It’s of recent that Janet and the husband got to know that she could be suffering from Cancer. For them, it was just a simple fire scar and heat that would eventually go away. This was not the case. The swellings just got bigger, the itching intensified and she could not hold it any longer. She scratched it. That was the beginning of her nightmare.
Janet Namusisi 25 from Kayunga is temporarily diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma. It’s the second most common type of skin cancer, in particular, Marjalins Ulcer. She is married and a mother of three. The purported cancer is bound to cut short all this. On the upper left side of her chest is a wound so big and deep. Oozing fluids. At the hostel, she is confined in a separate room because she is ‘scary’ and inconvenience to other residents. She knows this, when she is not out in Mulago she confines herself in the room however much someone encourages her to go out and socialize. The pain she is going through is evident in her eyes and her physical structure. She can barely stand on her own.
You can sense the emotional trauma they are going through what the husband has to tell for she has difficulty speaking. From our interview the husband says, 21 years ago Janet was burnt by the father because she had stolen a piece of banana. As a punishment, she was tied with dry banana leaves and set on fire. The wounds healed but effects resurfaced 19 years later. They had tried almost everything before they were referred to UCI from Kayunga Health Centre 4. To clinics and native doctors and clinics, nothing seems to be working. The condition keeps on worsening day by day.
The husband says ““They did tell us my wife had cancer but said nothing about the future. I am the sole breadwinner. My children are out of school for a long time yet I have to look for money for treatment. This thickness has drained all my finances. I do not know where to start” he looks on hopelessly. “I was looking forward to getting back home with my family”.
Considering the financial constraints they are facing now, it’s going to be a long night into day for them. They are required to carry out Chest Ray Scans which cost a meagre 20,000 but he cannot afford it. Until the scan results are out to confirm the extent of the disease nothing much can be done at the moment except pain relief and symptom management. She currently depends on Morphine a strong pain reliever.
The light at the end of all this is the fact that the case is treatable. 8 out of 10 skin cancer cases survive and heal. We pray Janet is one of those lucky to go back to her family. Her children are still at very tender ages and they really need her. The hostel has referred her to Hospice Africa Makindye for symptom management and pain relief.