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, BellaNaija hopes to celebrate survivors of breast cancer.
Today, we’re sharing the story of Ethel, who was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer
My name is Ethel Olomu and I’m the apple of God’s eyes.
Early 2010, while attending the 10,000 Women Empowerment Programme Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management (CEM) organised by Goldman Sachs at the Lagos Business School, I felt a sharp pain on my left breast. Being a daughter of a nurse, I told my mum and she immediately asked me to see a doctor.
I went to the hospital as soon as possible, visiting the University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), and after a thorough check-up, the doctor said it was just a lump and nothing to worry about because every woman had it. He advised that I remove it.
I was booked for surgery a month after, which I went in for as an outpatient. The lump was removed and I went back home and resumed my classes after a week. Two weeks after, the doctor called and told me the sample had been tested and there was nothing to worry about because it wasn’t cancerous. I was relieved and went about my life.
5 weeks after the lump removal, I woke up to pee in the middle of the night and I couldn’t get up. My breast was swollen to the size of the biggest watermelon you can imagine, and the bed was soaked with blood, puss draining from the spot the lump had been removed from. I was frightened and in shock. I looked up it was past 3 AM. All alone at home. I grabbed my phone and dialed the doctor’s and he picked up. I alerted him to my present condition and he was surprised, asked me not to panic. He recommended a drug which I took for 3 days but to no avail.
Not knowing my greatest nightmare was about to start, but God intervened. Yes, God healed me.
I had to go back to the hospital for a corrective surgery. I was opened up again and more samples taken, yet no solution. I was dealing with nonstop pain plus pus, blood, liquid gushing out steady from the breast. Still, results came out negative, nothing. I changed doctors and hospitals, had another surgery, yet nothing. And I was dying. All test results showed nothing was wrong with me. All the drugs couldn’t stop or dry the puss, blood gushing from the wound in my breast. I was in constant pain, using strong antibiotics with no food in my stomach. I was bedridden at some point. We changed doctors again and he still suggested corrective surgery. Oh Lord, I died in the operating table this time, but God intervened again. Four surgeries and no solution and nobody knew what was wrong.
Finally a family friend stepped in and asked for samples from my breast and took it abroad for analysis, and wow, the moment of truth and pain.
Meanwhile, I had to stop school three weeks to my graduation, took permission to seek treatment and here we are almost two years and no solution.
Finally, when the results came in, it was stage four breast cancer and not treatable because it has spread everywhere in the body and was given two months to live.
Even the doctors abroad told my family not to bother spending money on my treatment because it was a lost battle, and the only one that accepted asked for 100% payment upfront.
God sent an angel my way, a friend I’d lost contact with, and when she heard about my condition she called my amazing doctor, Dr Ben Ojukwu, who asked that if I could be brought to Abuja he would try. And indeed, God used him to treat me. I had 9 shots of chemotherapy and as we were preparing for radiotherapy in Ghana, gbom! I went for a scan, etc., and behold I was cancer free. Hallelujah to Jesus. MeCure diagnostics center couldn’t believe it. I was scanned again and again, yet no cancer cell in my body.
Since 2012 till date, I’m still enjoying God’s perfect healing, and have not had cause to take malaria medicine. Yes, God perfected my healing. 2016, God’s grace located me and I got married to an amazing gift from God. And I needed to start my life afresh and pick up the pieces of my beautiful life.
I started Be-fab by Beadakraft, a ready to wear, smart, affordable, yet unique clothing and accessories line for the everyday woman who wants freedom of expression in Ankara piece.
I receive lots of calls from husbands whose wives are going through cancer, sisters, friends, etc., to encourage them because lots of them live in self denial and refuse to take treatment, but by the grace of God as soon as I share my story with them and how I have refused to let breast cancer stop my purpose or define me, it gives them hope to fight for life.
I’m happy and I’m not my scar.
Breast cancer isn’t anyone’s fault.