Tuesday, May 15, 2012


"They have diagnosed me with cancer."

It started with that simple text. A text. Individual words on a screen that didn't draw much of a reaction from me. But as a sentence...as a statement...as a reality it got me quiet. Scared. Shaken. Then I saw the missed calls. Six or seven with the red font staring back at me with a whole lot of judgement. Why didn't you pick up the phone? Where were you? What could have been that important? I sank back to my bed. I had fallen asleep early. Phone on silent. I just wanted some time from the world. But the world was having none of it. And then I scrolled down. Dialing mum......

"Hello?" she answered rather hesitantly.

"I am coming home."The only words that made sense then.

"Ok." She said and the line went quiet.

My hands ran through my hair. Truth is my experiences with cancer were limited. It mostly consisted of movies and tv show where some woman fights the disease while her family rallies behind her. Those heart warming stories of courage and perseverance. Unfortunately for me my only hands-on experience had been just a few months before. My friend's brother had succumbed and I had been there for his funeral. Barely in his twenties...and I had watched her struggle with his condition and his ultimate demise. Read that here.And then a new, alien feeling. Panic.

It's a weird feeling when you get to the age where your parents are no longer superhuman. When you can see their faults and flaws and you begrudgingly accept that they are human. Then you start seeing the frailty. The delicateness. The humanity. And that scared me. Terrified me.

Two weeks later we were driving from the hospital and there had been a huge thunderstorm. We were stuck in traffic and lightning just lit up the inky darkness. Night became day. And I watched my mum flinch with fear. And then i thought back to my childhood. I thought back to when I had been running scared about the lightning and thunder, she was the one who had comforted and consoled me. Told me everything would be ok. Had she been scared as well? And it dawns on you. She is superhuman!

Crazy runs in the family!
Family meeting and for some weird reason there is nothing but laughter. Mum has turned breast cancer into a little joke. She will take anything that bugs her and make some odd reference to it. For example the food will take too long in the kitchen and her voice rings out: "You guys are starving me and I have cancer?" You can tell she thinks it's inappropriate but the jokes are funny. And the discussion runs lengthy as we talk about everything from my late dad's weird names for all of us (My sister's was 'Pajero' by the way) to  my brother's possible names for his first kid.

The day after her mastectomy, her family and friends stands around her bed. She has that smile on her face again. Showing off how many more visitors she has than the other people in the ward. She says she doesn't want pity. Those who came with pity might as well take it back home. You'd think nothing gets to her but I assume under all that is some level of fear.

Later we find out that insurance won't cover the cost of everything. There's the drugs, surgery and then months of chemotherapy. Mum chimes in that it won't even cover the cost of the wigs when she starts losing her hair.

If you feel emotionally blackmailed then my work here is complete. I want your money. All of it. For real. I am not kidding. There's a whole lot to raise and not much time. So if you feel sufficiently philanthropic (ewwww) then you can reach me through 0728831340 or bkoyoo@gmail.com. Take a moment and think about it.I am not trying to cure Cancer. This is as selfish as requests get. Thanks.


  1. I was gonna tell you how sorry I was. Even maybe add a subtle 'Stay strong, brah...with you all the way'. Until I read this comment: 
    She says she doesn't want pity. Those who came with pity might as well take it back home. 

    And I figured her strength and positiveness spoke louder bellows than any attempt at empathy would. Still, with you all the way. Starting now

  2. My eyes are misty. I know your lovely mother doesn't want pity so I won't pity her but I will admire her.

    Never met you but i like you so of course I am feeling sufficiently philanthropic (double ewww)!

  3. Maryanne Njoroge16 May 2012 at 13:52

    all will be well!

  4. Sarah Gat-umbo16 May 2012 at 17:49

    Brian Brian....there's a way to wind up that article :P

  5. Our mighty God is on His throne!! ...My prayers are with your family.........I don't know you...but am definitely feeling sufficiently philanthropic...(thank you Maryanne Njoroge for bringing this to my attention)

  6. Fred Wambugu Maina  thanks for the concern and for stowing the pity. 

  7. Seriously can't say thanks enough for all the guys who have given moral and material support. I don't even know where to start. I can't say it enough though. Thanks for spreading the word.

  8. Hey Brian, i am so sorry.words cant explain..All is going to be well.Just Trust.

  9. William Warero26 May 2012 at 00:25

    As someone in the exacf same spot, just wondering how you and your family are going through this journey.

  10. If you are anything to go by, your mum must be a ribcracker. You are starving me and i have cancer hahahah.i can't give much but the greatest thing i can do is pray for her and your family.she can fight the cancer through Christ who strengthens her.