I rarely get the chance to look at myself in a full length mirror without my clothes on. But when I do, it’s usually with a critical eye figuring out what should have been different. That’s exactly what I was doing one day in 2003 when I noticed something different. My left breast seemed a bit lighter in complexion. I had never noticed it before and I swore it had not been like that earlier. I did a self-examination and discovered a lump in there that felt completely out of place. I got dressed as fast as I could and ran out to go tell my mum. She is a nurse so I figured she would know exactly what this was. My mum is usually the “let’s-just-pray-about-it” type but this time she took me to the hospital as soon as she could take a day off. The doctor who saw me was white, aging and had extremely dry hands. I was 14 so he was the first guy who ever saw let alone touched my boobs. He gave us two options, we could either wait for it to disappear on its own or we could surgically remove it. We chose the former, hoping with enough time everything would go back in its place.
And that is when I began to pray. I prayed so fervently to God to heal me. I had heard so many testimonies about people getting healed of cancer and such. I figured if I prayed enough God would surely hear me. My mother also brought in her multiple prayer skills, I was so sure it was going to work. The whole time in my mind I kept on wondering why it had to be me. I lived in a house full of girls because I had a number of cousins living with us. it puzzled me that out of all of them, the ordeal had to fall on me, the youngest among them. But I kept praying and in that period I answered more altar calls than ever.
Months later, the review visit revealed that I would have to have the operation because the lump didn’t seem to be in a hurry to leave. I don’t remember if I was excited or scared but I remember being dismayed because I was told not to eat the night before the operation day. The day came, the operation was successfully carried out but now the apprehension built up. We waited for the doctors to tell us if it was a cancerous or benign tumor. Hours later, my mother got the news, it was benign. This meant it was just a bunch of cells gone crazy. I had evaded a cancer scare.
The weeks after that were spent healing and being the center of the family’s attention. It was glorious. It took me so many months to realize that I had another problem. I no longer prayed for anything. I had asked God to heal me but he didn’t so why should I ask him for anything else. So I quietly went on with my life and my silent distrust of God. I figured he had better things to do than concentrate on a 14 year old so I spared him the trouble and kept away from him. This went on for a long while. I don’t recall what triggered the moment of epiphany but one day I realized I had been caught up in wrong assumptions. I had been waiting for a magical moment. A moment when I would touch my breast and voila! No lump. But I finally realized I had experienced my own miracle, the lump was successfully removed and I had no reason to fear cancer. So now instead of being angry at God, I’m grateful. I’m grateful that all the parts of my body are functional. I’m grateful for skilled doctors and surgeons. I’m grateful for health. I’m grateful for life.
Breast cancer is a reality. I might have dodged a bullet but I know a few women that couldn’t. So I urge all women and girls to have those mirror moments when you examine your bodies carefully. Early detection can help save your life.