I am one of the fortunate individuals who benefited from a life-changing opportunity – a free breast ultrasound scan screening at C.O.P.E in July 2022. The events that transpired leading up to this screening have not only shaped my life but also instilled in me the importance of early detection and taking charge of one’s health.
In the preceding year, I experienced a sharp, unsettling pain in the left side of my breast, a sensation that lingered for three agonizing days before disappearing. Although the pain subsided, it kept me thinking and worried. It was then that I made the decision to have my breast checked by a professional and confront any potential health issues head-on.
However, life’s demands, deadlines, and distractions kept getting in the way. It wasn’t until a thoughtful friend forwarded C.O.P.E’s monthly flyer about their screening program that I found my motivation renewed. The date was set – July 16th, 2022, a day that would forever alter the course of my life.
Upon my arrival at the screening center, I was welcomed by a caring and compassionate team who made me feel at ease. I dutifully filled out the necessary forms, appreciating the warmth and hospitality of the staff. The moment arrived when it was my turn to undergo the breast ultrasound scan. In the brightly lit scanning room, the probe glided over my two breasts, revealing an unsettling discovery – a palpable lump within my left breast. The result was swiftly printed and handed to me with a firm recommendation – I must urgently consult with my doctor.
Without hesitation, I scheduled an appointment with my doctor and recounted my situation. I revealed my impending travel plans, an unavoidable trip for my uncle’s burial. My commitment to addressing my health issues was important, and I assured my doctor that upon my return I would take the necessary steps.
After bidding my uncle a final farewell, I returned to the hospital on September 9th. The lump was removed, and I submitted the specimen for histological analysis on the same day. The anxious days that followed culminated in a heart-wrenching revelation – the histology report confirmed my worst fear: Carcinoma in Situ. It was a diagnosis that shook me to my core.
Further tests were conducted to gauge the extent of the condition, culminating in the immunochemistry results. The urgency of the situation became undeniable; surgery was the only viable option. Thankfully, it was a stage one Carcinoma in Situ, and it had not metastasized – a ray of hope in an otherwise dire situation. I faced a critical decision: save my breast through a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy or opt for a mastectomy without further treatment. Without hesitation, I chose the latter, opting for the removal of my breast as a preventative measure.
Depression threatened to get the best of me, but the unwavering support of my family and their relentless encouragement bolstered my spirit. Determined not to leave any stone unturned, we sought a second opinion from an expert at another hospital, and conducted extensive tests, including mammograms, CT chest scans, and abdominal pelvic scans. The results were reassuring – no masses or fluids were detected elsewhere in my body.
With newfound confidence, I returned to St. Leo’s Medical Center Ikeja, and underwent the mastectomy procedure, marking a significant step in my journey toward recovery. It is a path that I might not have ventured down if not for the free breast ultrasound scan that set my life on a different trajectory.
In addition to medical treatment, getting breast prostheses and bras from C.O.P.E also gave me a lot of comfort, confidence, and strength. I am gradually adapting to my new body, embracing the concept of a “new normal” life, and I am profoundly grateful for the chance to live my life to the fullest.