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BN Book Excerpt: Adenike – Her Story, Your Movie, His Glory (III)

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BellaNaija has partnered with Adenike Oyetunde to give out four copies of Adenike – Her Story, Your Movie, His Glory. {Click here to read the announcement} This week, we’re sharing the third excerpt from the book. Read part 1 here and part 2 here. Remember, next week, we’ll share the last part and we’ll post quick easy questions for BellaNaijarians. 

Let’s get in today!

The test results came in. I had an appointment that day, and when the main doctor walked into the office in the company of two other doctors, he addressed me: “Young lady, what you have is cancer, and there’s no cure for cancer. So the solution would be to have the leg amputated. I’m already thinking of booking you for a surgery on Monday. I’d like to run you through the process. It’s a malignant tumour which needs to be taken out. Anywhere you go across the world, you’d be given a similar report.” They say that when presented with extreme situations or shocking news, humans sink into denial before they accept their fate. My response to the doctor’s speech was that of bemusement. What did the doctor’s rant mean? I wondered.

At this point, I went numb. It seemed everything around me, including time, froze. I didn’t understand what cancer was; I had never read about cancer. I didn’t know anyone who had been diagnosed with cancer. I didn’t know what it meant to have cancer. It was unbelievable that something I’d never heard off or really paid attention to was going to cost me my leg. While wondering at the possibility of another explanation for what I was experiencing. I went blank, dead to everything around me at that moment. These were the thoughts going through my head: Amputation? What did that even mean? Had I ever seen an amputee? How do they live? How do they live in Nigeria? Every other person in the room must have been talking, but I didn’t hear a sound. Honestly, I had an out-of-body experience where I stood watching from a vantage point. I didn’t understand what was going on. Suddenly, I realized my dad was there with me. In my head, I felt that if these people didn’t know what they were saying, my dad would have a better idea of what could be done. I turned to look at him, as I had always done all my life. To my greatest surprise, he was crying. This was the only person I thought would give me all the answers I needed, my hero; the man who would always tell me “yes” when every other person said “no.” He always found a way out whenever things didn’t seem to be working. I couldn’t believe that my hero was crying over this diagnosis. Clearly, this must be a huge mistake, I thought, because these unsympathetic doctors have no idea what they are talking about. From afar, I heard my father asking if there was any other solution. Unfortunately, the doctor reiterated that the only available solution across the world was to amputate the leg.

My world stopped. People often ask me how I reacted when the news came. My answer? I really didn’t feel any different; in my head, I kept thinking that there was no way I could have cancer. How could I have cancer? Where did it come from? A 20-year-old having cancer seemed impossible!

As we rode home, I called an ex to inform him of the doctor’s diagnosis as well as the solution. I also relayed the information to my roommates. My mum didn’t get a phone call because we all knew she could be very dramatic and wouldn’t be able to handle such over the phone. Everyone who had heard the news shared Chief Sanwo’s sentiment about the doctors at that orthopaedic hospital not knowing what they were doing. Many people recommended other hospitals. Soon, I had faith that when we went to another hospital, we’d get a better diagnosis.

When I asked my dad for the doctor’s report, the diagnosis was Osteogenic Sarcoma (Osteosarcoma). At that point, phones with internet access weren’t popular, so I could not readily search online for information on this mystery diagnosis. The ride back home was the longest of my life; I didn’t understand what was unfolding before my eyes. I could not understand how an ordinary fall would cause me to amputate my leg. I didn’t understand what the doctor just told me– I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand how one moment, I would have two legs and the next, I would have one leg. I didn’t understand how all of that was going to play out. I often ask myself if I should have accepted the initial diagnosis and possibly saved some part of my upper limb since the Sarcoma initially affected just my knee. I wonder if a longer stump would have made walking with the prosthesis easier; because, thinking about it, I still would not have had my knee, the joint that aids mobility. The diagnosis has taken my family on the journey of our lives. Sometimes, I wonder if different actions could have led to different outcomes. Would things have turned out this way if I hadn’t fallen? What if I hadn’t gone home that weekend? What if I had gone home and left before power was restored and I could pump water? What if I had refused to help fill the barrels at home? What if it wasn’t me who fell? Would the person have been told they had to amputate their leg? What if it was the first doctor who’d drained the fluid that messed everything up? Could he have saved my leg? Could there have been any possibility of salvaging my leg? Looking back, I knew that in that car, on our journey home, I was preparing my mind for the worst. In between bursts of prayer, I readied my mind to fight the amputation till the end.

Adenike, Her Story, Your Movie, His Glory can be purchased at any of the following places:

Jazz Hole, Ikoyi
Terra Kulture,
Jed Mega Stores, The Palms
Okada Books
Patabah Books
Roving Heights
Book Peddlers
Book Errands
Guft Source, Abuja
Book Sellers, Ibadan and Abuja
Buy Books Port Harcourt
Didis Cafe, Warri
Boldoz book Store Uyo
Quintessence Park View