Monica Banda’s burning ambition is to become a nurse, but for now she will have to spend time on the treatment table after cervical cancer struck her over eight months ago.
But Monica, 21, who lives in Bangwe, Blantyre, believes that someday, her life will return to normal to accord her the chance to become the nurse she has always wanted to be.
She scored 30 points in her Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations last year.
Dressed in a chitenje up to her chest with a white blouse, her medium, light-skinned and slim frame is evidence of the suffering she has gone through in the past eight months.
The home, in Bangwe’s Chikunda area, is but one of the low-income households which has been surviving on green maize for most of its meals.
“Time has been hard since my illness. I fell sick at about the time my father lost his job. My mother’s business of selling eggs also went dead. Now, I have been told I need K1.5 million [about $3 846) for treatment in Tanzania. We cannot afford three meals; what more with this?” said Monica.
She described how difficult it is to bear the burden of the disease. Monica recalled the heavy bleeding from her private parts that later paved way to foul discharges which isolated her because it was embarrassing as well as discomforting to others.
Monica’s lifestyle has changed dramatically as she has to bathe more than twice a day to minimise the smell and wash off the discharges.
At the peak of her illness in January 2013, she went for two days without passing urine due to some complications.
It was on August 20, 2012 when Monica first noticed abnormalities in her menstruation period. It lasted for four days, but later recurred at the end of the same month.
“I have been to several prayer houses and I must admit my condition is not the same. I am able to wear clothes, sit and chat like I’m doing with you and stay without painkillers. I would roll on the ground most of the times and groan in pain,” she said.
Monica has the support of well-wishers and loving parents, Patrick and Dorothy Banda. She acknowledged their efforts to raise the money that would save her life.
According to Monica, the most they have managed to raise was K21 000 (about $53) which was spent on her medication and food for the family.
A medical report from the College of Medicine by Dr Frank Taulo, an obstetrician/ gynecologist, confirms that Monica has stage three [advanced] cancer of the cervix.
“I have recently attended to the named patient Miss Monica Banda, 21, recently diagnosed with cancer of the cervix. She requires immediate treatment in Tanzania at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute. For transport, accommodation and treatment, she will require approximately K1.5 million (about $3 846),” said Taulo.
The family is appealing to well-wishers to help in raising the money to enable Monica seek treatment in Tanzania.