It’s the 30th of October, 2015, and this month is best known as the ‘Cancer Awareness Month’. I actually remembered it is after 1week (through Internet), with my TL filled up with Tweets and Statuses of how people, majority of them being Women encouraging fellow Women to go for check-ups and all. Of course I’m in that category but for some reason (before today), I didn’t see the need for a check-up coz I felt okay, all round, you know, healthy with no pain or aches anywhere, but I was so wrong (I’ll tell you why in a bit).
About a week or so ago, my friends and colleagues from work decided to be walking home in the evenings, not to save on transport but for health purposes, to be fit. They asked me if I was willing to join them and guess what I told them, “No, thank you.” Well, they didn’t stop there and so for the next few days they kept asking me to join them in the walk (I guess they knew something that I didn’t), but I still wasn’t for the idea. Every time they asked I would tell them, with a big grin on my face, “Nyinyi mko na kitu yaku-lose, mimi sina :-D” (You’ve got some weight to lose, but I don’t). They got tired of asking and so they stopped.
In me, all along from the last time I went for a check-up (and that’s like a year ago), I knew that I was okay, and I kinda tried to maintain the WEIGHT by avoiding some foods here and there, then take huge potions of it a later day, exercising and doing all that I think I should do to keep healthy. Most of the girl-friends I have on FB and Twitter had this New Year’s Resolution of losing weight and they would post ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics of their weight lose journey, especially during the first few months of the year (I don’t see much of it nowadays), some giving up on the way, reading about Chero and her weight lose journey (If you read Biko you must have come across her posts for some time now). She writes every Thursday updating us on how she’s handling it so far, confessing how hard and tricky it is especially when you and food are tight buddies, like really tight. On yesterday’s post the Title was ‘Nancy at week 16: Almost giving up’, but I hope she doesn’t give up, that she’ll press on till she hits her target.
2weeks ago one of my friends shared a poster about Mater Hospital offering screening tests for Breast Cancer for the whole of this month, but I hadn’t made up my mind on whether to go or not. On re-checking the poster this week Tuesday, it was indicated that they do the screening from Wednesday to Friday, and so yesterday morning I thought of passing by on my way to work, but on reaching there was told that it was taking place today, Friday, instead (who got the wrong info here?), and that it was the last day. So today I woke up (sleepy, still trying to understand why), prepared and set for the Hospital which is a 15mins walk from where I live. I thought I would be among the first to arrive only to find like 10 Women already there, waiting to be screened, and more were streaming in (Kenyans and their last minute rushes!).
I quickly filled up the form with my details and took a seat and waited for my turn. 20mins later the check-ups start and people are keen to hear their names being called. As I wait, I check-in on Twitter and going through my TL I learn of this Tweet that was going on yesterday (am sure the dust hasn’t settled yet) between Kenyans and Nigerians. Not sure what the latter had done this time, I didn’t get to the bottom of it, but I’m sure KOT had the laugh of the day, they always do. “Gitau Philomenah”, that’s the Doctor’s call on me and I jump to my feet to know my fate. Walked in the Doctor’s room, a tall male Doc with a chocolate complexion, say ‘Hi’ to each other and I take a seat. Thought he would go straight to the screening but he had to do some basic checks on me before I proceed to the next level. He starts by checking my Blood Pressure with a Sphygmomanometer which includes an arm cuff that slowly squeezes your arm, a squeeze bulb to inflate the cuff, a Stethoscope or microphone, and a gauge to measure the blood pressure, and then he records the findings. Then on to the weighing scale to check my weight, my eyes stationed on the machine and I could see the numbers going up and up, thinking whether to continue going up or down, but decided to go a notch higher instead, and there, they stopped at 73.15 Kgs. Whaaaat? I couldn’t believe all those kilos were mine, like for real. Where did they come from? I sighed in disbelief. I remember saying “all those Kgs??” in astonishment, not sure whether I was asking the Doc or myself. I didn’t feel nor look that heavy but I was sure the machine wouldn’t lie (and if it did, I’m coming for it).
