The time I thought I had cancer

Those who have had a brush with death know it’s an inherently scary idea, the fact that what lays beyond is, till this day, unknown. Maybe you’re among the few who allude no fear towards death, who remain ready to gallantly embrace  its coming. Or like me, you’re a youth, whose vibrancy provides a useful camouflage, so you fail to acknowledge that which exists by refraining from the thought of it until you are jarred to reality on a certain summers night when the newscaster reports the sudden death of an unknown  teen in Oklahoma.  You shudder with realization, death does exist and is lurking somewhere, that teen could have been you, might one day be you. You linger on that thought, only for a little while, till the vibrancy of your youth calls you once again into oblivion.

For some reason, I’ve always had the belief that  myself and those I held dear where immune to death, that we could not be susceptible to fatal illnesses because, God loved us too much to let us suffer. So when I read stories of people dying of Cancer or kids having Mitochondrial Encephalopathy, my reflex reaction was fear,sympathy and pity, but never really empathy because I didn’t understand what these people had to go through on a daily basis, and deep down, I felt there was some kind of shield that repelled fatal illnesses and occurrences from me and my loved ones. ( It didn’t matter that my grandmother had died of breast cancer, I had never met her, and although I loved her, to me, that illness ended in her generation)

When I began to notice brown patches on my inner cheek, I still wasn’t scared. “Remember that time you were stooling blood and you thought you had cancer but it turned out to be complications due to constipation” I’d say to myself, “this is just one of those minor stuff”.  I checked google all the same, just to be sure and safe.

Tip 1: Don’t go to google when you’re scared. He/She/It blows things out of proportions.

Results started attacking me as soon as I entered the search term “brown patch in cheek’. Melasma! Oral Melanotic Manule! Malignant Melonama! Benign! Oral Cancer! These words, these names almost drove me crazy, but I told myself “Keep calm, there really isn’t anything to worry about except the shape or texture of the patch changes”.

Jinx! I shouldn’t have said that. No the texture didn’t change, but the shape did. It began to expand, and expand, and then it appeared on my right cheek too.

Back to google to check out the symptoms of oral cancer

1. Swellings – Well, I took out my tooth three days ago(remember the cavity?) and I haven’t healed yet, but no, that’s not why that cheek is a bit swollen, its the cancer.
2. Unexplained bleeding- My gums bled a bit when I brushed last two weeks and the dentist said it was because I was due for a cleaning, but no, its the cancer.
3. Unexplained numbness in the mouth- My cheek still feels numb from all the ice cubes I’ve been using to speed the healing of my socket after taking out my tooth, but, i really think its cos of the cancer.
4. A  feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat- Aha! After eating bread last week, for two days I felt like it was stuck in my throat. Definitely the cancer!
5. Difficulty chewing or swallowing- Refer to number 4.
6. Ear pain- Well, it wasn’t really a pain but now that you mention it, I feel this sensation in my ear.
7. Dramatic weight loss– My aunt said I lost some weight because I haven’t been able to eat for a week since I took out my tooth. I checked the scale and it was confirmed. I lost 2.20462 pounds. Ha! What a dramatic weight loss. Damn you Cancer!

True, I had self diagnosed my self, but I knew I wasn’t ready to leave the earth yet. There was still so much that had to be done, leaving my foot prints on the sands of time, taking care of mummy in her old age. Oh Poor mummy! she wouldn’t be able to bear this news.  I picked up my bags and rushed to my doctor friend in exasperation, maybe this is still stage one and something can be done. He began to laugh hysterically at me, not because he was happy that I was dying but because I was not dying at all, because those brown patches were really just veins  and in the next month i’d be able to see their etched lines clearly enough. I jumped  for joy at the good news, then stopped, because I remembered the others who actually had cancer, the ones who weren’t lucky enough to have their doctor tell them that what they thought was cancer is just a blood clot, how about the ones who are not lucky enough to survive the wrath of this selfish killer,  who have to succumb to death and proceed to the unknown land beyond. Finally, I could empathize with them.


