Bee Talk with Beatrice Tonhodzayi
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and in this month there is effort to spread as much information a possible around and about Breast Cancer.
However as I write today; I just want to honour those who have Breast Cancer; the amazingly strong people who have survived it or are in the process of surviving it. I am taken back to a morning when a very special friend and sister of mine looked at me and broke the news; “I have Breast Cancer Bee’ some years ago. We had gone for breakfast; just the two of us and I was expecting our usual routine where we would catch up, talk about life, money, men, the children, hairstyles, clothes and all manner of things girlfriends will discuss when they meet up.
So to have her break that bombshell totally threw me.
We had also just come from participating in the ZImpapers Annual Cancer Power Walk at Old Hararians Sports Club as we have traditionally done over the past years. So imagine having her break that kind of news.
If it shook imagine I can only imagine what it was doing to her. I am thankful that as I write today, she is still around and that I did what I could in my small way as a friend to hopefully support through prayer and moral support.
This was not to be the end of it. I was to come face to face with a similar situation again when another big sister, mentor and confidante of mine was to break the same news barely months after that.
Again she sat me down and looked at me and broke the dreaded news; “ Bee, guess what I have Breast Cancer and it has spread widely.”
What do you do when your dearest and beloved says something like that to you? But beyond that; what will they be going through?
If it is devastating to you that is being told; what more to the one who is breaking the news and who is living the reality of actually having this diagnosis staring them in the face?
So as my friend (the first one) shared her tale; she said it started off with pain in her breast. She felt it and then it times she did not feel it. Like we all do when we have niggles and aches; she ignored it hoping that it would disappear on its own. I know she is definitely not the only one who has ignored something hoping it would go away at some point. Many of us have probably done this too. And at times the pain will actually go away. But in her case it did not. And she began to feel the breast regularly and one day; she found a lump. And she touched it and felt it and prayed and hoped it would go away. But alas; it did not go away.
Until she had to face up to the reality of there being a problem and went through to seek medical services. After a series of examinations they confirmed that she had Breast Cancer. Thankfully, she said; it was not that widely spread.
I am thankful that in her case she was able with to immediately get started on treatment which in her case; was rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She is alive to tell the tale.
In the case of my other sister, mentor and confidante, she is still undergoing treatment. The Cancer had spread a bit more than in the first case I shared. And sometimes she tells me how hard and how painful it gets.
“Bee I have suffered burns following my latest round of treatment,” she sometimes says.
“Bee my whole body is sore,” she will reach out. I just say platitudes which I feel are inadequate for beyond being there to love her; how can I ever say enough?
At times she tells me she cannot keep anything down as she brings up everything she would have eaten. At times she just lies in bed as she will be feeling too weak. It is not easy.
Have I spoken about the huge amounts of money she has spent on treatment. To be honest Cancer is an expensive condition to manage and treat. Those without resources might as well just get Cancer and wait to die for the thousands of dollars that people spend on treatment are no walk in the park.
And in the case of our country; no medical aid will cover you for such conditions in reality.
So as we mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month; I am drawing attention to the heroes we have amongst us who are right now fighting this cancer. I am focusing on the women who have lost a breast in a bid to save their lives. Yes in some cases the only option is to remove the affected breast. In others; some end up losing both breasts. Some lose hair while undergoing treatment. Others lose an awful amount of weight. It is not an easy road. While some families stand by their loved ones; some lose families as a result of their Cancer diagnosis. Some lose all their wealth as they try to manage the treatment costs. Some lose a sense of who they truly are. Some lose their lives.
It devastates the families and loved ones too. Just imagine watching a partner going through such anguish of having breast cancer or any other cancer for that matter? Or a parent? A sister? A friend?
I saw a friend going through the anguish of nursing his mother through Breast Cancer. I watched as he grappled with her deterioration which later led to her death. Up to now he is invested in all issues to do with Cancer. He saw it first-hand.
Today I want to salute those who have survived Breast cancer. I wish to salute those fighting their way through it. I wish to salute those families and loved ones standing by their side as they fight their way through.
I am inviting you to share your stories of hope and survival with others this month. Who knows; you might touch a life.
This is the season.
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