‘Please do get checked’

Dr Iferemi Baledrokadroka (standing left) with his siblings and their parents. Picture: SUPPLIED

To be a doctor and to helplessly see someone you love die slowly to a disease is the worst experience anyone could experience.

Three months after his mother’s passing from breast cancer, Dr Ifereimi Baledrokadroka labelled the experience as a nightmare especially considering their close relationship.

“It felt like everything happened in a blink of an eye from the day she was diagnosed in April this year to the moment of her death in June,” Dr Baledrokadroka said.

“It all started when she complained of the swelling on her left arm but little did I know that the root cause of swelling was on her breast.

“Worried and anxious I took her to the hospital to get checked by the doctor and that is how she was diagnosed with the disease.

“We were referred to CWM Hospital for expertise treatment and investigation hence we had to stay there for almost two weeks.”

Dr Baledrokadroka said during her stay at the CWM Hospital his mother went through a blood test, biopsy, chest X-ray and CT scan which all confirmed his fears.

“Hearing from the doctor that my mother was positive and in the late stages was heartbreaking especially knowing that she was on a death penalty.

“My world crumbled. “Her words of reassurance to me was, ‘Luvequ ke sa kacivi au na Kalou au na ciqoma, iko talega mo na ciqoma baleta keda na mate kece e na dua na siga (My son, I will accept God’s calling when it happens, and I need you to do the same because we will all die one day)’.”

“I watched my mother’s condition deteriorate as she suffered drastic weight loss, paralysis of the lower limb, edema, shortness of breath and excruciating pain that even morphine couldn’t suppress.”

Dr Baledrokadroka admits avoiding seeing his mother because of her unbearable pain.

“Though my dad was very much alive, my mum was and always my go to person.”

As a doctor and someone who lost a close one to breast cancer, Dr Baledrokadroka has urged people to have a check-up.

“If you are reading this and your mother is still alive then count yourself blessed. Have her checked if she is having any sort of abnormality.

“To all our women out there, please do get checked if you feel you are not feeling well because you are your own best doctors.

“Don’t be shy the medical personnel are there to help you, please do so before it’s too late.”

Dr Baledrokadroka serves at the Vunidawa Hospital in Naitasiri.

Meanwhile, the surgical and pathology departments at the CWM Hospital indicated that from January 2019 to August 2020, there were 187 breast cancer cases recorded in Fiji.

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