This year brought some of the saddest news I have heard since my childhood days. When it broke I didn’t know what to say. In fact I didn’t react. It was too painful to take in. The next few days after that I struggled to push every thought related to that to the extreme back of my mind. I hoped I didn’t hear correctly. But how not, it was from the horse’s mouth. A very effective communicator, there is no way it was a mix up of words. In fact she had used the right words for the situation. No second guessing what she meant.
My aunt, the lady I call ‘Mum’ had CANCER. She had delivered the news calmly and left and gone back to her work only to return weeks later to do her city routines. I did not bring up this discussion again in all the conversations we had thereafter. I refused to accept what I heard. It only sank in when she told me of a scheduled surgery to scoop some tissue from the affected area for further tests. I knew then that it was serious.
I was among the very few people she had told and this was not to be discussed with anyone else until she decided. I am sure the person who escorted her to hospital didn’t even know what she was dealing with. So the brave woman drove herself to hospital to the surprise of her doctors. After weeks of waiting, she confirmed my fears.
All this time I had questions in my mind. I was angry, disappointed, confused I didn’t know what to do. I hoped the tests were negative; in fact I was sure they would be negative. I was wrong. So many nights I went to bed and stared into the dark until wee hours. I had to share this with somebody, I had to let this pain out, I had to have a real long conversation with God, and I had questions.
As a little girl I lost both my parents a few years apart. Or at least that is what it seemed like to me. My little mind had to deal with all that pain and i had to somehow console myself and move on with the world. It never stops you know! Worse still I was separated from my siblings because we had to be looked after by different families (relatives). So each one of us dealt with the loss our own way and we definitely were brought up under different circumstances. We only saw each other once a year if we were lucky. One of us didn’t make it but the two of us survived the harsh world.
We had to adapt to life as quickly as possible and learnt to be adults before the right time. Life was a roller coaster thereafter and I will spare you the details. We are here now, bless the Lord.
During our adult life God gave my sister and I a mother. You know God can destroy a village to save one person. After all that went on we had a mother again. She opened her heart to us. We have now grown close and we are more like sisters. She has cared for us and shared her life with us. I know from a special place in her heart she wishes us well.
Now imagine my disappointment when this woman I have grown to love so much and embrace as my mother breaks the news of a possibility of her having CANCER. She calmly broke the news to me and quickly consoled me saying she will be fine. I knew she was only doing what mothers do, I think, being strong for their children. With the little I knew about CANCER it was hard to take in. I remember the day I openly talked about it I cried myself to sleep. It was too much pain to take at that time but from when I started talking about it I started seeing hope. When I finally confronted God with this matter I had an assurance it would be well.
The journey is still on but there is HOPE. We haven’t given up and she hasn’t lost HOPE. She is a STRONG woman and she never gives up. That’s the one thing I am still struggling to learn from her. It’s not been easy at all and if you have watched a loved one in pain you kind of get it. From the loss of hair, appetite, weight to the endless pain, some days are just better than others.
We have learnt to celebrate the small things that we take for granted in life. That she could sit up some times was cause for celebration, when she got out of bed and came to the living room we celebrated, any news of her eating was a miracle. Each one of us monitored her progress in different ways. We no longer complain, we thank God for the far He has brought us and pray that His healing continues in her life. It will be well. This should also teach us to pray for those in a similar situation.
For the Cancer Awareness Month- October, I decided to shave my hair off instead of carrying a pink ribbon on my chest. Many of us women cannot imagine waking up bald, let alone going out with our hair unattended to. Hair is a woman’s glory, that’s biblical. It adds oomph to our outlook. An outfit is not complete without neatly done hair. It is the reason we shall spend hours in the salon just to have it right. Now imagine one morning waking up and your treasured hair remains on the pillow? It is horrific, right?
Cancer patients are put on a treatment called Chemotherapy depending on the stages of the disease. Among the adverse effects of chemo is loss of hair. This happens almost as soon as you start the treatment. It is not easy adjusting to the fact that your hair is no more especially for those who hair is such a big deal. So Mum lost her hair within the first week of chemo. We are now used to the fact that she has no hair but we are sure it will grow back once this is all over. So you now understand why I got rid of my hair.
My shaved head earned me lots of unnecessary attention. Firs the barber couldn’t believe it when I asked him to cut off everything. He sure gave me a piece of his mind about my own hair. Never mind that we were meeting for the first time. Everywhere I have gone, people especially ladies look at me and look again. It was uncomfortable at first but I got used to it. Now I don’t even notice the stares at all. I have gone through all the why did you cut your hair off, why do you have a bald head, why this why that? A few of them have taken me aside and inquired why my husband wanted my hair off. ‘The only reason you would cut off your hair like that is if your husband orders you to.’ Poor man! But yeah, that is what some people think of marriage.
Also people will have something to say about your life, it doesn’t have to have anything to do with them. People will always talk. Ignore the whispers, discouragements, the strong negative opinions, the judgment and all that negative energy that people like throwing at others. When you lose weight they will talk, when you gain they won’t shut up. You are either too aggressive or too passive. We can never mind our business and let people be, can we?