offered me words of encouragement and comfort and assured me that a lot of people had survived cancer and that I too will be fine. I looked at myself with one breast and wept like a baby.

Three weeks after the surgery, the doctor booked me to start chemotherapy. I was scared because of my parent’s experience; rather I went for natural therapy. I was doing this until I went to buy breast forms and customized bras at COPE. Coincidentally, I came across GENEVIEVE magazine that changed my treatment from natural therapy to chemotherapy.

The following day, I went to the hospital and registered to start, I was booked to see another doctor {oncologist} who advised that I will take 8 courses of chemotherapy.

Below are the side effects of taking 5 out of 8 courses

  • Burning Sensation- I feel this burning sensation on my right arm where surgery was done, although it is reducing gradually.
  • Inability to sleep comfortably with my right hand side, I still feel pains in the area where the surgery was done. Most times I use my back or left side to sleep
  • I feel upset everyday while taking my bath, seeing myself as a woman with one breast. I always think I have lost myself confidence as a woman, for a woman to feel her chest and not find anything there. It is a nightmare and agonizing.
  • Hair loss, I have lost the hair on my head and private part
  • Menstruation has stopped and it makes me feel this burning sensation on my head and heat from inside which makes me sweat especially when I am not in a cool place.
  • Nausea/Vomiting – Most times I feel like vomiting and have hiccups
  • Skin Effects- although I am naturally dark in complexion but I am darker now especially my palms, fingers and feet.
  • Fatigue-I feel tired but not all the time
  • I experience loss of appetite sometimes.
  • Diarrhea.

In Conclusion, it has not been a pleasant experience so far. I have taken a course in the second phase of chemotherapy. Presently, the side effects of the second phase are not as harsh as the first phase. I still have three courses to take before the completion of chemotherapy.

In all, I give Glory to God Almighty

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