“Till death do us part”

Vanuakula Village headman Leone Torovugalei during an interview with this newspaper at Vanuakula, Naitasiri. Picture: JONA KONATACI

Leone Torovugalei had to sell a cow, a pig and almost sold his house to fund for his wife Seini Nakilakila’s cancer treatment.

“The day the doctor told me that my wife had breast cancer, I didn’t want to believe it,” the Vanuakula Village headman in Naitasiri said.

Mr Torovugalei said he didn’t know his wife had health issues since 2007.

After she nearly died of a menstruation-related sickness last year, he decided to take her to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH).

Mr Torovugalei said after being examined by a doctor, he was told his wife had to be admitted.

“Seini just refused and it was then that I asked the doctor how long she had left.

“He told me if she made it past December (2019), there would be some hope.

“We went outside and I told my wife that the doctor is a human being like us but only God knew our every day of our life,” said Mr Torovugalei.

He added when he asked his wife to go for chemotherapy, she refused and said she only wanted to use traditional iTaukei herbal medicine.

Mr Torovugalei said they went to his wife’s village in Drauniivi, Ra, and stayed there for a month.

He said after one month there was no change and he asked they return to Vanuakula.

“My wife’s family thought that I would abandon her and look for another wife because of the state of her health.

“I told her that I would fulfil my vows to God and would stay with her till death do us apart.”

He said when they reached Vanuakula, his wife went to the hospital and was immediately admitted.

“And that became our life, week in, week out, in hospital as she underwent chemotherapy.”

He said it did not take long before money ran out and he had to sell a cow and a pig.

“I told my wife, the last option for us in fighting for her health was to sell our house and all our belongings.

“I thank God because at the end of November last year, the Fiji Cancer Society stepped in to help us and they have continued to do so to date.”

Mr Torovugalei said before Fiji Cancer Society came to their aid, he used to spend more than $100 transporting his wife from the village to CWMH and back.

He said they had spent the past three months at Vanuakula and he hoped they could continue staying there because there has been a vast improvement in her health.

Mr Torovugalei said his advice to all women in Fiji was to “please go to the hospital and forget about herbal medicine because cancer kills”.

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