My Name is Gift Shalom Mupeta And This Is My Cancer Story….
It all began like a mosquito bite on top of my right breast in 2016. As it was painless, I did not give it much attention. After a year, I started feeling a very sharp pain whenever I touched it, intensifying when bathing. The pain finally forced me to seek medical help from my local clinic. After some preliminary tests I was transferred to Kitwe Teaching Hospital for further investigations where I was referred to the skin clinic. Eventually I had a biopsy which is a procedure to ……
The results of the biopsy took two weeks. In my interview with the Zambian Cancer Society, I told them that during this time my “mosquito bite” not only became a very big wound but the area where they took the sample from became bigger too. Two weeks felt like two years. I really wanted to my know my results but surprisingly, when they were ready I became very nervous. Suspecting breast cancer, I was referred to the Cancer Diseases Hospital in Lusaka. More tests were done including a CT scan, MRI and mammogram. Finally, all my results were ready. The news was devastating! The doctor told me “Madam Gift, you have breast cancer, and it is in the last stage.”
GIVEN 6 MONTHS TO LIVE
Last stage? What does that mean doctor, I asked? He told me that the cancer was in stage 4 meaning it had spread to other parts of the body and cannot be cured. He further went on to say that that there was nothing that could be done for now. I recall being told that I should be happy and enjoy life with my loved ones as I had about 6 months to live. I cried uncontrollably. They tried counselling me, but I had so much pain within my heart. I went home depressed. My life did not make sense anymore, I felt useless. I started counting my days here on earth. They seemed to move so quickly. 3 months passed which meant that I had another 3 months to live. I asked myself what I would do in my last 3 three months? I slowly started giving up on life.
PREPARING FOR DEATH?
I began making peace with the people around me, I started praying and reading the bible more often. One day I came across an inspirational verse; PSALMS 118: 17. “I WILL NOT DIE UNTILL I TELL PEOPLE WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE UPON MY LIFE.” From that day onwards, I had a mindset shift. I refused to give up! I told myself that my God is on the throne and that ‘I will not die until I tell people what the Lord has done upon my life.’
Soon afterwards, I noticed my wound began healing. Emboldened I went back to the Cancer Disease Hospital. The doctor was surprised to see me and asked me what I was doing there. I told him that with faith I had come to start cancer treatment. He told me that I could not start treatment because I could die before it was completed. Stubbornly I insisted declaring that I would not die prematurely. At this point I believe God intervened for me. The doctor asked me to redo certain tests again which I eagerly did. The results came back within a week and my cancer had miraculously downstaged to stage 2. To God be the glory!
CANCER TREATMENT AND ITS SIDE-EFFECTS
I started chemotherapy treatment and did 6 cycles. Like many others I lost my hair, my skin not only turned black but become very wrinkled like that of an old woman. I lost my sense of taste and developed cataracts. This made it difficult to see clearly. I also had a full mastectomy, which is breast removal surgery and radiotherapy. In 2017 I began a 5-year course of hormonal therapy treatment. This caused early menopause with accompanying almost unbearable hot flushes. But I soldier on!
GIFT OF LIFE
Today, am sharing my story with the Zambian Cancer Society to ‘tell people what the Lord has done upon my life.’ To someone who is going through what I went through, know that God can do wonders!! Trust in Him and have FAITH. I was told I had 6 months to live that was 4 years ago. Today, I have no cancer cells in my body. Through my cancer journey, one big lesson I learnt is that early diagnosis and treatment saves lives. Have your breasts checked regularly.
My name is Gift Mupeta. I am a Cancer Survivor and HIV positive. I thank God for the GIFT of life!
Pictured below is Gift Shalom Mupeta
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