Lillian Walubita’s Story

My name is Lillian Walubita. This is my story.  A few months before my wedding I noticed a lump in my left breast which I brought to my mother’s attention. Since neither of us had any idea what it could be she advised me to go Konkola Mine Hospital in Chililabombwe to have it checked. After several tests, I was referred to the Cancer Diseases Hospital in Lusaka to start treatment.

During my first visit to CDH, I was shocked to see many people without hair.  I wondered with great apprehension what kind of disease cancer was.  I was soon to find out.

My first treatment was a mastectomy which is breast removal surgery. The news that my breast was going to be removed left me in a big shock! I thought to myself ‘now am going to lose two things, my breast and my fiancé.

At this point, I was so sure that my then fiancé Eric would leave me for a woman with both breasts. This is because I somehow felt less of a woman because I would only have one breast. My self-esteem became very low but one thing I will always be grateful for is my fiancé who stood by me. He had more hope than I that I would get better than I had in myself. My second treatment was chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is an aggressive anti-cancer treatment that destroys cancer cells in the body. I thought that surgery was the toughest treatment until I was on chemotherapy. During this time, I lost my long black beautiful hair, and my weight dropped due to constant nausea. I was receiving chemotherapy every 3 weeks.  My fiancé was staying in Lusaka and I was Chililabomwe, so every time after my treatment he would immediately take me back home to  Chililabombwe before the side effects kicked in. He would return to Lusaka the following morning because he had to work. Dealing with the side effects needed very good care (those that have been on this cancer road will agree with me) and my family and friends were always there for me. My fiancé’s family also showed me love and support.

Radiotherapy is a treatment used to kill or shrink cancer cells. This was the third treatment I underwent.  It was a little manageable. Even though I received a lot of support from family, friends, and doctors I went to bed in tears most of the time because it was not an easy journey.  A lot of things froze in my life. I could not work, and my wedding kept being put off. While on radiation treatment, my fiancé sat me down and he said to me “Lillian we are not waiting anymore.  I want you to be my wife”. So, we started all the preparations, and two weeks before I finished the treatment we got married.  I remember wearing a wig during the wedding because I had no hair, but this was one of my happiest days ever! A year after the diagnosis God answered my prayers. I was declared cancer-free!

To reduce the risk of cancer recurring I was put on a drug for 5 years.  This also meant that I could not conceive during this period. It was not easy staying in marriage without a child.  I heard a lot of negative things about me, but my husband had faith that one day we would have biological children. Six years later God answered our prayers. We are now expecting our first child. One thing I have learnt during my journey is that God has plans for each one of us. My biggest supporter was my then fiancé who is now my husband. There was no day that I went to the cancer hospital alone. He stood by me day in and day out. Eric showed me, unwavering love! I could not ask for a better husband. To top it all, I ended up doing a course in psychosocial counseling to help those in need.

Pictured above is Lillian and her husband Eric.



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