She fought and beat cancer

All smiles... Mereseini Sogotubu still going strong at 79 years old. Picture: Supplied.

EVERY cancer patient has a different and unique story to tell.

Mereseini Sogotubu, 79, was no different. She was not afraid when the doctor told her five years ago that she had breast cancer.

Instead, she was surprised. During a trip to Australia in June 2017, she discovered a lump on her breast.
“It was the size of a marble and was not painful,” she says.

Upon returning to Fiji, Mereseini went for a checkup at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva.

“I had gone to the hospital multiple times but every time I went, they could not tell me what was wrong.
They checked my vitals and tested if I had diabetes or high blood pressure but the results came back normal.

One day, after another check, when the doctor broke the news.

“Mr sister was with me and when she heard the words breast cancer, she started to cry. I was not scared. I was just surprised.”

Another challenge was informing the rest of her family members about the bad news.

It was during a family gathering that Mereseini finally made the decision to tell the family.

“While we were laughing and all in a good mood, I broke the news to them,” she said.

“My family was distraught when they heard news. They cried but I told them that they were reacting like they didn’t know God. “

“I reminded them that we worship a big God. With those words, they calmed down.”

On August 28, 2017 Mereseini had an operation at CWMH. While the surgery was successful, it was not the end of her fight against cancer.

“I had four rounds of chemotherapy and 21 days of rest in between. After my first chemo I was vomiting and had throbbing headaches. “
“Also, I wanted to be away fromeveryone. It was a difficult period in my life but, I never lost hope and continued with the treatment.”

Despite losing her appetite and having severe vomiting during and after chemo, her family was very supportive of her journey.

“I’m so thankful for the support of my family who were beside me the whole time,” she said.

“They supported me throughout my journey. The doctor also told me that the key to my recovery was to ‘eat and to have lots of rest.”

Mereseini’s advice to women is to get regularly checked for early detection.
“The quicker you go and have a checkup in the hospital the better it is for you. There were those  who went for check up with me and once they knew they had cancer, they never came back to the hospital. Don’t be worried and fearful about going to the doctor or the sickness. Just pray and go.”

Mereseini stays by herself with occasional visits from other family members in the village in Namada, Nadroga.

Ever since August of this year, she has stopped taking her medicine and is now cancer free.

She has five children, eight grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren

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