An author, psychologist and motivational speaker, Barbara Kamba Nyathi is a survivor of stage 3 cervical cancer, endometriosis, cystic fibrosis and myoma. Nyathi’s first diagnosis of cancer was in 2009 when she was only 30 years. “I was shocked, confused and it didn’t make sense because I believed that cervical cancer was only in older women. I was also at the peak of my health so cancer was the last thing on my mind,” she mentioned.
It took her about four months after the diagnosis to get over the shock. “The shock only wore off when the reality hit me. I went through the stages that everyone who has been through some traumatic experience goes through. I was in denial that it couldn’t be. I went through the grieving stages of my life and a change that I was not prepared for,” she said.
Although it took her by shock, Nyathi says that she did not question why it happened to her. “We never get answers from life so why bother asking?” Nyathi who has never had children says that she went through twelve (12) operations, the last one having been done last year and hopes it to be the last. Like any other cancer patient, she didn’t go through chemotherapy as the doctors were hoping that she would get children.
Nyathi commends the emotional support that she received from her husband then, her immediate family and friends saying that it played a very big role. Emotional support is very important not only to cancer patients but to everybody. Everyone needs emotional support because if it’s not there it’s easy to fall into a depression. That is why sometimes people give up and they do not fight. Sometimes it’s only in one’s mind that they can’t be treated but once you tell yourself that you are going to overcome the illness, you will. The cancer may be diagnosed late but you would still need hope when you have something to fight for,” she emphasized.
She continues to commend the health system saying that she had the best treatment. At the time of diagnosis we had just come to Namibia with my husband. It was the discovered that I had cancer during my first checkup in Namibia and it was so strange from having nothing wrong to having stage three cancer. This made me believe that the health system does play a big role in the health of the citizens. I had the best treatment and that says a lot about the health system in the country. Coming to Namibia actually saved my life I may not have known and ended up dying without knowing what was happening,” narrates Nyathi.
Having been a health enthusiast, Nyathi says that she has maintained her lifestyle and works out even more now.
“Most people think cancer is a death sentence but we should truly feel free to go for our annual checkups. When it’s detected early it’s easier to be treated and you can recover completely. It’s also important for people to look for information and be well acquainted with cancer,” she stressed.