You have glioblastoma

You have glioblastoma… The words sounded in the head like the town-crier’s gong from the mother’s village. My heart dropped and it was as though whole world just collapsed. What? How? Why? So many questions and thoughts ran through my mind unchecked. How can I have this diagnosis at the summer of my life; I was only 48. What do I tell my family? I already told Dotun I was going to the hospital for a quick checkup after work. He had been pressuring me to following my insistent complains of recurrent migraines and nausea. Little did we know there was a bomb ticking that could go off at any time. I had visited the hospital last week and did some tests. The doctor requested I come back after a week, gave me some meds and I thought that was it. Which kain thing be this now sef eh? The doctor explained to me all I could do and he sounded hopeful; I could do surgery, chemo and radiation therapy, where the money dey? I just smiled at him and he looked at me puzzled. I just kept on nodding and laughing softly to myself as I left the hospital. As I drove home, I was so deep in thought that apart from looking straight ahead at the road, I paid attention to nothing else. Lagos played out in from of me, I didn’t notice; the noise, the hustle and bustle, the traffic on the other side. I was thinking about my kids; 3 of them , my job(I recently made partner at my workplace), my family members and all I had. How could this happen to me? As I curved the roundabout not so far from the supermarket, my phone beeped; it was Dotun, my husband. Took a quick glance at the phone on the passenger seat and shook my head, I wasn’t picking up. I didn’t have the strength to talk yet. Looking up I saw a mother and her little girl walk into the supermarket. I smiled; the little girl was the same age as my last kid Timi. A tear slipped down my face as I thought of my poor kids; they would grow up without knowing me. As I neared the bend to my street, my heart began to pound. I couldn’t go home yet. I drove on further and made my way to a park. There I sat with my hands placed on my head. I sat like that for a while and then brought out my phone; called my two friends and then looked up the condition. Google proved helpful and I got enough information on glioblastoma. It was the most aggressive cancer form. A grade IV astrocytoma with symptoms similar to stroke. My heart sank lower as I read on. Glioblastoma, also called Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM was the most lethal cancer type; no cure, mo gbe! The symptoms include headaches, nausea personality changes and progressively loss of consciousness. No wonder the doctor requested I do a CT scan, an MRI scan and tissue biopsy last week. He must have been really shocked. It was rare for a woman and at my age hmmph! Onset is usually after 60 years and it affects males more than females. My prognosis from the hospital was bleak. If I could manage the condition, I had some 12months to live. If not, 3 months max. After an hour, Tina and Dara arrived. We sat there holding hands and staring off into space as it grew dark. I thought back to what the doctor said and sighed. My friends hugged me and I cried for a while. I said “girls I have twelve months max. I am dying, alright!” Tina spoke up “you won’t die, die ke.” She said “we are always here for you dearie, ko le to yen there are options right?” “Does Dotun know yet?” that was Dara. I shook my head and she nodded. They looked at me and I smiled at them. Tina said “we are going to get through this, whatever we have to do eh; Dami don’t worry. This would pass too eh? Ma ronu ju, so gbo?” Dara squeezed my hand and said, “Let’s get you home.” I had the best sisters in the world. I found strength in their gentle reassuring presence, the fighter in me started to stir. Hope grew in me and the voices in my head, saying I would soon die and bla bla bla grew faint. That was how it all began for me. I went home that day with lightness in my step. I told Dotun and well he didn’t know what to do at first, or what to say; he was really shocked, he never experrerit. That was a year ago though. I still have glioblastoma, but I’m doing great. I’ve had one surgery and chemo. I’m faithful to my meds and medical appointments; I have the best support circle on the world. If you don’t have people like Tina and Dara, you don’t know what you are missing out on. Dotun has been so loving, my kids? Wonderful as always! I joined this support group for people with cancer and the whole experience has been amazing. We have people with all kinds of cases and all. We support, encourage and motivate each other. It hasn’t been easy, we lost Munietu last month: she had hepatic cancer. Losing her was painful, and it affected some members of the group but we are back together now. We raise money for each other’s treatments (if he/she can’t afford it), hold talks, take part in advocacy for ourselves and others, we visit hospitals and care homes. We do a lot of this and more. I’m living this phase of my life carefully but with style and I’m so fulfilled every day; making the most of every minute. I am unstoppable and I will fight for a cancer-free world.
Dami, Lagos.

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