Breast cancer is a major public health issue. It affects about 12% of women around the world and is the most common form of invasive cancer in women. With #IBeatBreastCancer, we hope to celebrate survivors of breast cancer.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and to raise awareness about the deadly disease, BellaNaija urges its readers to send in essays detailing their battle with it: from its discovery to whatever stage they’re currently in.
This entry was sent in by Ngozi Ejedimu, a mother of three kids who discovered a lump while watching Jenifa’s Diary.
Read her story below.
My name is Ngozi Ejedimu. I live in Lagos and am married with 3 kids. I found the lump in October 2016.
I rushed home to watch Jenifa’s Diary, settled down on the couch, and my hand touched my right breast and to my surprise, I felt something hard and immovable. I called my husband to feel it and next thing we were booking an appointment to see a doctor.
I did a biopsy and those were the longest 10 days of my life. The results came out and it was malignant. We ran other tests to confirm and all of them reached the same conclusion.
I cried my eyes out. Ironically, it was more from the thought of how much would be involved before even the thought of death. I remember washing dishes one evening and I just started to cry. I turned and told my husband, I don’t want to die.
We couldn’t afford the treatment, but God provided through family, church and friends. I went to India for surgery, but had my chemo in Lagos.
Chemotherapy was very aggressive and difficult for me. It was triple negative breast cancer, stage 3, too, as it had spread to my lymph nodes. All the lymph nodes on my right side where removed as well as my breast. I had a mastectomy.
I lost my hair, lashes, everything during chemotherapy. Life after chemo, I didn’t know what to do with myself. And boom, God again. I started @whatcancernaija on Instagram and started sharing my journey. I was kind of doing that on my personal page, but with @whatcancernaija, it was my way of giving thanks and letting women know that there is life after breast cancer.
My focus is on survivorship, but from when you find the lump. This includes your state of mind, getting the right information, reading stories of women that have survived, but most of all how it relates to me, a breast cancer survivor living in Lagos who has survived and is thriving.
I run an NGO called The Judah Foundation for Breast Cancer which is registered. I give out free pink gift bags to women affected by breast cancer, which includes patients and survivors. I have a mastectomy bra drive I do every four months. We get sponsors. I buy and give out free breast forms and mastectomy bras. I do hospital visits and am very active on the gram with regards to helping women answer confusing questions. I started a fruit juice business in August 2018.
I survived Stage 3 breast cancer and I am not my scar.
I am sharing my picture which I posted on Instagram to show women that I have one breast but I give thanks in everything because God came through. I call this my Jacob’s limp, my reminder to never ever forget why I am still alive: to give women hope.
Please check your breasts regularly and see a doctor immediately if your breasts look or feel funny. Seek a second opinion if the doctor doesn’t take your concerns seriously. It’s your body, so you will know if something isn’t right.
Lastly, please don’t seek alternative medicine unless recommended by the doctor managing you.