A NEW MOTHER BEATS CANCER
Nancy had recently given birth to her daughter when she found a lump in her breast. After moving to Eldoret and being examined by doctors at MTRH, she was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer.
How did you discover that you had breast cancer?
In 2016, I was a healthy mother. I had breast fed my daughter until May of that year. In September, I felt a lump on my right breast. It was not painful, but it was torturing my mind with worry. A month later, my family moved to Eldoret and I visited with a doctor at MTRH who did a biopsy. He told me it was breast cancer.
How did you respond to the diagnosis?
At first, I cried very much and was worried for my family. I was so disappointed, but my husband and I have faith. God is good and I knew I would get through it.
What was your treatment plan?
I had a mastectomy soon after the diagnosis. The surgery was successful, but a doctors strike occurred 2 days later and I was sent home. Since I used to be a nurse, I was able to take care of myself by changing the dressing so it would not get infected. I even removed the stiches. In January of 2017, I started chemotherapy. I lost my hair, my hands and feet turned black, and I was very nauseous. I made sure to eat very healthy so I would stay strong. I ate porridge, pumpkin, yams, boiled bananas, hot water and used herbs from my garden. I felt much better and then I only had occasional nausea. I traveled to Nairobi to get radiation treatments. Through the grace of God, I am now doing well.
Who have been your biggest supporters?
Many people have helped me. My husband is very caring and took me to all of my hospital visits. My mother was very concerned and thought I was too young to get cancer. She was always there for me. My friends from church were also great help. They donated money for my treatments and cooked food for my family. Now, I am in two cancer support groups - one with Alexandria hospital and one with Chandaria – and also have a social life with many cancer survivors at the Imani Workshop.
What would you say to people who might be in your situation?
If you find anything on your body that is strange, such as a lump, go have it checked by a good doctor. Not all tumors are cancer, but you need to be tested. Be self-aware and take good care of yourself. Cancer is not the end of life. It gave me a new life with new friends and there is a purpose in this. God gives your life meaning.