This November, I would be 55 years old. I am a 15-year cancer survivor, although I have not known what it feels like to have breasts for a while now.
My story began in November 2004; I was preparing for my 40th birthday. I had so much to be thankful for. Even though I studied law in a top-rated law school in the UK, I didn’t practice law and my father, himself, a lawyer, had been utterly heartbroken that I did not continue his “legacy” and for choosing instead to be a cosmetics/beauty entrepreneur. I was the only child and so that made it worse for him.
I was out at my Fashion Designer’s in Lagos, trying on my birthday dress, a mono strap, green velvet gown, when it occurred to me to do a self-breast exam again. I had always done a self- exam but for some reason I had stopped. Now that I think about it, I guess I stopped because the lumps were just never there all the times I had checked; plus, I didn’t have a history of breast cancer in the family. I had no idea.
On this day, just three days before my 40th, I find two lumps on my right breast and one, on the left. They were hard, reddish, telling and unmistakable. I knew instinctively, that it was breast cancer or something deadlier. They didn’t feel normal. I couldn’t tell my husband. I managed through my 40th birthday party. The test results confirmed my worst fears. I had to tell my husband at this point. We went into “denial” mode and decided to pray for the next 4 months. The lumps remained and they seemed to get bigger. At this time, I needed helping with everything including having my bath. At some point, I completely lost my faith. I tried traditional medicine/concoctions for a brief while. Nothing worked. I ask for forgiveness and then switch on my faith again. Several pastors after, nothing worked.
People, I went through the whole hog – Biopsies. Adriamycin. Taxol. Lumpectomy. Chemo. Radiation and Mastectomy. To be honest, I didn’t think I would survive. I was very very sure, I was destined to spend only 40years on earth. I don’t know how I survived the ordeal, the pain, the shame, the self pity, and sometimes the guilt that I could have averted the disease if I had been doing my self-exams regularly- but I survived and I give glory/owe my survival to Jesus Christ. I probably won’t have answers to all the questions but I am no longer looking for answers.
In the last 15 years, all my kids have ‘gotten” married. I have “carried” my grandchildren and I am still as healthy as a fiddle.
I miss my breasts terribly J. Half the time, ( till date) I am thinking, about how exactly my husband can cope without them. I am thankful for life!
PS: Sorry, I cant share pictures and no full names