Portia Ntoni, a 56-year-old woman who hails from Moroka Village in the North East District, considers herself to be fortunate after she survived blood cancer, of which she was diagnosed in 2010.
The single mother of two, who works as a Filing Clerk at Building Material Supplies in Francistown, says that she survived the deadly disease due to her faith in God and her positive attitude towards life in general.
Narrating her story to the participants during the World Cancer Commemoration Day last week in Francistown, Ntoni said that her ordeal began in September 2010 when she started developing allergies against plants and perfumes. ┬áShe said that her health condition became weak as she also started developing regular coughs, which were painful.
┬á“Before my diagnosis with cancer, my body was weakening each day and I was not sure what my problem was,” she said. “I decided to go to Nyangabwe Referral Hospital as members of my family were also getting worried due to my deteriorating health.”
┬áNtoni said that at the hospital, she was tested for Tuberculosis but the disease was not detected. She said that she was discharged and the doctor suggested that she should eat fruits and vegetables to try and boost her immune system.
She said that the following morning after she was discharged from hospital, she began coughing heavily again and her condition became worse.
“I was going back and forth between my home and the hospital and my condition was not improving.
One day, my family rushed me to the hospital because my state had become very serious and life threatening. ┬áI was giving up on my life and prayed that God should just take my life to relieve me from all the suffering,” Ntoni said.
She added that at Nyangabwe Referral Hospital, she was tested again for Tuberculosis and this time, the doctor said that her lungs had water. She said was then hospitalized and water was drained from her lungs.
Ntoni said that her condition kept on getting worse and finally she was referred to Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone to test for cancer.
“Finally, at Marina, I was diagnosed with blood cancer. The news that I had cancer was devastating; it gave me little hope of survival and my family had given up on me as well. However, there was an inner voice that told me to be strong and I also prayed hard because I am a Christian,” she said.
Ntoni said that she was then referred for chemotherapy and her condition started to improve, adding that she had now accepted that she had cancer and believed deeply that she could get healed.
Ntoni said that after the therapy she was encouraged to eat fruits and vegetables and her condition kept on improving. She said that she was ultimately healed in 2012.
“I believe the reason why I was healed is that I believed that cancer can be healed and I also gained strength from my belief in God as a Christian. It is very important for people to take responsibility for their own health and to never give up,” she said.
She encouraged cancer patients to desist from believing in myths that cancer cannot be healed and urged everyone to test for the disease.
Ntoni said that cancer can be contained, especially when it is detected in its early stages.