Agony as 43-year-old mother of six battles breast cancer
As Rwandans commemorated a day recognising patients who live with chronic infections on Sunday, Donatille Mukahigiro, 43, was confined to her hospital bed at King Faisal.
Diagnosed with the breast cancer two years ago, her health is gradually deteriorating despite the medical attention she is getting.
When The New Times visited her bedside, she put on a brave face as she told of the struggles she and her family have faced, especially financial ones.
“For five years now, my husband has been battling a liver problem. He often develops swollen feet and can hardly wear closed shoes anymore,” she begins, telling her moving story. She explains that they used to own a shop in the city centre but now there is hardly anything the family can survive on.
Looking extremely frail, Mukahigiro has the tone of someone who doesn’t believe that she will see her last born grow up. Finding solace in the Bible, she prays that God will one day answer her prayers and heal her.
“Luckily enough, the Ministry of Health has accepted to renew the treatment contract for me at this hospital,” she says.
As her life became a nightmare, with almost no ray of hope, there might be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Medics at King Faisal hospital say that a specialist and a cancer management team have been put in place.
“We have a multi disciplinary approach whereby patients are offered mental, psychological, spiritual and medical support,” said Dr Alex Butera, the Chief Executive Officer at King Faisal Hospital.
He revealed that the Mammogram machine used in cancer detection and treatment is also available for patients. Butera, however, admitted that cancer is a big problem especially since its treatment is very expensive.
Anne Rugege, the Head of Breast Cancer Initiative, an association that supports cancer patients in Rwanda, explains that early detection is the best way to fight cancer.
“Presently, there are no known causes for this cancer. The best way to minimize the risks of acquiring it is by carrying out self-examinations or having regular medical checkups,” she said.
Contact email: sam.nkurunziza[at]newtimes.co.rw