I got back to my hostel that evening.
I was very unsettled and worried. Why did the nurse not say anything conclusive? Was it so serious we have to wait till Pastor Lanre gives an opinion?
I barely concentrated during study time that night. All I wanted was to see Pastor Lanre and hear the verdict on this matter once and for all.
The next day being Monday the 29th of March, we all trooped to the silent school premises. We had a short assembly , took some announcements and dispersed to class for the Lessons scheduled for the day.
I headed to the school clinic afterwards and since the nurse had already spoken to Pastor Lanre, he examined me and asked me when I noticed,so I estimated. He also observed that the lumps were moving and not ‘fixed’ to any point.
The conclusion was that we would have to go see a surgeon the next day, to get his professional opinion on the situation.
As I settled down for study time that evening,
The house parent on duty said I had a phone call.
It was my mother.
I remember watching her as a child… Some mornings before she dressed up for work, when I questioned her she would explain what she was doing as what I now know and understand to be BSE.
It was because of this little socialization and exposure that I was enlightened enough to know that the lumps in my breast, though small, were a ‘red flag’ I could not ignore.
So, I spoke to her that evening
We were excited to be speaking with ourselves.
After exchanging pleasantries, I went on to tell her about this lumpy situation that seemed to be getting more serious. At that point my voice must have become shaky.
All the excitement in her voice vanished once I mentioned it. My attempts to banish her thoughts of worry with “I’m sure its nothing, I’d be fine, don’t worry” seemed futile.
The next day was Tuesday March 30th, 2010. I , after not mentioning a word of what the situation was gradually turning into to anyone and trying my best not to freak out, headed to the school clinic.
On getting there Pastor Lanre being like a Father to me, he teased that I had gone trying to reach mummy.
This obviously implied that she had called him as soon as I had told her.
I explained I that it was actually coincidence and that she on her own called me that day. He gave me the summary of their discussion before we headed to the hospital outside school with a grade eleven student , my friend Ifetayo.
She needed to see a dentist.
The hospital was the “Sunnydale Orthopaedics” it was private and it was located in a private estate. As we drove in, I took in the serenity of the surrounding. It was obviously a hospital and a home.
On getting inside the doctors office Pastor Lanre explained the situation to Doctor Obileye who was the owner of the hospital. He was smartly dressed in scrubs which had his name nicely monogramed on his breast pocket.
He said he had to examine me which he did. After this he asked why I did not speak up for so long. He immediately recommended surgery referring to the fact that there was a history of cancer in my family. Although he said the lumps were benign…
*P A U S E*
At this point in time it was like I was watching a movie where I was the start actress. Everything was happening too fast! First of all surgery! The thought of it alone was scary! Then history of Cancer how? Who? I remember confidently discussing that I had none of such in my family. Wow.
My head was full and it was almost as if it was not my body that was being discussed.
I did not want to go under the knife, I did not want to scar my body let alone the boobs I had barely started to grow.
I was terrified.
* * *
Pastor Lanre went on to explain that I had lost an Aunt from my dad side to Cancer. It was at that point in time my mind went to my dad’s sister Aunt Salome-of blessed memory.
So that was what killed her? And I was just finding out when I had to under go a surgery too? This wall too much at once.
I really wanted to cry, I knew it was not like it would solve anything but the rush and speed at which the words
‘surgery…cancerous…lumps…As soon as possible…’
were dancing in my brain, left me no better reaction.
On our way to school Pastor Lanre stopped by the dentist. Apparently Ifetayo had an appointment. I wonder how I kept my composure. I did not cry , I did not frown, nothing. I simply watched NTA at the clinic reception and waited for Ifetayo. When she was done, we headed back to school. For the rest of the school day I remember being my normal self. I needed to talk to someone.. My friend Lola was not around and so I could not tell her.
A fellow prefect Eni, who was also Pastor Lanre’s daughter noticed my absence from school and asked where I had gone to. I simply explained that I had followed Ifetayo to the dentist.
At the end of the day when we were all heading back to our hostels, I stopped by the Grade 11 hostel to speak to Auntie Toyin. Auntie Toyin was a beloved house mistress and I found it easy to relate with her especially since she was kind hearted. I remember walking into her room and so many people were inside. I simply waited for the room to empty.
I broke down.
She stopped and encouraged me. She told me she would have me in her prayers and I should not worry.
That evening I waited till study time was almost over, excused myself after explaining the situation to Auntie Bunmi the House parent on duty that evening. Since no one was in the rooms and I was doing my best to be anything but discreet about my departure, I went to my room and packed things I would need to take home into my school bag. My mum had told me she would come to pick me first thing the next morning. She also warned me to abstain from fatty foods. Apparently she had done a little research and regarding the situation at hand, I was to abstain from fatty food.
When she told me that all I could think was ‘oops’ because I had already helped myself to a generous amount of chocolate spread at dinner time. Looking back, that must have been one of the main reasons why my friend Fiyin had nicknamed me chocolate city. Of course apart from the fact that I was an M.I fan and I was dark in complexion.
On Wednesday the 31st of March, I headed to the school premises ‘for class’. My school bag was ‘fuller’ than usual. While in class receiving an African History lecture with my friend Banke, I noticed my parents drive into the school gate.
I acted confused as if I had no prior knowledge of the fact that they were coming.
So My teacher Mr Ibikunle, Band and I, in what you can call James Bond movement, headed toward the school Administrative block where my parents were.
As we all got to the Block we exchanged pleasantries with my parents and Mr Ibikunle headed towards the principal’s office. I turned to Banke and asked her not to mention my departure to anyone.
I remember seeing Sope that day and debating whether or not to tell him, seeing as he was practically the second person I discussed the lump issue with though indirectly he managed to venture a guess that seemed close enough.
Sope, Lola, Eniola, Ibukun, Deji and I were all classmates and had formed a bible study group. I did not want to tell anyone at all. I felt I did not need anyone wondering what the condition of my bosom was.
Pastor Lanre was at the Administrative block to tell me goodbye and offer words of prayer and encouragement.
I got into the car and sat in the front seat while my parents sat at the back. Mr Deremi my mum’s long time driver was behind the wheel.
I saw from the side mirror that my parents were holding their hands at the back of the car. I thought it cute how they were being strong for each other and for me. They did not see me when I noticed.
From what I understood as the day went by, the night I told my mum about the lumps that same day she had just clarified a mistaken pap smear result. The result was scary and had serious negative implications but it turned out the lab made a mistake. It was as though she had come out of one round of negative shock into yet another.
Later that night when we were all seated in the sitting room. My mum asked how come I did not speak up since but my dad quickly comes into the conversation saying I have already spoken up so it doesn’t matter that I did not do so before….
* * *
Its 6 days to my 20th birthday.
God has been faithful and for as long as I live I won’t fail to testify!!
Don’t forget to say Happy Birthday on the 31st. Join me again tomorrow as I continue.