“I first felt a piercing pain in my breast 12 years ago. Soon there were a series of noticeable symptoms. Then one day, I felt a small, hard lump on my breast. I went to Mongar hospital and they suggested surgery. The lump was removed. They said I had breast cancer- I had never even heard that term before. I just knew that my life was not going to be the same anymore. The illness worsened, and I was told the cancer had spread to other parts of my breasts. The villagers said I’d die if the disease made me lose my breasts. I told them I will not die but these myths gave me chills. Around the same time, my husband lost his hearing completely. I felt only despair and would weave all day. I dreamed that I would sell the textile and go on a pilgrimage to Dorji-den. When I was referred to the National Referral Hospital in Thimphu, we lived with our son who hardly earned enough for himself. On hospital visits, we’d go hungry because we had no money. I’d cry in frustration. Being sick was hard enough already. It was then that we were approached by Bhutan Cancer Society. They understood our desperation for financial help. A kind lady Dasho, who I hear has retired now, was the head of the organisation. They opened a bank account for me and deposited Nu. 3000 every month. This money helped keep our heads above water.

I had 9 rounds of chemotherapy, and not a single strand of hair was left on my head. But I started recovering. It was as though cancer had left my body. However, a disease like cancer is hard to cure. Two years after stopping chemo, I’m sick again. This time I can’t even walk. The villagers had to carry me on a makeshift stretcher to the nearest road when I fell ill. An ambulance took me to the Reserboo hospital from there. The hopes of a full recovery are little this time. I cry wondering if this is my last trip anywhere. I don’t want to die. I want to go back to being healthy and work in my fields. I’m tired of the hospital food. The nurse makes me eat eggs twice a day to regain my weight since I was only 33kg on my arrival. Thankfully, the Cancer Society has started giving me money again. For poor people like me, such help make the difference between life and death.”

Cancer is a tough battle for everyone. For people like Sumzang, the financial aspects make it even harder. When help like that from Bhutan Cancer Society comes their way, it is almost a new chance to live beyond this disease.

This Cancer Survival Month, Humans of Thimphu is with Bhutan Cancer Society to create awareness about the challenges of survival-ship. #providinghope #cancersurvivors #newchanceatlife
Donate today at http://www.bhutancancer.net/support-us/

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