Rose Atieno had a small swelling on her right breast in 2007 which she ignored with hopes that it was nothing serious but would heal soon.
Little did she know this would be the beginning of her long and painful experience with breast cancer.
“Even my husband thought it was a small lump that would go away with time.” She narrated
As the swelling grew, it started to bleed and pain increased gradually. This disrupted the daily routine of Atieno who sold vegetables to residents of Kariobangi.
“I used to bleed daily but this never alarmed me despite my health deterioration. But there is this one day I bled a lot, prompting me to seek medical attention.” She said.
With the help of family members and neighbors, she visited Nairobi Hospice who referred me to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) for tests.
The doctor who attended to Atieno referred her to Mbagathi District Hospital for blood transfusion having lost a lot of blood from the continuous bleeding she had experienced.
“I was admitted at Mbagathi and transfused with 5 pints of blood, where I stayed for a period of two weeks. My husband paid for the stay at Mbagathi while Nairobi Hospice assisted to settle the transfusion expenses.” She said
When Atieno completed her stay at Mbagathi, she went back to Kenyatta for results where she was informed of her ailment, breast cancer.
“I felt bad having heard that the disease has no cure from the radio. In fact I heard that it kills. I cried all the way back home.” She said.
Atieno says that her six children cried alongside but they kept encouraging her that she would be fine.
“On Wednesdays, Nairobi Hospice comes to Kariobangi and I managed to share with them my agony. They once again invited me to the hospice.” She said.
Through Nairobi Hospice, Atieno managed to get five injections for breast cancer at KNH beginning July to December 2012.
As my health improved, I joined Nairobi Hospice day care sessions that take place every Thursday where we share with fellow patients.
“The day care sessions at Nairobi Hospice have greatly boosted my courage to fight this cancer as we share our experiences and eat at the forum. At times we are visited my friends of the hospice who bring us foodstuffs that we take home. This makes us happy knowing there are people who love and care for us and it helps us to heal.” She said.
“I am waiting for chemotherapy beginning sometime this month (May 2013). The size of my breast has greatly reduced and I can once again walk upright. Before I came to hospice, I could hardly walk, couldn’t feed myself nor do any house activities.” She narrates.
Of late, Atieno says she is doing quite fine. The size of her breast has greatly reduced and she feels as if she is healed.
She added that her kids are happy to see her health improve greatly. She is able to run most errands at her home and intends to revive her small vegetable selling business soon.
“I give testimony every Sunday at our church and a most people still do not believe I am the one when we meet.” She said.
She thanked the staff of Nairobi Hospice and the well-wishers for the support they are offering to patients, some of whom had lost hope.