Tag Archive | #Cancer

Posts That Caught My Interest #7

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Here are a couple of posts to appreciate.

Fearless Friday

Even when it seems we don’t have it all together, there might be a smidgen of courage in there somewhere.

The Big C

A beautiful, honest and sensitive post.

12 ways to maintain the Christmas spirit after Christmas

The spirit of giving shouldn’t be only for Christmas.

I am hoping for some good karma 

Has your site ever gone missing on you? How did you resolve it? Can you help Cathy?

As a parent, we all do it

A post that made me smile. Parenting is the hardest job we get to do. No manuals, no classes. You simply jump in and wade your way through.

Comments closed to encourage you to visit the featured links.

Regards and have a great weekend.

Jacqueline

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Since You’ve Been Gone…

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I see you around the corner, the likeness of your eyes in the eyes of a total stranger down the shopping aisle.
It startles me.

I see you in everything that I look around me.
In the random formation of the clouds.
I sometimes see your wise eyes peeking through and winking at me.
It gives me joy.

I hear you in my thoughts. Your words of wisdom, of love, of encouragement
Are etched upon my soul.
They keep me warm.

I hear you in the music. The music that you loved so much, that I grew up knowing that love.
They sounds of music comfort me.

I see you in my little boy’s face. Sometimes, I stare at him so hard, as I seek tell tales of you written in his genetics.
It leaves me amazed.

I see you in the hands of a gardener pruning plants, in the gentle waves of a blooming plant, you loved all things green and they did so well in your hands.
It makes me smile.

I feel you in the drumbeats of my heart, because you are me and I am you. Everyday, my thoughts dwell on you, for in every little thing I see you.

I visualize you looking on from high up and I wish my hands could stretch up so high to give you a hug.
I get some comfort from the warmth of the Sun, telling my mind that you are with me.

In the smile, in the laugh, the stare, the walk, the phrase in a young child’s face.

I catch myself holding one-sided conversations with you and your imagined responses prompt me to sigh, to laugh and to cry.

I see you.
In everything that I am.

To you my dear dad. Always.

Yesterday was World Cancer Day, I lost my dear dad to Cancer two years ago. Sometimes, the pain is just so raw that it clogs my chest and my throat. He was a very lovely human and a fabulous dad. If there is one ailment that I could wish away from the World, it would be Cancer.

To those battling The Big C, may abundant Grace and Strength remain your portion. We will beat it. Blessings.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Barbara

Her eyes

The pain stung her flesh,

But couldn’t pierce her soul!

Ha! She laughed in it’s face.

Her defiant laughter, a taunt in pains face.

Fiercely she fought,

Giving it her all,

Victorious she won,

Depriving pain, the gain of it all,

Though this flesh is gone for good,

She has exchanged it for a better one,

Her spirit lives on,

Her laughter shall echo in the winds,

Her unfading presence,

A cloak of comfort,

To those she left behind.

In memory of Barbara Beacham

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

inlinkz

As most of you know by now, Barbara Beacham, the lovely host of “Monday’s Finish the Story” flash fiction challenge, passed away from cancer, on Sunday, November 22.

Because she was a beacon for many of us, several people have asked that a flash fiction challenge be done in her honor and in her memory. This is a ‘special’ challenge and does not replace the normal weekly challenge which will be posted as normal.

Thank you Priceless Joy for presenting this humbling idea. May she rest well.

Image credit: Pixabay

Staring Nightmare in the Face…personal story

This is one of my stories that I have found a bit difficult to write, but sometimes, just sometimes, we have to write to encourage, we write to strengthen, we write to heal and we write for ourselves, reliving our stories and letting it out.Eternal memory

Fear is one intangible menace that lurks in dark corners on one’s path of life. It may be invisible to the eye but felt sharply in the heart.

It can destabilize us, cause emotional distress and worry. It will assume as many disguises as possible and taunt as wickedly as possible.

I am not quite sure when the spirit of fear cloaked my being as a child, but when I reflect on it, I think it might have been consciously triggered when I witnessed the simultaneous loss of my beautiful siblings.

It was an experience in my young mind, which left my mum very distraught and I remember vividly her attempt to jump out of our moving vehicle when we were going for the burial.

I was seated in the back of the car clutching her and as small as I was, around 7 years, I remember pleading with her not to go. She was devastated.

