Survivor defeats ordeal

Breast cancer survivor Teresia Manabola Rokodovu. Picture: Supplied

ON February 1, 2016, Teresia Manabola Rokodovu feared the worse for her life.

After discovering a lump on her left breast in December 2015, she visited a general practitioner in Canberra, Australia and was finally diagnosed with the deadly disease.

Having lived miles away from her family here in Fiji, Ms Rokodovu said a range of things ran through her mind when she was relayed the unfortunate news. She said she was fearful of the unknown.

She feared that she would die of cancer knowing she had friends and relatives who have died from it. Her siblings’ reactions were similar when she informed them about her situation.

“So, I prayed and confessed my fears and laid it down at the cross of Jesus,” she said.

“It was then that I asked God to speak to me and he spoke to me through Psalms 118:17. “This scripture has been my backdrop as I went through surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation.”

A month after her diagnosis, Ms Rokodovu had a mastectomy to her left breast and started her chemotherapy. in April 2016.

Like any other cancer survivor, Ms Rokodovu’s journey wasn’t an easy either. It was one of her toughest times — having to go through weekly chemotherapy and losing her older sister, Lusiana, in the process.

“It was very hard for me to grieve as I was unwell each week and would go for another cycle in the next day. “Emotionally, I was unwell and could not grieve over my sister so I had to put grieving aside and take care of myself. I had to set another time to grieve for my sister.”

She said she was blessed throughout her journey to have had the company of two breast care nurses who have been with her since her first surgery.

“I was able to process what was going on in me with them. They encouraged and supported me the whole time.

“What also carried me through were the prayers from all over the world and the support from my Youth with a Mission (YWAM) Canberra family,” she said.

Now a survivor, Ms Rokodovu said it’s vital for men and women to go for regular health checks.

“My advice to men and women today is to go and get checked. Go for your mammogram and pap smear tests,” Ms Rokodovu said.

“To men, if you feel or find anything unusual, go and get it checked. Don’t wait until it’s too late.”