My story with cancer: How I didn’t let my illness stop me

Life is never as easy as it might seem (everyone knows that). But there are certain people that we see around us in our everyday lives and we (mostly us young people) would wish to be like them. The reason behind that urge and desire to be like someone else- role models we call them, it is because we see a spark of light through them. They inspire us to be better versions of ourselves- we can say they are our driving force.

The thing is most of those people who are successful and prospects in many dimensions, 90% of them have passed through deep valleys, storms, tragedies…You can name all those terrible things. It was not because they were bad people, or they deserved it but because they had a dream with passion. They had set a goal before them and they knew that the only way to get it/there… No matter how deep the valley is, they will have to get to the other side, no matter how strong the wind/ storm is, they will have to behave like eagles and utilize it well.

Someone once said “when you are tired of running, walk. When you are tired of walking, crawl… Just never stop going”

There is something about us young generation that tend to drag us closer to the ground and for some reasons I don’t know, we gladly collaborate and stay down like a metal stuck on a magnet. It is very sad how we get activated and easily become alert of the things that benefit us nothing- worldly pleasure… At least let’s balance our time and get our priorities right.

There is something about determination that most youngsters don’t understand. There is more to this word than just saying it or using it in a speech to sound smart and better. I for one has learnt it not in a so good way. But I am grateful and feel blessed to have been in a situation that taught me the ways of life that I didn’t know existed.

Most of us are filled with so much excuses and negativity. These two words yields laziness and procrastination which often leads to poverty. We are who we are because we choose to be. I have learnt that these statement ” I can’t do this/that” is nothing but a mere excuse that most of us use when we know that we just “won’t do it”.

I was diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma cancer on my fresher’s year in 2015. When I had to do the treatments in 2016, I told myself that I CAN’T go on with school anymore just because I had cancer. I dropped out of school in May 2016 and went to do radiotherapy which didn’t work and then I did the surgery to remove the tumour in December 2016 which by grace was successful even though I am left with drop foot (now using crutches for balance and an AFO).

The operation was done on the 5th of Dec 2016. Before the operation I had encountered lots of disappointments and discouragement. I will never forget the first day when I arrived at the hospital. I was told that my tumor was too big and that there was nothing that can be done to help me. Not only that but I was also in excruciating pain and I had no one. As I had no family in the city. But I stood firm and decided not to give in the fight. So, I refused to listen to what they were saying. I was in and out of the hospital for about 9 months *it was the hardest time of my life then.

During this period, I learnt that there is power in prayer. I learnt to pray in spirit and faith. Before all this, I used to pray just because it was like a tradition to me. When God wants to protect you or when He needs you whole to Himself, He can use ways which to you may seem to be a curse or a punishment.

As for me, I cried day and night asking God why, why me! I got so deep with my thoughts trying to reflect my life just in case maybe i can find that one reason for the miserable, horrible experiences I was facing. My condition introduced me to so many people I wouldn’t have met. These people were not just ordinary people. To me they were and still like true living angels. They helped me grow in prayer, spirit and faith… Showed me love with compassion.

Prayer… The most powerful communication one can ever have with the almighty.

I slowly found peace of mind, joy and laughter. During the first days of this journey, my life was dull and empty. I was caved alone in the midst of nowhere and I literally felt lost. I didn’t know who I was anymore. Neither did I know where my life was going. With prayers in my heart every day, I felt alive, I was rejuvenating bit by bit, eradicating all the pains and sorrows buried deep within my soul.

Prayers gave me another insight about life, giving me hope and filling my empty heart with positivity. I began to realise how precious my life was. That I still have a chance to fulfil my goals and dreams. My mind was shattered. I had depression, anxiety and selfishness had played my mind. My spirit was suffocating within my being. That is when I decided to take caution of my life. I decided to make rules for my body and my health and not to allow for the cancer to rule over me. I decided to crush the word “I can’t” from my vocabulary and replace it with ” I will”.

That is when I decided to go back to school (start over my second year,  in Pharmacy). I went back on campus and within 2 months my cancer was worse than it was before. I felt like the devil was testing my faith here and I was convinced by campus  and hospital staff to go back home because I had to do chemotherapy. As they believed it was impossible to do both (studying and dealing with cancer and its horrible treatments at the same time).

This time I said I am not going nowhere. I am going to do this chemo thing and will continue with my degree no matter the circumstance… I will try and fail but I am not failing to try. Surely, I did follow my instinct and do it. Chemotherapy is one hell of a treatment. It made me sick more than cancer itself did. I wrote my exams and I did well than expected, with pains, terrible hot flushes, tiredness and other horrible side effects. I was determined, I had ambition, a dream and a goal. Today I am third year Pharmacy student at Rhodes university.

I did all this with disability and a dreaded disease. I am not special, I am not smart, I am simply hardworking and would not let a circumstance limit me or define me. And I am not saying this because I think I am perfect or better. Like anyone else I too have ups and downs in my academics now and then. But I’d rather fail after I have tried than not trying at all. It is a matter of choice.

It all starts with the mind. If you tell yourself that you can and work through it, eventually you will. If I can, why can’t you?


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  1. 1

    A true inspiration indeed. Thank you mutshidzi for sharing ur story and indeed it all starts in our minds no matter what life throws at you one should always belive in her self and trust in God.

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