The Cancer Menace: How To Stay Safe

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Cancer in Kenya

At the risk of sounding scary to anyone, do not ignore any unusual symptoms you may experience from time to time. The feeling of extreme lingering tiredness, to an erstwhile healthy person, should be a red flag. Do not ignore. Consult your physician.

Don’t ignore the symptoms

We tend to attribute our unusual tiredness to the extra daily hustles we undertake. My hubby’s Multiple Myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow) was detected during a scheduled consultation with his ophthalmologist. The eye specialist could not figure out why his vision was fast getting blurred by the day. He recommended an extensive blood test. The rest, as they say, is history.

Medical technicians can understand when I mention the parameters for hemoglobin in the blood. What are the standard parameters in Kenyan labs? The normal hemoglobin parameters for a healthy person, according to Mayo Clinic, should be 13.5 to 17.5 grams per deciliter. My hubby’s was 3 grams per DC. It still puzzles me how he never ended up with a heart attack. But then again, he had been as healthy as a bison.

From experience

My elder sister’s hubby, a confirmed diabetic-cum-hypertensive, was diagnosed with same cancer in 2008. He did not make it beyond chemo.

Read: What it means to be braindead

He had attributed his severe back pain to replacement of tiles he had undertaken in his kitchen. We took him to the hospital on August 1st, 2008 and by September 15th he was dead. We buried him here in the United States.

Without any other preexisting conditions and timely early diagnosis, one is able to easily manage and beat cancer.

It pains me so much to know that there are so many people in Kenya, most likely ailing from cancer but cannot afford the basic diagnosis. Even when diagnosed, treatment is beyond their imaginable reach. Most of those who finally get the diagnosis get it when it is already too late. ??

A brother in law to my twin sister died from the same Multiple Myeloma at Nairobi Hospital, even after seeking treatment abroad. He had a good job in an international organization. He remembered having a severe backache in his hotel room while on a working trip to New York. He had initially attributed it to jet lag, only to get the shocking diagnosis when back in Kenya.

The situation in Kenya

It is depressing to imagine how many Kenyans are suffering from multiple myeloma. It is made worse coming to terms with the fact that two close family members have already succumbed to the disease.

Read: The Reality Of Cancer In Kenya

The gravity of the matter is driven home by my own personal experience of living with one whose daily struggles is a veritable and courageous fight against the monster. Imagining how many more Kenyans are helplessly or unknowingly suffering out there is mind-boggling.

What to do

My plea to everyone reading this: Please selfishly take charge of your own health. Never ignore any symptom no matter how minor you may think it is. A simple Complete Blood Count (CBC) and a Complete Metabolic Panel (CMP) can tell you a lot about your health.

I routinely do blood work as well as an extensive physical every year. I thank God, that so far everything looks good and optimal. I challenge everyone to consider this as the best every end year’s bonus to themselves

I love politics; fully engaged in Kenyan politics on most social media programs. Here I share my views without fear or favor. Otherwise, I earn my living as a Senior ICU Nurse in Michigan US

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