‘My Hus­band Walked Away, My Fa­ther Died’

Can­cer sur­vivor re­counts ordeal

Fiji Sun - - Nation - ASHNA KU­MAR Feed­back: ashna.ku­mar@fi­jisun.com.fj

Breast can­cer sur­vivor Salome Nain­oca can­not for­get when her hus­band walked out on her in July last year.

“I had vir­tu­ally given up. I was bedrid­den, tired and breath­less. My hus­band sim­ply walked out of the fam­ily.”

If that was not enough, her fa­ther, who had flown from Van­u­atu, to take care of her and the chil­dren, died from in­juries he re­ceived in a traf­fic ac­ci­dent. Ms Nain­oca re­counted the story dur­ing the Pink­to­ber launch at Tanoa Plaza in Suva on Fri­day. Now a Fiji Can­cer So­ci­ety vol­un­teer, Mrs Nain­oca, said it seemed like the whole world was crash­ing down on her. She had ba­si­cally lost hope be­cause the man she re­lied on to pro­vide for her and three young chil­dren had gone. “My fa­ther, who was in Vanu­tau, flew here and took care of the fam­ily. But tragedy struck again. He died from in­juries he re­ceived from a traf­fic ac­ci­dent in Suva,” she said When Ms Nain­oca was first di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer in 2012, she was 28, and mar­ried with two chil­dren.

She said: “One day, I no­ticed changes on my left breast with a lump. I went straight to the hos­pi­tal to seek med­i­cal help. “They (at hos­pi­tal) scanned and told me the lump was two by two cen­time­tres and it could be can­cer­ous. “It was not easy for me to hear the news as I thought of my very young fam­ily. “I was ad­vised I needed a mas­tec­tomy,” Ms Nain­oca said. Mas­tec­tomy is a surgery to re­move all breast tis­sue from a breast as a way to treat or pre­vent breast can­cer.

She said she had her left breast re­moved when she un­der­went the mas­tec­tomy surgery; to pre­vent the can­cer from spread­ing. “I was ad­vised that I needed four cy­cles of chemo­ther­apy. “I took up the chemo­ther­apy pro­ce­dures but un­for­tu­nately I had only com­pleted two cy­cles as my body was giv­ing up; I couldn’t cope up. “I am thank­ful I had my fam­ily by my side and be­cause of that, I re­gained bet­ter health,” Ms Nain­oca said. She was ex­pect­ing a child in 2014 but she was in a dilemma. The doc­tors had ad­vised her she would have to choose be­tween her child and her­self. “I was seven months preg­nant when I was ad­vised by the doc­tor to choose be­tween my un­born child and my­self. “The doc­tors told me that they will have to ter­mi­nate my preg­nancy as my can­cer could re­oc­cur.

“It was re­ally hard for me to de­cide be­cause my un­born child was al­ready mov­ing and fully formed. “I had de­cided right away to save my un­born child. And what­ever hap­pens af­ter that; I will cope with it as it is my de­ci­sion.

“I gave birth to a beau­ti­ful baby girl in March 2015. When she was three months old, I started to feel sick. “My can­cer had re­oc­curred and spread to my right breast. I had rel­a­tives who gave me herbal reme­dies. “Un­for­tu­nately, each day my health got worse and I felt sicker. “I came to a stage where my body com­pletely gave up as I was bedrid­den and couldn’t breast feed my baby girl. “It added pres­sure to me and un­for­tu­nately my hus­band walked out from the fam­ily.

“I thank the Lord for the life of my chil­dren and for his con­tin­u­ous bless­ing upon us dur­ing the hard times,” Ms Nain­oca said. She said her chil­dren had been her big­gest sup­port through­out her jour­ney bat­tling for breast can­cer. “They had told me, ‘mum, this is re­al­ity and we have to face it. We have to keep strong and hold onto each other.’ “They stood by me and en­cour­aged me ev­ery day. My el­dest daugh­ter would be there to take care of my new born. “My chil­dren had taken me to the hos­pi­tal and I was con­firmed that my can­cer had spread. “It was not an easy jour­ney to go through the same process again and have my right breast re­moved.

“I was ad­vised again for four cy­cles of chemo­ther­apy. And I com­pleted my four cy­cles of chemo­ther­apy. “Af­ter my chemo­ther­apy, I re­gained health; I stood up and started to walk around. Un­for­tu­nately the very next day, my fa­ther passed away. “He was in­volved in an ac­ci­dent at Ratu Dovi Road and passed away a day af­ter I com­pleted my chemothe­r­a­phy. “I thank the Fiji Can­cer So­ci­ety for be­ing there for me in terms of pro­vid­ing coun­selling, trans­porta­tion and fi­nan­cial sup­port for me and my chil­dren,” Ms Nain­oca said. She en­cour­aged other breast can­cer fight­ers to keep fight­ing and never lose hope. Edited by Paula Tu­vuki

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