Nowadays, the media is awash with stories of people with, unfortunately most of them are about people in acute stages of cancer. LinkmeUg is joining the fight by presenting successful battles against cancer. Today we bring you David Kisakye who was diagnosed with fibrosarcoma cancer in his 30s. He won the fight because he received treatment in stage 1 of the disease.
David: Back in 2004 in my 30s I started growing a swelling on my upper back [below my neck] but it was not painful so I ignored it. A year later it was still growing and my brother told me it could be a hump and I decided to get rid of it.
LinkmeUg: What was the nature of this swelling?
David: It was not painful unless you pressed it hard and it was like a ball moving from side to side.
LinkmeUg: So which hospital did you go to?
David: I went to Mulago hospital and I was scheduled for minor surgery. It was removed and I was discharged immediately without much pain. I was advised to go back after 2 weeks for review.
LinkmeUg: Why would you need to go back if the swelling had been removed?
David: The doctor said it would be tested to discover if it wasn’t a sign of another disease. So I reluctantly went back to Mulago and that is when I was told I had tested positive for Fibrosarcoma cancer.
But the doctor called me lucky and we had a friendly talk. I was in my stage one of fibro carcoma cancer and he said my chances of survival were high.
LinkmeUg: What was the available treatment?
David: The doctor told me I needed a major operation then radiation for about 6 weeks. He then added that if it was necessary, I would undergo chemotherapy. He went on to explain the effects of chemo and that was when I became really scared.
- Hair loss
- Skin turning color
- Nails dropping out
LinkmeUg: What was your next move after this meeting?
David: I informed my relatives and they encouraged me to continue with the treatment. I had a relative in Mengo hospital who advised that the major operation be done immediately before the cancer spread to other places. In a weeks’ time I underwent the operation at Mengo Hospital.
A lot of flesh was removed from the area and tests done again. The test proved it was really cancer. When the wounds healed, about 3 weeks later, I went to Mulago for radiation.
LinkmeUg: What was your radiation experience like?
I went for radiation for 6 weeks on a daily basis [Monday to Friday.] The reviews also continued for 2 years after that.
LinkmeUg: Cancer treatment and management is quite expensive, what was it like for you?
David: The expenses were mostly at Mengo Hospital but I was lucky because the stage and position of the cancer was favorable for treatment. The operation, tests, drugs and admission were not more than a million shillings.
Linkmeug: How did the entire treatment affect your life?
David: The wound from the major surgery was so painful and the radiotherapy left me really dizzy but I could go to work sometimes and leave early.
LinkmeUg: Did the therapy affect you’re the rest of your body like skin, hair and nails?
David: Thankfully I didn’t progress to chemotherapy and the radiotherapy only took off part of the hair at the back of the head. The hair has since grown back.
LinkmeUg: A word for youth and all Ugandans on cancer.
David: Cancer can attack at any age so young people shouldn’t think they are immune. The cancer I had can attack anyone regardless of age and I wasn’t told of a cause.
It can be cured but you have to test early. Now that I am older, I regularly go for prostate and other cancer screenings.
I am lucky to be alive because I tested early, go test.
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