Early August 2014, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and this is my story…
I am happily married and blessed with two beautiful girls aged 18 and 8 ½. A year ago, on the evening of July 29th, I experienced a sharp pain and discomfort on my right breast, I managed to sleep and the following morning the discomfort was still there only this time I felt a lump in the breast which had not been there previously. Knowing my body well and knowing it was an unusual pain, I decided to go to the hospital. This was the first sign that there was something wrong.
The doctors ran some tests and performed an Ultra sound exam and the results confirmed my biggest fear. They discovered and confirmed I had a lump on my right breast. The words “You have Cancer, and we will need to do further tests” were spoken by the doctor. I remember feeling as if I could not breathe and the sting of fear and doubt. I decided to go in for a 2nd consultation with a specialist at the Mater Hospital. The doctor ran further tests and performed a biopsy test with the results produced showing the lump to be malignant. Surgery was recommended which I underwent with successful results however after further examination the tests showed there was a spot in the liver.
Immediately I began some heavy and hard months of Chemotherapy to shrink the tumor. The oncologist advised I go through six session of chemotherapy over 3 months, 25 session radiotherapy and I started taking tamoxifen for the hormone estrogen. My six sessions of the Chemo treatment left me throwing up and being so weak. As if the throwing up and exhaustion isn’t enough, then you lose your hair. Though family and friends surround me through this fight, I am still alone with my thoughts. No one can really know what I am thinking or feeling. There are so many days it would take all my energy to get out of the bed. I prayed and continue to pray for God to give me the strength so my daughters Wanjiru and Wanjiku, can see me look normal when they come home from school. The masked smile and “Mommy is fine. Just tired.” hurt as much as the surgeries and treatment I went through and still currently undergoing. I don’t want my girls to lose their mom so I am putting on my boxing gloves and fighting this horrible cancer.
Recently, after receiving my results which were HERs2 positive, I made a decision to consult with a Breast cancer specialist in India who after the review revealed some shocking news. He shared that alongside my treatment, I needed to have received a herspitine injection which we discovered was not done. This therefore led to an increased production of oestrogen hormones which cancer cells feeds on, and therefore a multiplication of cancer cells.
“I’m sorry, but your breast cancer has spread to your liver.” These may be the words my oncologist used .when he told me that I was now metastatic, but to be honest, I can’t recall them clearly. What I can remember is the emotions: shock, disbelief, and the feeling of doom.
You see… the spot in the liver was not treated by any of the previous doctors and this has caused metastasis of the liver, right axillary and mediastinal lymph nodes. This is a cancerous tumor that has spread to the liver from another place in the body. It is also called secondary liver cancer. The cancer cells found in a metastatic liver tumor are not true liver cells. They are the cells from the part of the body where the primary cancer began and in my case- The cells that have spread to the liver are breast cancer cells and have caused my liver to become enlarged. It’s not the same as having cancer that starts in the liver. I am experiencing discomfort around the liver area and across my upper abdomen which I am controlling with painkillers. I am also supposed to be on chemotherapy treatment but due to financial constraints, this has not happened.
My specialist team have discussed treatment options for me with strong recommendation that I travel to either India or South Africa for specialized treatment which is not available in Kenya. Treatment may include chemotherapy, hormone therapy or targeted therapies. These treatments can be given alone or in combination and tend to be extremely expensive. My doctors have shared that in very rare cases, surgery might be an option if only a small part of the liver is affected.
The one thing that the C-bomb has taught me is that God, my health, family and friends are important things in my life. But most important of all, I am learning to FIGHT and to stay positive. My diagnosis is so much bigger than just me and I am taking one day at a time.
I am also kindly seeking your support as I prepare to go for my treatment in a couple of weeks. You can imagine the hefty medical bill I will be expected to pay. This is my appeal to you for your generous contribution which will go a long way to helping me fight this horrible Cancer.
You can make your contribution using the following channels;
1. Deposit to bank account
Account Name Lillian Njanja Kimani
Bank name Co-operative Bank
Branch name University Way
Account Number 01109171875500
2. Mpesa Paybill # 400200
Account number 01109171875500
OR you can send MPesa directly to my MPesa line +254 722916940
Thank you for your support and may God Bless You Always!
Lillian Njanja Muchoki