Opinion & Columnist

World Cancer Day: My story, not my obituary

Sihlesenkosi Mkondo

Sihlesenkosi Mkondo Features Correspondent
On the morning of February 4 last year, I gazed outside Herald House sipping coffee thinking about the commemorations of the World Cancer Day and wondering how many people were concerned about cancers.
Covid-19 far away from our shores was a disease not close to mind.

On March 25 I called the oncology team with a health concern and they offered to send the medication script directly to the pharmacy. I was sent home and requested to send someone to collect an off sick note of five days.
The doctors said they wanted to assess Covid-19 and to preserve lives of vulnerable groups. I thought they were overreacting a bit, but I obeyed.
On the day I was to get back to my desk and the business of research and sub-editing I found out that even Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN) was limiting staff due to Covid-19 and I was to remain home.

I like windows and where I live the window I prefer is by the couch.
So dear reader, for many months I sat on the couch and communicated with the newsroom via email and other social media.
While I could stare out of the window and worry about continuous pains in my body, it was frustrating because I missed the morning breeze I was used to enjoying on my way to work.

We are back there again. One may ask, what has all this to do with commemorating the World Cancer Day?
Well, there’re over 200 types of cancers known to affect the populace of Zimbabwe. Most cancers are not easily detectable to my knowledge with the exception of breast, cervical and prostate cancers.
These three can be detected early when people go to the medical facilities and get checked or screened. In Covid-19 times how many are willing to take the risk for what may be considered a now-less problem of cancer checks?
This year as we commemorate World Cancer Day we take into cognisance the havoc Covid-19 has wreaked on people.
We note with concern the complications brought by Covid-19 to other important medical treatments have had to take a back stage.
The statistics of the havoc caused might not be at hand, but I can tell my story.
Cancer took advantage of the lockdown and progressed. The result was an emergency spinal compression and fusion surgery. Today I commemorate World Cancer Day relearning to get up from bed, relearning how to walk and swimming in medical bills.
Cancer in Covid-19 is a whole new ballgame.
My advice is a change of lifestyle habits and diets to try and stay free from cancer or to reduce the speed of spread.
Be mindful of health issues in this Covid-19 and maybe beyond. Maybe as a people we do need to seriously consider alternative medicine seriously.
A conversation for another day.

Important to living life to the fullest in what can easily be depressing times is to keep hope alive.
Laugh often and love genuinely. Life is not all about acquisitions and earthly possessions, feed your mind, soul and spirit with positive things.
I will leave you with a word from the Bible. “Even when you are old, I will take care of you. Even when your hair has turned grey, I will take care of you. I will carry you, and I will save you.” Isaiah 46:4 ICB.
#Hope4Sihle #Hope4Cancer #Thistooshallpass #Maskup