Joycelyn Kumah, breast cancer survivor

"Chemotherapy affected my sex drive, and nothing my husband did turned me on," Joycelyn Kumah, a critical care nurse and breast cancer survivor, said sadly as she narrated how the deadly disease had a toll on her entire life on "Strong &Sassy" hosted by Animwaa Anim Addo.

Recalling how her ordeal started, Joycelyn said that although she's a nurse, she never went to have her breasts examined because she was fit and had no family history of a relative who had had the disease.

Unfortunately, in November 2019, she got to know she had the disease, and that shattered her plans.

Narrating how it all happened, Joycelyn mentioned that she had returned from work one night and, as part of her routine, she decided to speak with her husband before she retired to bed because he lives outside Accra.

Just when she laid on her back and, by chance, she touched her breast and felt a hard nut in there.

"I screamed, and my husband asked what was wrong and I said I felt a lump in my breast, and he advised that I go and have it examined", she continued.

She finally yielded to have her breasts examined after two weeks of persistent reminders from her husband. And when she did, she had the shock of her life.

"The doctor I went to see asked that I do a breast scan, and when I went, the technician detected that the lump was cancerous.

"When he blurted out that I had cancer, I froze. And when he realised that I was taken aback by what he said, he then tried to allay my fears by saying I'll be fine jokingly and that my doctor will advise me on what to do", how pathetic!

According to the survivor, she got confused immediately and returned to see her doctor with the report.

"When I went back, my doctor asked me not to worry because a biopsy had to be done to actually confirm the lump was cancerous. So, he tried to counsel and encourage me", she muttered.

Joycelyn had to wait to see another doctor the following day, and she was asked to go and have the biopsy done.

"I went through a lot of psychological trauma. The tears, prayers etc., in fact, I prayed and wished the biopsy report would turn out negative. Unfortunately, when I went for the report, my curiosity made me open it, and to my surprise, it was positive.

"My confusion doubled. I stood by the roadside for more than 30 minutes, not knowing what to do. I didn't know whether to return to work, and I was confused as to who to call," she said with tears welling up in her eyes.

Her clinician said it was good her case had been detected early, and it was the first stage. So, in December 2019, she had surgery and started chemotherapy in January 2020.

The husband of Joycelyn, Edward Elikplim Yaokumah, spoke about how his wife's condition at the time affected him and the marriage.

"It wasn't easy. I was confused. We hear about breast cancer, but for it to get close to you and affect your wife, it was not easy psychologically, and my fear was about the uncertainty of the future, not knowing what is really going to happen," he exclaimed.

"I had fear of dying, and chemotherapy had a toll on me", Joycelyn shared.

"I walked in boldly for my first chemotherapy. Two days afterward, I started feeling weak. I had nausea, diarrhoea and I was restless. I had mouth sores, I lost some of my toenails, I had rashes, loss of hair, and loss of appetite. It was not easy," tears rolled down her eyes as she spoke.

According to the survivor, she did radiotherapy for three weeks, and that was much better than chemotherapy. Although she still goes for reviews and does labs, she is a lot better now.

"I'm excited where we are now. That she's gone through all that, and she's still fine. If you look at her, she's more beautiful than ever," Mr. Yaokumah said.

When asked about how breast cancer affected their marriage and sex life during his wife's ordeal, Mr. Yaokumah answered "we tried a few shots intermittently, although it wasn't like it used to be because the chemotherapy caused a lot of changes in my wife."

Joycelyn revealed that she did not want to lose her husband after cancer treatment, so they had to use lubricants and although she didn't enjoy sex, she just had to do it because she had to play her role as a wife to keep the marriage going.

She added that before chemotherapy, she weighed a little above 60kg, but after that, she bloated and became darker, lost her hair, and weighed above 90kg.

Fortunately, she returned to almost her normal size by going for walks, working out, changing her diet, and drinking a lot more water.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.