I developed that fear of losing my loved ones, that I would find myself staying awake at nights in my bed and listening until my dad came home, then I would fall asleep.

My parents were pretty close and I not only feared losing my dad, but I worried about the effect of his loss on our family in general and my mother in particular.

I had to stare that fear in the eye just over two years ago.

Following various symptoms and a battery of painful tests, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and the battle for his life commenced.

It was an emotionally stretching journey for the entire family, but what amazed me was that, not for one day, not even once did my dad grumble despite all the pains that he was having.

I would call morning and night to talk to him, fly down to see him and sit with him and he never muttered one word of complaint.

Stoically, he ate all the vegetable concoctions my mother came up with through research, took his drugs and went through all the paces in good spirit – I am doubtful that my mouth would not have spewed all the grumbling under the sun.

Few weeks before he passed on, I started having anxiety attacks and frequent diarrhea without any specific reason. Medically nothing was detected but this continued for a bit. As always, I spoke to both of them everyday, praying with and encouraging them and my dad sounded pretty strong.

On Friday, May 4th evening, 2013, I decided to travel down with the red eye flight to see them for the weekend, luckily I was in Lagos at that time, and I spoke to my dad telling him that I would see him the following morning. We had a good chat.

At 4:00a.m. my phone rang and once I saw the number on the screen my heart froze. I was afraid to pick my phone. All sorts of thoughts raced through my head as I held the ringing phone. It was my mother and I knew.

I knew that something dreadful had happened. I knew that she wouldn’t call at that time for nothing when she knew that I was coming in within the next few hours.

I picked up the phone and my mum’s piercing cries cut into my heart.

The rushing noisy sensation in my head and lightheaded feeling was immense. My bowel movement simply got violent and I started hyperventilating. Fortunately my husband was with me and he held me, he was simply my rock.

How I got on that flight is a hazy memory. My husband helped me to get ready, put me on the flight, made arrangements for my pick up at the airport because I was falling to pieces and almost insensate.

I joined my mum and the picture of my dad stretched out as if he was in deep sleep remains in my eyes.

I called him. I praised him. I sang to him, but he never answered.

The tempest broke. I wailed. I asked him why? Couldn’t he have waited just a little longer? Not a word. Hah! Death you have stung me badly!

In the face of my mum’s instability I had to be strong. I had to be strong for her even as I tore up inside. She had just lost her husband of 40 years plus and I knew that our lives was about to change.

One of my brothers had hurried over to join us as well. We made arrangements and took my dad to the mortuary. Arranged for his handling, started his burial arrangements and coincidentally, my worrying diarrhea stopped suddenly the way that it had started.

It was not an easy journey. Burial arrangements in my place and I daresay in Africa, is a major feat and since he was a traditional title holder, it was more expensive but my dad deserved the befitting burial that he received.

Can I claim that having faced that, that I no longer have fears? That would be telling a blatant lie.

Did the experience make me stronger? A bit. I had no choice but to be strong and luckily as a family we supported each other.

I learnt that things could turn in a blink of an eye and never to take life or my loved ones for granted.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

In response to NaBloPoMo prompt Friday, November 6

What was your biggest fear as a child? Do you still have it today? If it went away, when did your feelings changes?

A lovely lady…a shopping encounter

Strength & Courage Quotes 12

Whats on my mind you ask?

This evening, I went grocery shopping with the children and as we traipsed lazily down the aisle, a young, tall, slim, beautiful lady passed me by with a young child.

The first thing that I saw was her hair that was shaved to the scalp and she wore the skin-cut with pride.

I tried not to stare, but I knew. My spirit grew disquietened.

In my heart, I knew that this lovely soul is battling for her life.

We walked past her and continued our shopping but my mind couldn’t focus.

After a while, I backtracked several aisles down to find her. I felt a bit nervous that she might not appreciate my disturbing her peace, but a little voice in my heart said Go! So I continued.

I approached tentatively and out-rightly told her that I noticed her shaved scalp and she confirmed that she has breast cancer.

My heart went out to this total stranger. I have witnessed first hand the heart-rending havoc that cancer wreaks on sufferers.

We talked for a while, it turned out she has a chemo/radiation session tomorrow and of course she is trying to live life as normal as possible especially for her young child.

