Humbling experience – When it pays to check

Isabelle called at a very unusual time, at 9am on a Sunday morning, she is normally at church.

“Guess where I am” she asked.

“Somewhere having fun” I replied as I knew she was supposed to be on holiday.

“I am in the hospital” Izzy said in a low voice.

Now, I thought her low voice was so she didn’t want to disturb patients but bored enough to want to chat for a minute.

“Really, on a Sunday morning, work that busy? I knew she is on call a lot but Sunday is a no-no for a long time but thought maybe contract terms have changed.

Izzy helped me out.

“Not as a doctor, I am here as a patient”

I was taken aback.

Izzy is a friend who is always there for everyone and have two young girls of her own so busy a lot. She is the one to say. ” Hey, sorry am running late as I had to make a detour to drop a patient at her home” and if you ask if that is part of her new role, she’d simply say “Not really, It’s because we can’t get a taxi in time for the lady and I didn’t want to leave her alone with the receptionist at the surgery. That is the kind of person that Izzy is – always have a bit of herself for everyone.

About three weeks ago she noticed a lump in her left breast during normal checks that has become second nature, she felt the lump right away, thought it might be nothing so waited for another week to see if there is any changes. From then on she went to do some checks – mammogram came out confirming the lump, offered CT scan for closer look – both saying same thing. Doctors were very helpful and assured she’s in good hand. They advice to come back in January to do further test.

You only live once

Isabelle freaked out as anyone would, head going in circle, too much to swallow. Her lump is very small, the earliest she could get seen is January. Thank goodness, she has a private health insurance where she is able to deal with the problem now without delay.

Had mastectomy performed on the affected breast. I am over the moon for the speed in which everything has taking.

I was scared a bit. You hear news about women having breast cancer but when it happens to a close friend, the message rings home. Izzy is her mid thirties, healthy, led active lifestyle. No family history of breast cancer she is aware of.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women accounting for 25% of cancer cases worldwide. Men do have breast cancer too, not just as common as women – here we all need to get used to checking!

In Nigeria for example, true cause of death is usually undisclosed, it’s encouraging to see Ms Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu sharing her story.

Now a prompt sticker on my bathroom wall is staying for as long as it takes.

Please take a few seconds to check, it’ll all worth the effort.