Banaban Voice

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Theresa Ralogaivau
Thursday, October 22, 2009

SHE'S counting hours, praying for more time and hoping that there'll be a miracle.

Raijeli Nailolo, 58, of FSC Hill Compound in Labasa, has lived with breast cancer the past four years and was recently diagnosed with lung cancer.

These are dark days for the mother of five who spends most of her time in bed fighting a cloud of agonising pain.

She can't hold down her meals, is awake most nights either bathed in sweat or freezing cold, can't walk, struggles to talk, and is constantly wandering between a world of physical pain and emotional hurt.

"It's just knowing that I will soon be separated from my husband and children that is making this battle even harder," she said.

"I'm trying to be strong for them but day by day I'm growing weaker.

"I know it won't be long now."

With that she broke down in tears.

The Mali Island woman was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 but she felt there was something wrong with her left breast years before that.

"I used to feel sharp pains in my breast, they would come and go but I really paid no heed to them," she said.

"Not until I woke up one morning and felt the lump above my breast did I go to the hospital.

"I only wished that I had come to the hospital when I felt those sharp pains in my breast years before the lump appeared.

"They removed my breast at the Suva Private Hospital and I was given the medication, Tamoxifen, to take daily for the following five years."

Doctors also told her she had less than five years to live.

"I remember being so afraid, feeling suicidal and I prayed constantly asking the Lord to spare me the pain," she said.

"It's been years now and I'm asking the Lord to give me more time with my family.

"I'm happy that He has given me time to prepare for the afterlife but still I'm asking Him for more time because I can't bear parting from them.

"This disease has robbed me of everything - I can no longer cook for my family, be a mother to my children, can't do any gardening - nothing except lie down here."

Nevertheless through the emotional lows, Mrs Nailolo said her family's love always pulled her out of her doldrums.

"They say breast cancer has no cure, it claims women's lives and takes away everything.

"I'm saying love conquers this disease, just knowing my husband is around taking care of me, my family's love is making it easier to bear the pain, to beat the cancer not physically but emotionally - to be strong in the face of it."

"I only wish other women will visit the doctor early for problems with their breast and not leave it too late like me. And I hope those who are diagnosed are treated with as much love as me

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