As breast cancer awareness month (October) drew to a close, Flourish Africa addressed the disease which continues to lay a global burden with a beautiful photo shoot of a survivor. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year and affecting countries at all levels of modernization.
This has made the need for awareness on early detection even more urgent now than ever. The invasive disease, which is practically incurable once spreading has occurred, can only really be prevented or snipped early with constant checks. Therefore, when a woman survives the disease, it is something worth celebrating.
Omolara Cookey is a breast cancer survivor who shared her journey. Speaking to Flourish Africa, she reveals that not only had breast cancer threatened her life but that she had just survived a different life threat, Myasthenia Gravis, an autoimmune disease which leads to varying degrees of skeletal weakness.
I started constantly thinking about what I was thinking because it all starts with the mind. I held many trials with myself in my own head, if what I was thinking didn’t align with healing and wholeness, I was quick to dump it.
Cookey who found a lump in her breast was in a place of fear as she couldn’t understand how having just recovered mobility due to the auto-immune disease after a period of over 3 years, God would allow cancer to take hold of her. There was no way that would happen, she had repeatedly told herself.
I couldn’t believe that the God that I served would heal me from one life-threatening ailment and then give me another, but looking back now, that was training ground for what was to come.
Due to her denial, she chose to ignore this prompting until 5 years later, she started to feel some pain so she carried out a biopsy, the lump was indeed malignant and she was found to have breast cancer. She flew to South Africa a few days later for a mastectomy.
During her time in Johannesburg, as she readied for her surgery, she chose joy; Both pre-surgery and post-surgery, she repeatedly chose joy. She also began painting again after a 25 year long hiatus, ‘painting was therapeutic’, she recounts.
I painted my nails red signifying the blood of Jesus, played with my sister’s kids, my brother in-law treated me to a spa day and I prophesied the word of God over my life. There was no room for anything else, I entered into the lord’s rest.
Cookey who notes that her healing journey was deeply instrumental in self-awareness and discovering what things to take on board mentions how she spends her time dwelling on things of eternal value such as relationships and her relationship with God.
Her advice to anyone going through a cancer prognosis is “Fight with everything you’ve got, if you don’t have faith, get it”.
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