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My triumph over cancer

Bilha Gichuru’s journey with cancer began in March 2010, when she went for her annual medical check-up. The mammogram showed suspicious activity, though the biopsy turned out negative.

“Deep inside, I was unsettled and though I believe in miracles, I had some fear. In October of the same year, I felt I should go for a second mammogram and this time, I was diagnosed with stage two cancer,” she says.

Bilha decided to have surgery at a UK-based hospital that specialises in breast cancer.

Lost eyelashes

“When you realise that you have cancer, you begin to question your existence. Most people think of death, stigma or what others will say. I was more concerned about my loved ones and how they would be affected than about my ability to cope,” says Bilha.

She chose to reflect on her relationship with God and that is where she drew her strength. Soon, it was time for chemotherapy.

“You know, cancer comes with one agenda, to take you out, and the pain of chemotherapy is extreme. Cancer is a thief that comes to kill, steal, and destroy. I lost my hair, eye lashes, and eye brows, nails and my complexion changed due to the treatment. I had to fight back and starve it of the power to put me down,” she says.

Bilha went through chemotherapy successfully and in June last year, she began to contemplate breast reconstruction surgery. She did her research and zeroed in on Kenya.

Priced possession

On September 14 this year, at 8am, Bilha was wheeled to theatre for a seven-hour surgery. Doctors and nurses expected to put her in the High Dependency Unit (HDU), but they were in for a surprise.

“I woke up smiling, waved to my family saying. ‘Hi guys!’ They couldn’t believe it,” she says.

It’s been a month since her reconstructive surgery and Bilha says her replaced breast feels normal, complete with sensitivity and blood flow.

She exercises and goes about her business. She is looking forward to doing some laps around the swimming pool in a month’s time.

“For any woman, the breast is a prized possession. Though it does not define me, knowing that am not void gave me that ‘Wow!” feeling. Nothing beats the satisfaction of knowing that you can wear a strapless dress without fear,” she says.

“I am in the list of the privileged few, making a decision like this is not easy,” she adds.