Patient Stories

Lucy Nkosi – Celebrating life amidst the shadows of despair

July 31, 2023 Word for Word Media 0Comment

 Lucy Nkosi poetically details how she and her family are dealing with her mother’s recurrence of leiomyosarcoma.

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Lucy Nkosi (32) and her mother, Philisiwe Nkosi (61) lives in Soweto, Gauteng.

I sit in the waiting room, anxiously thinking about my mother’s upcoming birthday. As tears build up, memories rush through my mind, sending me back to her joyful celebration a year ago, a dramatic contrastto the present occasion, clouded by the recurrence of leiomyosarcoma.

We gathered in a beautifully decorated room, waiting to receive our guest of honour. My mother entered the room, beaming a grin piercing her soul’s depths.

We had no idea that a sinister storm was brewing.”The cancer is back, more aggressive than before,  it has now progressed to Stage 4,” the doctor said. What was supposed to be new beginnings became a journey in which optimism and despair entwined at every step.

Leiomyosarcoma, a rare and deadly cancer, that begins in smooth muscle tissue, emerged as a hidden foe penetrating all aspects of our life. We faced the unpleasant truth of this insidious cancer, which began with a bit of growth in her lower leg and then swiftly advanced to her scalp and other regions of her upper body. 

We witnessed the arduous journey that cancer patients face. Life’s colourful melody faded, replaced by a cacophony of hospital appointments, treatment plans, and an ever-present sense of uncertainty. Our days became entangled in a new reality, where each minute carried the weight of a thousand emotions, balancing on the precipice of hope and anguish. Cancer took over our lives, impacting everyone.

An invincible spirit

I saw first-hand how the cancer affected my mother’s health and well-being. She was once full of life and zeal, but now she finds herself in the hands of an unrelenting foe. Her body, which was once a canvas for her life’s experiences, now shows the scars of the disease.

My mother’s treasured pastimes have become distant memories buried under the weight of her sickness as she battles fatigue, pain, and a continual veil of uncertainty. She shields my brother and I from her anguish with unflinching strength, but the peaceful hours of the night show glimpses of the emotional toll of cancer. Unspoken sadness, doubt, and even her unwavering religious and spiritual base become her pillars as she searches for meaning during the chaos.

Fighting as a family

This disease becomes a steadfast opponent in our family’s battle for survival, influencing our daily routines, decisions, and emotions. Simple pleasures once taken for granted have suddenly become huge triumphs, a momentary reprieve from suffering or a fleeting glimpse of her smile. 

We find comfort in one another’s shared vulnerability, supporting one another through unsaid anxieties and quiet cries. Friends and extended family rally around us, resolute in their support, as the ripple effect of cancer stretches beyond the bounds of my mother’s house.

I realise that courage isn’t always grand and triumphant; it’s in the quiet tenacity of a gentle touch, a soft-spoken word, or a shared grin through tears. Cancer may have broken our world, but it unknowingly revealed the determination that exists within us when confronted with life’s most formidable difficulties.

Self-care is not a betrayal

As the battle continues, my worries and anxieties confront me. The threat of loss looms, and guilt lingers as I wonder if I’m doing or being enough. Am I showing enough support to my mother? Am I asking doctors the right questions? Am I too focused on myself and my own feelings?

However, I’m learning that self-care is not a betrayal but a necessity for survival. I can keep the flame of compassion and strength burning within me by taking care of myself. Seeking help, taking breaks, and seeking solace in the arms of loved ones who understand my journey has become critical.

Celebrating life despite the situation

As my mother’s birthday approaches again, we celebrate life despite the omnipresent shadow created by cancer. We appreciate her spirit’s resilience, embracing each beautiful moment with gratitude. Despite the difficulties that lie ahead, we take comfort in the bonds of family, the support of friends, and the unshakeable belief that each birthday celebrated is a success. We celebrate life in the face of adversity, cherishing the moments that create a tapestry of resilience in cancer’s relentless grip.

Laurelle Williams

MEET THE EDITOR – Laurelle Williams

Laurelle Williams is the editor at Word for Word Media. She graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She has a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. [email protected]

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