When she is telling her story, her tone of voice lowers and changes, it’s reminiscent of one afraid that anything bad can happen. Her left hand unconsciously goes up to her right breast.
October is breast cancer awareness month and we bring you a story of Mrs Rebecca Kiziri Mayengo. She is a board of director’s member Cancer Charity Foundation. She has selflessly served for over 3 years and she is a breast cancer survivor.
During her routine checkup as required by her employer, the medical personnel discovered that she could be having breast cancer. This came as a shock because initially, she had had no cause for worry. On that fateful day, as the doctor checked her left breast a lump was found. A mammogram was suggested and indeed their suspicions were confirmed, there was a malignant tumour. It was Stage 3, Breast Cancer. One lymph node in her armpits had been eaten up and another was half destroyed. A lumpectomy was recommended.
Lumpectomy is the removal of the breast tumour and some of the tissues that surround it. It was a successful operation. The next step was chemotherapy. The oncologists in Inova Alexandria Hospital emotionally prepared her for the effects of Chemotherapy. She was told that her hair would fall out and her sense of taste would disappear.
“I had to force myself to eat to maintain my blood count.” Throughout her time on chemotherapy, she fed on Chinese food and tea as well as tomato soup. She also maintains an active lifestyle. “I jog every day and because of that I have been cancer-free for eleven years.” For her age at 70, she looks fit. After chemotherapy, she underwent radiotherapy. A patient is subjected to measure and highly controlled high energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells. She was put on hormonal therapy treatment to block the growth of tumours by blocking the estrogen.
She attributes her win to support her family. Her husband has been very supportive. Although Mayengo and her family have a story to tell, they are grateful with God’s grace, the cancer will disappear for good.
After her journey, Mayengo volunteered to work with organizations which have cancer at their forefront. She is the chairperson, Uganda Women’s Cancer Support Organization. She also served as a board member to Uganda Cancer society an umbrella organization. She has played an integral role in directing and making informed decisions for effective patient support services at the Cancer Charity Foundation.
Early detection saved Mayengo’s life, we hope the women and men out there can go for their medical breast cancer screening now.