Betty Akeredolu, wife of the Ondo State Governor, does not only advocate for breast cancer awareness, she also has an NGO that takes care of cancer victims.
She had woken one day 20 years ago and felt a lump in her breast. Scared, as she thought about breast cancer, Betty didn’t know what to do but kept the thoughts in her heart.
One morning, she tuned to the TV to see a woman sharing her journey from being diagnosed of breast cancer to doing surgery and becoming a survivor. Betty got her strength from there and she decided to see a doctor.
“It was after the examination that the doctor again confirmed there was a lump. Even at that stage, he didn’t know what it was. I want to quickly emphasize something; it is part of the awareness campaign on breast cancer – that when a woman notices a lump in her breast, she cannot say what that lump is until she sees a doctor. It is the doctor that will recommend a test. It is after the test that she can know whether what she has is breast cancer or not,” she said.
Now a 20 year survivor, Betty said when she was finally diagnosed to have breast cancer and surgery was to be performed, she asked the doctor to cut the affected breast if that would keep her alive.
“When I told my husband, he was scared but he didn’t know that I had been fortified by the TV programme I watched. I think he must have wondered where I got the strength because I was on my feet and already prepared that whatever that woman did, I was going to do it and be okay. From then, my treatment commenced. The next line of treatment was mastectomy. By then, the level of my breast health care was at the rudimentary level. That was in 1997. It was still the same radical mastectomy; I said remove the damn thing if that would make me live. We did that and the rest is history.”
When asked about women who refuse mastectomy she said,
“Some of them will say, their husband may marry another woman with two complete breasts. The man shouldn’t be on the radar; rather, the women should be more concerned about their children. They must do everything to live and take care of the children because they can not tell the character of the woman that their husbands would marry. Some women reject mastectomy and run to a pastor who will be giving them holy water or Jerusalem oil to rub on the affected part because they don’t want to lose their breasts; but at the end of the day, they return with decayed breasts. Is it not better you lose breast and live and be well for your children and husband than be preoccupied that your husband will leave you and marry someone else? You have to live before you talk about enjoying marriage”
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