Be positive about life say cancer survivors
By Lara PickFord-Gordon Monday, October 15 2012
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A model shows off an outfit during 'Beyond the Bruises', a breakfast celebration for survivors of cancer at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain yesterday...
If you want to beat cancer, you have to be willing to fight for life.
This was the view of cancer survivors attending “Beyond the Bruises” — a breakfast celebration held in their honour at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain yesterday.
Seventy-one-year-old Wilma Reid of Belle Gardens, Tobago, said she had to live for her children and could not allow herself to be sick.
In 1986 at the age of 45 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. This happened after she felt a lump in the right breast which seemed to be increasing. Reid saw a doctor and the lump was removed and sent for testing. It was malignant. Her aunt and grandmother also had cancer. Reid was told that her breast had to be removed.
“I was shocked but I was thinking if they get rid of it now I might save dying but if I delay it might kill me and I have my children to take care of,” Reid said in an interview at the Hyatt.
She is a single-parent with four boys and three girls, five were in secondary school and two in primary when she got the news. Medical personnel told Reid not to be afraid and ignore others telling her that she was young and beautiful and should not remove the cancerous breast and that the disease would kill her. Each time the doctor and nurse used the words “the cancer” she felt fearful. She told them to stop scaring her.
“I said to myself people have one hand and one foot and they still survive, so if I have one breast nobody would know unless I tell them.” Reid was not traumatised after her breast was removed. She had the surgery on a Thursday in May 1986. On the following Monday, she put on a bra, stuffed it, got dressed and gave away her brother at his wedding.
Reid said she did not want her children to see her sick, bedridden and crying. She put her life in God’s hands. After her mastectomy she went for 15 years without having radiation therapy.
Giving her advice to persons newly diagnosed with cancer, she said they must want to live. “They must think about life and be positive that they want to live. Do what is best to survive.”
“Reid also said when confronted with stress about cancer, “dance it out, sing it out.”
Speaking at the event yesterday, Minister of Community Development Winston Peters disclosed that his father died of lung cancer and said, “some things are self inflicted.” He told the audience that his grandparents and parents were smokers. While his mother eventually stopped, his father never did. Peters recalled, “I told my father in later years about stop smoking cigarettes and he said to me, “death has a cause”.
“In later years it cost me the money and it cost him his death.”
Peters said he will be 60 years old on Saturday and has never smoked or drank in his life. He praised the resilience of the cancer survivors and said he would like them to share their experiences at sensitisation sessions held at the eight district offices across the country.
“Cancer diagnosis is indeed not a death sentence and we have to get the message out to people. A lot of times people are afraid to go to the doctor,” he said.