8 months on from diagnosis, I am ready to share my story. Not for reasons other than to show the world you don't have to kill yourself when faced with challenges and how anything can be overcome if you really want to and if your mindset is a positive one. My name is Nosy Ude,and I am an ordinary guy. On the 31st of September 2018 after having 5 surgeries and a biopsy, the pathology test done on the lymph nodes, came back positive.
As one can imagine, it was a case of great shock and disbelief, for we all take for granted that this would never happen to us. Still, I had hope that it was just a benign mass and would not require aggressive treatment but I was wrong. After consulting with surgeons, Dr Uduezue (who in my opinion is one of the greatest medical professionals in existence and a true God sent individual) who referred me to the oncology department of UNTH where I met Dr Lasebikan who told me it would now require an aggressive and extensive combination of radiation and chemotherapy. My world turned up-side down, it literalilly came crashing, I couldnt believe what was happening. Having just gone through such number of surgeries, whence would I have the strength and blood to withstand such aggressive treatment? To me, how could life be so cruel? I am just a young man in my prime with great physical shape and now this.
This was truly proving to be the biggest test of my life and at first I didnt know if I would survive it or not. Apart from the complication of a punctured lung and the infections that followed, I had other things to worry about. In November 2018 I began radiotherapy and chemotherapy, needless to say, I was terrified as my biggest fear had come true and now I had to face treatments that no one ever has anything good to say about but I kept the smile on my face so as not to cause stress to those around me who were trying to support me emotionally through this phase of my life. Its been a battle, from then to this day, it has truly been demanding on my mind, body and my very being in every single way. It created a very big hole in my pocket, I think it's one of the e most expensive treatment in the world. The first time I was told that I'll pay about 565,000 naira, I shook my head in total disbeleive.
I tentatively asked how long it will last, the doctor told me that I will be coming for chemo every 3 weeks for 18 weeks. Jesus! I made a mental calculation of the sum total, where will I get that kind of money? Who makes 565k in three weeks? I am not a politician or a son of one. I don't have an uncle or aunt who is a politician, I don't even know anyone who knows a politician. Surprisingly, I was wrong. Money is actually about the least of your problems in this health situation. Chemo are not drugs, they are chemicals been pumped into your body. They knock you out for 6 days. 6 days of inactivity, 6 days of pains, 6 days of no appetite or desire to drink water. Nothing can cross your throat, you just want to lie down and be left alone. But then, you know your life depends on water especially.
You need to drink water, lots of it or you end up damaging your kidney and liver. These are days of not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to interact with anyone at all, some days not even wanting to be with yourself as strange as that may sound. The sleepless nights that run into weeks, the tears and selfloath....you will always cry even when telling your story. And you have the remaining two weeks to raise the money for the next treatment. Losing weight, at this point, comes faster than the speed of light. Then, there is a radical change in complexion and all the hairs fall off and you look as plain and smooth as a calabash. A few weeks into chemo, you are hit by a cocktail of skin rashes called chemo rash.
Now you look like a soursap, coarse outside and sour inside. You begin to have neuropathy, you can't feel any of your finger tips or toe tips but you will rather, feel a tingling sensation around them. I can tell you in no uncertain terms that the treatment is worse than the disease itself but you keep telling yourself it's a small price to pay to still have your life. I became diastemic, for several months, I couldn't look at the mirror because I was scared of the horrid image that would be staring back at me. I couldn't take selfies because I looked twice my age and I was tired of answering questions about my health. But then, why won't I look the way I look? Chemo drugs are not drugs, they are pure chemicals that, sort of, alter your DNA.
I will never forget the first day I took them. I can't, and nobody can, describe the sensation. It's not pain, it's something worse. As the chemicals go into your veins, it's akin to hot oil flowing through all the blood vessels in your body. You feel like screaming but the sound won't come, you feel like urinating, you feel like defecating and you feel like jumping around all at once. Then you feel like scratching but you don't know where to scratch. I thought I peed on myself, I held my private part so that I won't mess the floor, but I never actually peed.
