Iweka Kingsley presents Emily’s diary (Chapter 3)

by Iweka Kingsley
In commemoration of October as the month Breast Cancer awareness globally, Iweka Kingsley writes about a fourteen years old girl diagnosed with breast cancer who shares events of her life through a private diary she keeps.
He believes that the cancer campaign all over the world should be amplified and hopes EMILY’S DIARY will drive consciousness and inspire hope and real actions towards cancer.




Dear Diary,
I did not blame Tonia at all; I was just really ashamed because despite the fact that I did not know so much about breast cancer, I did know that it is not contagious. I did not also really blame Tonia’s mum, even though her actions stung so much, I imagined she was only trying to protect her daughter, even though ignorantly. It was that awful display of ignorance, and for such little purpose, that both annoyed and confounded me. It was then that I decided I was going to learn so much about breast cancer and give this fight my all.
I did not tell my parents about what happened at Tonia’s house that day, but when five days passed and there had been no contact between I and Tonia that my mum sensed something was wrong. She asked casually over dinner one time, and I just simply replied that Tonia’s fine, that she’s spending some days at her cousin’s and she’s not been around. But my father had seen her entering their compound on his way back from work. He looked up at me, held my gaze for several seconds then continued eating.
Later, when my mother had managed to go to sleep, my father came to my room and asked what happened with Tonia. I knew it was pointless lying to him so I told him everything.
It was easy avoiding Tonia initially; we were still on holidays so I didn’t have to run into her on the corridors at school or at the tuck shop during break time. But school was resuming in a week and I wasn’t sure what that meant anymore. School resumption used to be a terrible longing, but this time the thought of it was filled with horrors that I couldn’t quite describe or properly imagine. I was afraid of things I didn’t even know of. Would I be walking one day and my left breast would just fall off? I had such nightmares just thinking about it.
The doctor had asked us to return to the hospital in two weeks to discuss what the next steps would be. I remember she mentioned something about doing a lumpectomy or mastectomy, depending on how far gone the cancer was. Ideally both are breast-conserving operations in which the surgeon removes the tumour together with some normal breast tissue surrounding it. She assured me that she would “take care of me”. Those simple words strengthened me in an amazing way. I sometimes wonder if it was the sincerity in her tone, or confidence in the fact that she was a professional at these things that calmed me.
That was how I began researching about lumpectomy, mastectomy and breast cancer generally. I discovered that indeed it was extremely rare for a young child to develop breast cancer; in fact there is only a 0.1 percent chance of an adolescent or young child developing breast cancer. I did not know exactly how to feel finding myself in that rare category of humans in the world.
I began researching about other children like me, the ‘special’ ones, and then I found Ashley. Ashley lives in the United States with her mother. She was fourteen years old when she was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks before Christmas two years ago. She had been playing basketball with her friends when she got hit in the chest with the ball. The doctors later discovered a tumour in her right breast. She had a partial mastectomy and her right breast was removed in May the year after.
I cried after reading about Ashley. I felt sorry for her and briefly forgot about my own case. And that’s when I set out on a quest to find Ashley and others like us, the special ones. It was on this day that I first had the idea to form what is now the most popular group of young breast cancer survivors – the Pink Panthers.
I would eventually receive an email from the real Ashley, after sending out a series of email to the editor of the website I had first read about her story. We would also become good friends, enjoying conversations on Facebook, Twitter and she would eventually become the Co-Founder of the Pink Panthers.

Two weeks passed and I still had not heard from Tonia, even though we lived in the same estate. I missed her sometimes…no, I missed her all the time. I missed how we laughed and joked about everything. She was always fun to be with. Perhaps I should not have told her, at least not yet; but I was only trying to be a true friend. Daddy once told me that sincerity removes complications in every relationship. Perhaps he forgot to tell me about the risks that came with sincerity. Tell people the truth and you might lose them, just as I lost Tonia. I often think that if I had told her the truth in bits, perhaps we would still be friends now. But the truth should not be broken in bits, otherwise it would be lost in transmission, and besides, one might lose enthusiasm along the way, then the truth becomes a lie because it was broken in transmission. I’d stick to telling the truth and living freely afterwards.

Missed anything? Here’s Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 for your reading pleasure.

Iweka Kingsley is the author of DAPPLED THINGS and the Founder of Africa-OnTheRise.com which won the 2016 African Blogger Awards for “Best Blog about Africa” and the “Best Social Issues and Active Citizenship Blog”. He is a creative writer and communications consultant based in Lagos. He also volunteers as a Grant Advisor with the Pollination Project in the United States, an organization dedicated to making daily seed grants of $1,000 to development projects across the world.

You can download and read his latest publication “MEMORABLE” on OkadaBooks here:

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