My journey has been challenging both physically and mentally. During my treatment with chemotherapy I was laden with nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, weakness, fatigue and pain. And for most who may know or may not be aware, some of the biggest challenges that I had to battle daily, were anxiety, panic attacks and depression. I would cry for days on end.
I would spend countless days going to the emergency room due to various episodes of either severe panic attacks or pain. I had/have an amazing support system, however, all they could do was take me to the hospital. The panic attacks were overwhelming even for them. They did not have the ability in those moments to help me, assuage my fears or my pain. They would stay at the hospital with me for hours, they would hold back their tears to see me through. I could not get out of my head in those moments, they were unbearable, the pain was unimaginable. I tear up still when I remember those days, they are hard to forget. However I smile too because I am able to look back and see how far I have come.
One thing not just my doctors, but my support system would tell me always – “Anjoh, your mind will kill you before the cancer does…”. It was hard to believe at the time of course, my mind was not sick, my breasts were. I had cancer and the fear of the disease alone overwhelmed me. I was scared, I was trying hard to get past my fear day by day.
Once a week, every monday I had to go for chemotherapy. I had to muster up the energy to receive that treatment. I had to prepare myself for the chemo treatments both mentally and physically. It would take me about a week to gain back a semblance of energy after a session of chemo. Next came the hair loss. My hair fell out in chunks. I had expected the hair loss, I knew it was a side effect of the chemotherapy treatments. I ended up having my hair shaved off completely. I wasn’t bothered by the bald look, afterall, throughout school, from primary through to College, I had a near bald hair cut.
I had support throughout my entire struggle. My husband and my friends in the Cameroonian community banded together to keep me strong. They took turns taking me to my chemo sessions, and then we would go out for brunch or lunch after the treatments.
My last day of chemotherapy was August 7th, 2019. That felt like freedom. I rang that bell with all the strength I had in me. I was happy, I cried happy tears. I had my family, my Charlotte support system and my health team with me. There was a moment of calm that surrounded me in that moment. I was done with weakness, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, anxiety and pain. I knew I wasn’t completely cured at that time, however, chemotherapy is one hell of a drug. It drains you, damaging the good and bad cells, so yes that moment meant everything to me.