My cancer journey began in 2000 when I noticed that I was unable to walk in heels and that my knees would wobble when I walk. Earlier on I had experienced unexplained weight loss and gain but I did not pay much attention to it. In 2001 I fell off a stationary bus and got slightly injured. I visited the hospital and while there I noticed that there was a lump in my throat and I had it checked. The doctor advised that it was benign and the only reason for removing it would be cosmetic.
In 2008, I was hit by a mkokoteni (hand cart) but in my opinion, I was not badly injured. Thereafter, I started experiencing excruciating pain in my leg thus prompting me to visit the hospital. The doctor said it was just soft tissue injury which would heal in a couple of days. Three weeks later, I was still limping and I decided to get a second opinion. On visiting the second hospital, the doctor noticed that there was something ‘eating’ my bones and he concluded it could only be cancer. I was referred to an oncologist who conducted numerous tests and the diagnosis. The diagnosis was thyroid cancer.
I started treatment in 2009 which included 10 sessions of radiotherapy and surgery to remove my thyroid glands. Instead of chemotherapy, the doctor advised radioactive iodine treatment. The oncologist felt the radioactive iodine treatment would be more effective than chemotherapy. I was admitted into KNH for 5 days. The treatment was in the form of a capsule which I swallowed and was then put in the isolation ward for 5 days. I was not allowed to interact with anyone during this period. I had to drink lots of water so as to flush out the treatment. The only side effect I experienced was that my face was swollen the day after receiving the treatment but the swelling reduced gradually.
At the time, I was employed in a very good company and my medical insurance paid for all my treatment. I still go for checkups once in a year but because I do not have a thyroid gland, I take artificial thyroxine and calcium tablets on a daily basis.
I would like to advise people to always seek a second opinion.
When I went to have my thyroid removed, the surgeon told me that had it been removed in 2001, I would not have gone through all the cancer treatment. Once you notice a growth have it checked and not once, twice or even thrice, seek out specialists. This would have been nipped in the bud in 2001 had I sought a second opinion.