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Monday, 8 October 2012

A Breast Cancer Story

The month of October is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month
There’s a certain education that comes from travel that has little to do with why you travelled in the first place – even if it is to do an MBA. Here’s my story:
I migrated to the USA to pursue an MBA, like most Jamaicans I had to work. I was disappointed that I could only get 20 hours of student labour. But hey, that was way better than not being able to work at all. I got a job in the Plant Services Department of the university I attended, and that where I met Dwayne. He was a professional painter, and I was assigned to work with him. Dwayne was a great conversationalist, and there was never a dull moment working with him. He was a patient teacher, and a sensitive communicator, and had a way of making you feel special.
Though there were clear boundaries that he observed Dwayne shared quite a bit of his personal life: he was married and had a daughter. He spoke of them often. Dwayne loved his family.
One day as he sought to excuse the curious behaviour of another full time worker he mentioned the fact that his co-worker had lost his wife to breast cancer. That was when Dwayne shared that his wife was a cancer survivor – breast cancer.

The Pink Ribbon- The symbol for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Dwayne shared that both his and his co-worker’s wife’s cancer case was discovered at around the same time, and were pretty much at the same stage. Dwayne’s wife survived, but his co-worker’s didn’t; they had similar prognosis, but very different outcomes. But when you listen to Dwayne’s experience you’ll understand why that was so.
Dwayne, upon learning of his wife’s situation immediately owned it. They were in it together – so much so that when she received chemotherapy and lost her hair, Dwayne shaved his head. I believe the daughter did too. Whatever discomfort she had to endure, as far as possible, they bore it together. They were determined to kick this problem and they did it… together. Lesson?
I’m a husband and here’s what I’m determined to do with my wife: check often, discover early, stay positive, and support fully. The rest is left to treatment, but mostly to God.