As we come to the close of Breast Cancer Awareness month, here is a story of courage, faith and resilience.
When you are thirty years old, you are on top of the world! You have actually gotten to the place where many people fear. You are thinking about your next steps in life, career, relationships, babies and stability. You have passed the stormy 20’s and now you comprehend what life really is. I hear thirties are a woman’s best years since we age fine like wine. I can’t wait to see my thirties. This was the story of Maryl Mukami before she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017.
Maryl Mukami was at the height of her life when she began to feel certain changes in her body. She started to notice that her left breast was getting hard, swollen and painful. She consulted a doctor at Texas Cancer and Kenyatta. After going through check-ups, the doctor broke the news to a shocked and confused Maryl. For a moment, the world must have stopped. It was as if she had not heard the doctor’s words correctly. Still she listened to him as he told her that her life was not over and that she could fight the cancer.
She shared the news with her family and even though it was heavy for them, they promised that they would be with her every step of the way. For Maryl, the news weighed heavily because of her son who was only seven years at the time. He was her young and she knew that she had to fight tooth and nail to make sure she would still be there for him. Even though she couldn’t tell him, he was the motivation for her fight.
Maryl admits to being scared at that time, more than she had ever been. Uncertainty rang in her mind as she started undergoing treatment. She says, “it’s not easy fighting any kind of cancer, as a breast cancer victim, I have had my share of tears, grief, I have lost hope, gone through insurmountable pain. I have lost many friends, seen the true colors of family and experienced stigma.”
In between getting diagnosed, radio therapy, surgery and chemo, Maryl eyes and body opened up to a new book of life. One that many of us have not read through. One that was scary. At times she got broke and couldn’t afford money for painkillers. The chemo was difficult and often left her weak.
Society hasn’t made it easier for cancer patients. They still look at a braca victim as a walking corpse or someone cursed. People even think you will infect them, Maryl says. Its often difficult for cancer victims to work in between treatment and the obvious exhaustion. Maryl considers herself lucky for getting an understanding boss.
Cancer took away two beautiful years of Maryl’s life. The height of the scorching sun was when she began to lose her hair, become pale and her nails darkened. Insomnia and nightmares became constant friends. When around people, she would feign strength but later on breakdown when they left. Her self-esteem dropped and she lost faith in God. She gave up…
“But God works in mysterious ways, he used true friends to encourage me. He gave me strength to live and face everything. I gained true and real people in my life. People I can call anytime- my support system. They gave me the will to live. They gave me hope, a smile in spite of the pain. Some even sacrificed their sleep to be with me a whole night. I never lacked, food, medicine or shelter.”
Two years later, I meet a beautiful, confident and well Maryl Mukami. When I look at her, I see strength, resilience and yes, God. I see a beautiful woman who I can’t even think had any cancer. When I see her, I see hope for every other woman who has ever had to listen to a doctor tell her that she has cancer. Every woman who has ever felt that lump and pain in her breast. There is hope and Maryl Mukami is the evidence.
Maryl concludes by saying that she is a living testimony that cancer is just a scary name and even though she is not fully cured, God has her back. She still has scars which she attributes as the reminder of her struggles and God’s strength. She has reasons to be grateful and happy. The sexy mama shows me her fully-grown hair and nails.
“I am encouraging whoever is in a situation like mine, fight, fight fight! Cancer is not a death sentence or a permanent situation. It’s just a big scary name. There is God in heaven.!”