At 17, my mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. As her caregiver, I assisted her in every way needed in and out of the hospital. I saw her go through the pains of a lumpectomy and radical hysterectomy. After surgery, I can remember helping the medical transporters take her back to recovery room. She was in pain. These images never disappeared from my mind.
My motherâ€™s illness placed a huge financial burden on our family during her treatment and many years afterwards. Both real estate and other items of value were sold not only to cater for the cost of treatment but to maintain her quality of life.
My mother was never sure she would survive cancer, I remember the night prior to surgery, before we actually embarked on the 6 hours bus ride to the hospital, she handed to me her will. It was a very difficult moment and experience for both of us. We hugged each other in tears and said good night not knowing if we would have another chance. With surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, my mother is a breast cancer survivor today after more than 20 years.