MASVINGO-based cancer patient, Muchanyara Mataruse will this week undergo her first life-saving chemotherapy sessions at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare.
BY PHYLLIS MBANJE
She received a US$7 000 donation from the Zimbabwe Amalgamated Housing Association (Zaha) last month to pay for the treatment.
The usually upbeat Muchanyara said she was scared of the chemotherapy and wished she didn’t have to go through it.
“I was initially supposed to go to St Clements Clinic but it is fully booked and so I am now scheduled to go to Parirenyatwa where I will be admitted on Monday [tomorrow] for Tuesday,” she said.
“I’m dreading the chemotherapy treatments. This has taken a toll on me and I am strained by the many trips from Masvingo to Harare.”
Health and Child Care deputy minister, Paul Chimedza recently sourced some of the expensive drugs that will be used during her treatment.
Muchanyara had been advised by medical doctors that she only had 38 days remaining to have the cancer cells dealt with effectively and therefore needed to undergo urgent chemotherapy.
She was diagnosed with sininasal cancer in 2012, and since then she has undergone several operations to ascertain the spread of the cancer cells.
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, chemotherapy targets cells that are actively growing and dividing.
Although this is a defining characteristic of cancerous cells, it is also a feature of some actively growing normal cells, such as cells in the blood, mouth, intestines, and hair.
Side effects occur when the chemotherapy damages these healthy cells that maintain the body’s function and appearance.
Some of the commonest side effects include sores in the mouth and throat, nausea and vomiting, blood disorders, loss of appetite and hair. However, these differ according to the type of drugs administered.
Besides worrying about the side effects and possibility of more medical bills, Muchanyara, who is unemployed, said she was also concerned about her other financial obligations which include day-to-day expenses like food and school fees for her two children.
“All I think of is… am I going to have enough resources to cover the whole treatment as something new always comes up in terms of medical bills,” she said. “I don’t have any income at the moment, let alone any ideas or the energy to work as this is draining up all my energy and focus.”
“I am always grateful to everyone for giving me a second chance to life. I do not take the people’s generosity for granted,” she said.