By the end of our discussion, ironically, she ended up comforting me. We shared a blessing and a hug.

I admire her strength and really wish her well. I wish her miracles. Cancer

I wish more Grace and strength to those who are suffering at this time.

May faith, peace and healing hands be your portion.

Kind regards.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Slaying the giant…

braveEach day that dawned, was met with a fervent prayer, I was hoping for some miracle of healing and grace to occur but it seemed as if I was fighting a losing battle with a faceless giant that equally had a very big name.

I was still breast feeding my infant when I found the little bump. I mentioned it in passing to a friend over lunch and she suggested that I should see a doctor. She tried to reassure me that it was probably nothing to panic over, that I should try and do the needful to get it over and done with. I let it slide for a bit. Partially because I was in denial and maybe, I thought that the more I failed to acknowledge its presence, it would probably go away through wishful thinking after all, I was just 32 years old.

What I had also failed to tell her was that I did not have the funds to run the necessary tests. My pride stood in my way.
The fact of the matter is that the society where I came from was a society where medical intervention came at an enormous cost to its citizenry and money was not readily available. There was no available medical insurance for the commonest man and we depended heavily on local chemists for almost every ailment known to man. It was cheaper.

Yet that nagging fear could not be suppressed and I eventually summoned the courage to talk to a midwife during a routine clinical immunization for my child.
She palpated my breasts and in her exact words, told me that my breasts were turgid, possibly because I was still breastfeeding and the milk ducts were always filling up. She said that she couldn’t really feel anything and I left with a little sense of relief and hope in my heart.

Months went by and the bump became a sizable lump. I could no longer deny to myself that something was wrong. Scurrying around for much needed funds, I raised the prohibitive amount and traveled to the city to run the required mammography, biopsies, blood work and so forth. The results came back packing a punch. I had ductal carcinoma in situ – simply put, I had breast cancer.

I was numb from shock, even though a part of me was braced for any bad news, I still felt as if a wrecking ball had just hit me. I hesitated to share my news with anyone for a while. In the privacy of my closet, I simply railed at God in madness and sadness, oscillating between deep depression and the need to fight and stay alive. The pressure of it all sat heavily on my shoulders and each day was filled with indescribable heart ache.

To fight, I had to share my sad news with family and friends alike. They rallied around me, praying for me, raising money for surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Due to the spread to both breasts, I had a double mastectomy followed by a battery of chemotherapy and radiation. Needless to say, I lost my hair along with my breasts, lost tremendous amount of weight and felt sick most of the time.

All seemed clear for a brief interlude of three years. My life had changed irrevocably and my days were perpetually dotted with Tamoxifen and a whole cocktail of other drugs. I could have lived with that, if that is what it would have taken, but just a few weeks after my thirty-fifth birthday, I started coughing continuously and suffered from shortness of breath.

With my previous experience, I did not waste time to consult a doctor. My lungs were now affected, the cancer had metastasized.
“How long”? I asked the doctor.
As gently as he could, he told me, months, a year, who knows? Just try and put your house in order.

We fought some more but time was running out. The medical approach was now palliative. I often wondered, if early detection would have saved my life? Statistically, it has been proven that the mortality rate can be reduced through early screening and detection.

I thought of my two boys and cried out my heart that I would not live to see them grow. I wept for dreams that would never have the opportunity to materialize. I tried to make peace with myself and my World. I stopped castigating myself for procrastinating when I found the first little bump. I started soaking up as much memories as I could take in (on the days that I felt strong enough), searching for laughter with new intent and purpose and I began to experience a peace of mind that I could not explain.
Documenting all my thoughts, writing little letters to my boys and my husband, I wrote each one to mark the milestones in their lives and then, I planned my own funeral.

I was laid to rest peacefully, transitioning from a familiar World to one that I could only imagine. Fortunately, I am free from cancer, free from its debilitating pain and mind boggling cost. At long last, I get to be a singing soprano in the heavenly choirs.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Nota bene: Many of us have probably lost a family member or a dear friend to cancer. We may even know someone currently battling with this difficult challenge. Let us keep praying that an absolute cure will be found for this scourge that is decimating mankind. Let us uphold those who journey through this affliction, that they receive extraordinary grace to fight and slay this giant.