I settled in my seat to catch a breathe, but I still hadn’t checked my height, and on to the machine, again. It better be sure of what it’s doing this time. It gets it right, I think, and the Doc tells me that’s it. As he scribbles my details and the findings down, I get to ask him how badly I was doing (coz with those numbers, I knew something was very wrong somewhere), and he tells me my everything (from my BMI to Blood Pressure and then my Weight) is wrong, it’s beyond normal, and that I needed to do something. Imagine he told me I’m obese , like seriously. I’m sure I don’t look anything close to that. You should have seen my face, it was so red yaani. I was doing badly.
As I walk out he tells me to wait outside for the Breast Screening. I waited for nearly 45mins but I didn’t notice the time as I was deep in thoughts of how my Health status is wanting and all the things I should start doing from the time I walk out of the Hospital till the time I hit the suitable and recommended kilos. Heard my name called and walked into the Doc’s office, waited to be offered a seat ;-), and the first thing he asks me is how I am. Another sigh, deeper this time. I respond with a kinda shaky and not sure voice “I’m fine but not very fine”, and I think he knew why because he was holding and looking at my examination sheet (from the previous Doc). He Asked me why I’m not fine and I told him it’s because of my weight. Asked me what I think I should do about it and I gave him some of the ways I’ve learnt so far (of which I haven’t implemented yet). He asked my why and I expressed my frustrations of how sometimes I try working out and eating right but get bored along the way and I relax, back to my bad-eating habits.
As a Doc would, he encouraged me to continue doing what I know I should do without losing hope. He suggested that I design a working-out plan and have a target on how much to lose for a certain period of time within like 4 years, but I told him that’s such a long time to lose 11kilos. Told me to reduce on salt in-take (and my love for salt, waah!) as it makes you hungry more often, and yes, he said that I can do junk once in a while, ice-cream, cake (yaaay! ).
On to the final Examination now. This is not the first time I’m going for a Breast Screening, so I know what and what the Doc will do. I lay on the ka-bed, and pull up my top, and then suddenly, someone (a man to be precise), accidentally opens the door, it wasn’t locked, and he peeps in. Clutching to my clothes I’m like, “I thought it should be locked”, and the Doc, totally embarrassed, tells me “Let me get the key” and walks out. He comes back without the key but I didn’t ask him why. I wasn’t alarmed, somehow. I think he had no time to look for it and just decided to shout in the hallway and say, “Hey y’all snoopers, I gat a patient in here, kindly don’t come near this room until I’m done with her. Thank you!”. So he gets down to business and checks for lumps, and while he’s doing the palpation I remember the case of the fake Doc who took advantage of Women somewhere in Ngara (very bad timing for such kind of a thought, lol!). The process doesn’t take long and within no time he’s done, thank God he finds no lump in me! As I’m busy dressing up he tells me of how often I should do the self-test and what to check for. We talk some more about my weight and how it affects the my BMI and Blood Pressure. It’s all in the weight, and once it’s taken care of, I won’t have to worry about the rest.
As I was leaving the hospital I couldn’t help but wonder of how many people out there think they are all fine in matters health, like I did, going on with there lives normally, and coz they don’t feel any pain in part of their bodies, they assume they are ok. Well, I’m sure such Months and such times as thiswhere Cancer has become so common are a wake-up call to all of us, not only to Women, but to men as well. I recently lost an Auntie to Cancer. How I, and all that knew and loved her, wished that it was detected early enough and the right treatment given. If you haven’t been screened, plan to go for one and encourage your friends and loved ones to do the same, and do all that you can to prevent it.
What does the Bible say about taking care of our Health? 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (AMP) is one of the most common Verses about our Bodies. It says “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.” God wants us to honor Him with our all, and what we eat plays a major part in this. We see that in 1 Corinthians 10:31 (AMP) “So then, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of [our great] God.”
I have come to know that everyone is prone to diseases, to some sickness, any type. They are not a respecter of persons, so let’s all make a choice to watch what we take in, and mind the people that we love too, not forgetting those who aren’t able to take care of themselves. Now I think I’ll tell my girls that I’ve got something to lose!
EAT RIGHT, EXERCISE!
NAME: PHILOMENAH GITAU
HOBBIES: Watching a Good Movie/Series, listening to Rich Music, listening to God, Reading (almost everything), Traveling, Writing…