By Grant Moyo
The hosting of the inaugural event specifically organised for cancer survivors themed “High tea for women cancer survivors” was a success. The prestigious event which sided with the launch of Circle Of Hope Zimbabwe, an all cancers support group took place on November 22 at the American Space in Bulawayo.
Barbara Kamba-Nyathi remarkably facilitated the well-regarded event. The internationally acclaimed inspirational speaker and author complimented her classy chic outfit with a well thought presentation which enabled the participants to feel at home, open up and soundly participate during the course of the event.
Amongst the various issues discussed include emotional state after diagnosis, esteemed subject matters such as allowing the process to redefine ‘us’, and self care after surgery.
“After surgery there is tension in the body, give yourself time to heal, we cannot claim to have the same strength we used to have before the diagnosis or operations. We are different so let’s not try to force ourselves to do heavy duties; it is ok to be different. There are expectations upon women such as taking care of the children, husbands, and impressing the in-laws. There is need for the family to understand”, lamented Barbara.
The facilitator pointed out on how the body reacts differently after going through chemotherapy, placing emphasis on the need for cancer patients to take good care of themselves.
“After going through chemotherapy, radiation or operation the body is different we need to allow the process to redefine us, discover your new self and find out the strengths you have accumulated, remember we have one body to live in, take care of the body, if we neglect our bodies we have nowhere else to live, we need our bodies for us to be alive”, she added.
An elderly woman who is a breast cancer survivor (identity withheld) urged the support group to go out in the communities where women gather mostly and create platforms which educate them about cancer. The need to include men was clearly stated, it was decided that since men don’t talk about their health, it is the role of women to persuade them to open up.
Need for the young generation to seek help not only on Google but also at the medical facilities was clearly said. The breast cancer survivor challenged wives to encourage their husbands to constantly do prostate cancer checkups. She called upon the society, boys and men included, to unite against all kinds of cancers.
“People seem to think ukuthi nxa ngingasela ibreast especially nxa ngingu mama angisenguye umfazi ogcweleyo, nxa ungasela isibeletho awusenguye umfazi ogcweleyo, yiyo imentality elabo baba labantwana bethu abangabafana and we need to teach them that we are just the same its just that part of the body engingaselayo but I’m still the same person”, lamented speaker 1 (identity withheld).
The last speaker of the day, a woman in her old age who is a cancer survivor (identity withheld) highlighted on the expenses that come with cancer diagnosis. Concerns over the absence of the government and the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) in curbing the challenges cancer patients and survivors face were raised.
“I just want to emphasise on one very important issue, we are all cancer survivors we know how expensive it is, but who supports us? We have to try to go to NSSA and ask them if they could make a fund just for cancer survivors. Barbara as a leader please, I’m begging you go and try to talk to them to help us as Zimbabweans”, said speaker 3 (identity withheld).
The facilitator’s closing remarks were fully embraced as she put emphasis on the need for a safe space where everyone is caring, in agreement, acknowledge the existence of cancer, talk about experiences, and find solutions to the problems encountered.
“Cancer can be in the skin, blood, eye, bone, or anywhere in the body. We need to be aware of the different kinds of cancers. We are the change that we desire; let us teach our male colleagues about it. Cancer changes you forever so we have to pull each other up and hold each other’s hands”, concluded Barbara.
Reflexology was the final activity that concluded the well organised event; beauty therapists swiftly pampered the participants with hand gentle rubs. It is the dawn of a great initiative that will benefit the community tremendously if executed distinctly.
lGrant Moyo is a prolific writer, innovative media personality, entrepreneur and a creative artist who is passionate about using his creative mind for the betterment of society.
Follow me on Twitter: @TotemGrant