Right now, I look back and smile at what kept me going despite the quagmire I was in. An OAP here in Enugu asked me what actually orchestrated my determination to overcome this disease and what gave me the drive, the want to defeat the disease, where I could so easily have broken down and given in like so many others did. I held the studio mic a few seconds longer and told her the truth. I can't forget how hard and loud everybody in the studio laughed. She couldn't believe it. She asked me to repeat what I said and I did a tat slower. "A beautiful girl I am crushing on walked up to me and said, 'Nosy,beat this desease and I will let you smash me all night'." As funny and stupid and unbelievable as that might sound, the thought of smashing that beauty all night long was actually one of the major reasons why I kept fighting even when my chances were slim. Some days were and still are absolutely horrid. There are days where I still break down and cry.
Days and weeks when I slip into depression and then all seems lost and I question why me, why now, what did I do wrong in life? When will things go back to normal. But what is normal? Normal is accepting and learning to live with your current situation for you cannot change it, it is beyond your control and I have learned that.The important thing is to remember to allow yourself those days, for keeping those emotions inside is a stress thats far beyond manageable and that's exactly the thing that's detrimental. Then I remember the beautiful damsel that I am going to 'smash' and I get envigorated and more determined to stay alive.
I'm grateful for each day that I get to open my eyes and take another breathe, for everyday that I get to spend with the ones I care about and I've learned that as much as it's human nature to complain about little things, an experience of this sort will teach you to appreciate every little thing in life, a new perspective. Sometimes we have to learn lessons in life, nobody deserves a lesson like this, but if it comes, find the greater meaning behind it.
It might occurred to you that you are special. Truth is, I can not wish the devil himself this experience. The reason for sharing my story is not only to project my thoughts and emotions but more especially to show you, the reader, that God can make a way where it seems I'm possible. Anything, whatever it may be, can be overcome so long as it is what you desire, it is what you fight for and something you never give up on life no matter how difficult it may seem. Find something that you love and hing your hope on it. Not necessarily smashing your crush, it could be the desire to tell your story to your kids or share a testimony, find something that stands for that ray at the end of the tunnel. I live with the hope and faith in the higher power that it will all end in praise.
I don't have hope, I am hope, I am faith and I am a survivor. Sometimes, which is actually most times, when I slide into depression, a portion of the Bible comes to mind. Psalms 118:18 "He has punished me severely, but he has not let me die". I see no reason why He should punish me like this, so I've made a resolution to make heaven at all cost. Not because I fancy wearing a white cloak and singing hosanna and hallelujah all through forever, but because I want to meet Him face to face and demand for an explanation and if I don't get a good reason, za a yi kachakacha a lahira. So to those of you who are or have experienced something similar and you feel like there isnt much hope, dont give up, fight, for your light is around the corner. I know the financial implication is designed to selectively terminate the poor among us, matter of fact, once a poor person has this, he or she is on death row. It's just a matter of time. I once had N419.50 ( four hundred and nineteen naira) and a bill of almost a million naira to pay in two weeks."I looked up to the mountains from where shally help come?" But just like Pac, I took it all with a smile. Positive outlook towards life and holding on to God, I guess that's the key.
I know about the stigma (heartbreaking story for another day), I understand it. Someone once (maybe not intentionally) wanted to break my spirit, he asked, why would someone on chemo give thanks to God (because I quoted a part of the Bible that says give thanks in all situation). I laughed and said, I give thanks because I don't have to shave my pubic hairs and ampit again. Did I mention that I have been told that I can now shower? Yes, I mean have a bath. I haven't done so for about 3 months or thereabout.
I am on radiotherapy, so if water touches my radiated skin, it will turn black and pill off like a fire burn. You see, during the heat wave periods, I was actually been cooked inside. Even though I have gotten the green light, I am still scared of having a shower. But I will do that on 17th May 2019. It's a special day for me. I can't thank everyone enough for always looking out for me, for the time and attention you gave me whenever I call to cry on your shoulder or ear. I use to think that hug was a white man thing, but that thought pattern has changed because sometimes, a hug can put me to sleep and I sometimes crave for it! I hope this makes a difference to someones day. And about the the smashing thing, I won't answer any questions from your dirty minds. Lol.