11 Comments Add yours

  1. - says:

    Woah!!! I was kinda scared der a bit…i knw i dnt rilly knw much abt dis stuff but frm d little i read frm novels dat deals wit cancer it was pretty scary n i dnt even wish dat 4 my enemies… empathy 2 does wu has it knws no bound……im sure happ


    1. I know, it’s a pretty scary thought, and to think people actually go through it on a daily.


  2. Ebuka says:

    Ok! I think if I had the kind of thoughts that run through ur head when u start seeing wired things happen to you , I would have died of fear by now 😄😄😄. (Well now I would want to talk to a doctor when wired things happen to me, and make sure I don’t even think of asking Google.)
    My own experience:
    So during that Ebola period, I never really stopped shaking my friends, well with the idea that they sure haven’t gotten the virus na ! You get? Soi woke up one day, growing some strange things on my neck, it ran through my chest also, well my roomie knowing how self conscious I can be said I probably stopped putting dettol in my water, and me knowing how strange it is to have something growing on me just agreed with him(that’s me trying to convince myself its not Ebola) the next bath I had I literarily put two cups in my water and scrubbed like never b4. Its one week nothing changes, mothers have turned out to be the closet doctor so called mum and explained, she wouldn’t think of anything else except the trending virus, I think in this case she is my Google I never should have asked.(she said a lot and put me in a state where the only thing I could think of was how I haven’t even gotten anywhere in life #EbolaWantsToTakeMe) called her again and told her I am running temperature, “3 hours, in 3hours she came like an ambulance from Nigeria to Benin republic, immediately what my heart is in my mouth, now we on our way to the family hospital in Lagos to run a test, my heart still remains in my mouth, I wouldn’t say what was running through my head (its hilarious) 😄😄.
    OK we get to the hospital she said ours was an “emergency” DAT we had to see the doctor ASAP, OK we get in a room where I take my cloth off in other for the doctor to examin me, when he asked what happened, my mother just jumped in “I think he has Ebola” (now picture a mother who thinks her only son has Ebola). Me I can’t say a word cause I also felt so, and the doctor just killed me by calling a nurse to get him surgical gloves 😥😢. Well now I am no more sitting I have decided to lay on the bed and just keep looking at the roof until I hear from the doctor.
    He ask me to sit up and said , “no need to panic, its just hormonal, it would be there for a period of time until he gets to a certain age, ask Oga (my dad) and knw if he had such in his young age”. Oh well too much joy in my heart am sure my mother had more


    1. Oh wow, see how strong the love of a mother is, she didn’t even bother about the fact that if you indeed had Ebola, she might have gotten it from you.


  3. Ogochukwu A says:

    I started questioning myself but AMEN No Caner!!!


    1. Yesss oo no cancer babes


  4. Christiana Ogbuefi says:

    Christiana Ogbuefi, I became muddy as soon as i saw that word cancer. It reminds me of the past.Never theless, old things are pass away ,al things become new. Pls visit doctor Jesus & your doctor anytime there is health challenge.Always read the,pray10/17/2015 08:12:45 am


    1. Mummy!!!!!!!! I’ll surely do that. I love you 😘😘😘😘😘😘😘


  5. Bibi says:

    U had me at tip 1) don’t go to google when you are scared, He/She/It blows things out of proportion. So true. Well said.


  6. Ohabuiro Ezinne Cynthia says:

    I should like to say something too ( even though it’s a year late since this post). I’m happy for you, Lilian, and I have no doubt that we’d all be in good conditions while we’ll be impacting the world only positively, and telling our wonderful stories.


  7. busola says:

    Babe, you actually did the right thing. I cant recall how many times i have checked google for symptom of brain tubour, cancer of this cancer of that etc. We arent praying to have them we are actually playing safe. Google is an awesome friend to have around. Great work here Lily


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