I hope wherever you are reading this from, you are having the best January of your life.
Too much of a stretch?
Okay, let me try again.
I hope wherever you are reading this from, your January 2019 is unfolding much better than mine is.
(Is that better? I hope so).
You can tell by the title of this post, that this January for me, and for so many people around me, is nothing but pure HELL.
It’s only the 17th of January, and I feel like I and the people I care about have lived 10 years within these first 17 days.
Let me explain.
Whenever we usher in a new year, we hope and pray for prosperity, health, success, promotions, wealth, love, and so many other desirable things.
We do this every year, and usually for me, January is a quiet month with very few surprises. Everything is moving slowly as we try to adjust ourselves to normal life after a long month of festivities.
But, not this January.
Nope! This one we’ve been hit by deadly surprises one after the other, and I can barely catch my breath. It almost feels like we are being cornered as we watch the invisible hand of death pick from all around us.
It’s only human to ask, am I next? Is someone I can’t imagine life without, next?
She’s hitting so close to home, and a pattern is forming, at least in my mind. And, I know I’m usually the paranoid one, the worrier, the overly anxious one, the overthinker; so maybe my concerns are baseless. Or are they?
So, what exactly has been happening? What’s got me so frazzled?
I’ll tell you. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
On the first weekend of 2019, my elder cousin was transported from a town called Nanyuki to Nairobi, our capital city, for emergency treatment.
She arrived at the wee hours of Saturday morning at Kenyatta Hospitality (our public national hospital), and my parents drove there to help with admission and stuff.
I went there during the day on Saturday, and I was shocked at how ill she was. She couldn’t swallow anything (she still can’t) because there was something blocking the food and water from passing through. She was so emaciated it was hard to believe it was the same woman. And, she’s in so much pain.
My parents and I have been taking turns visiting her since the day of admission, but it’s getting harder now to see her because her condition is getting worse every day.
This week they finally told us that she is suffering from throat cancer, and it is at the advanced stage. The doctors are not very confident that we can beat it.
This is not the only life-threatening disease that she has. She has suffered from epilepsy all her life, and these epileptic attacks have caused her to suffer so many physical injuries. For instance, during one of these epileptic episodes, her leg was severely burned when she kicked over the stove, and it burned her. To this day, several surgeries later, her leg still oozes pus sometimes, and her mobility is diminished.
She’s also suffered from chronic nose bleeding for years, and this has resulted in further complications.
This is not the first time that we as a family have experienced cancer. Both my maternal grandparents died from cancer. My maternal uncle and aunt also died from cancer. My real mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer a year or so before her death, and this must have contributed significantly to her decision to take her own life.
So, we’ve been down this road before, we know the outcome. Yes, there are better medicines now, and better equipment, but my research indicates that the survival rate for late stage throat cancer is still quite low in the country.
But, I’m not going to think about that. I’m going to think about her, her mother, her children, and her children’s children. I’m going to think about her healing, and I’m going to think about how we can reduce the pain.
I’ve seen her laugh a couple of times before and after the diagnosis. Seeing her laugh gives us strength; it gives us hope, and renews our spirit.
I’m also going to think about her eyes. She has these incredibly innocent white eyes. They are so beautiful, so childlike. I have never seen a middle aged woman with eyes like those, so clean.
Wherever this journey takes us, we shall walk together, for each other.
Did you know that Kenya is in the African Eosaphagal Cancer Corridor, which means we have the highest incidences of throat cancer in this region? We are basically a hotspot for throat cancer. Shocking!!
Part 2 and part 3 of this series are coming up shortly.
Try and have yourself a wonderful January, for my sake 💖💖💖💖💖