Fishing for total recovery
Catching the beaming smile and the glow radiating from Rosaline Francis, it’s hard to fathom that for the last four months she’s been in a life and death battle with breast cancer.
Or that she’s had to endure gruelling rounds of chemotherapy that made her so sick she couldn’t keep anything down. As if the chemotherapy wasn’t difficult enough to cope with, she also has to take a series of nine injections, which, along with being painful, add to her sickness and discomfort.
But for Rosaline, this is her life at the moment. Her steely resolve not only to fight the cancer but also to have a sense of peace and a strong faith in God going through the process.
“God has been able to guide me a lot through this mentally and spiritually,” she says, smiling. “The first thing I did when I got the news was cut off a lot of negative people. You can’t go through this with negativity around you.”
Rosaline has a lot to be thankful for despite going through what she and many have described as the worst period of her life. With an enthusiastic spirit and zest for life, including sporting her clean-shaven head, one of the by-products of chemotherapy following her mastectomy on her left breast, Rosaline says she wouldn’t wish the process on her worst enemy.
“There wasn’t a lump. They couldn’t find a lump, but the ultrasound showed lymph nodes, so they told me to take off everything,” Rosaline said.
“I had even told them take off both breasts, but my doctor told me it wasn’t necessary.”
“They took off the breast and told me it was breast cancer and then they took off the lymph nodes (seven). So all under here” [she points to her arm] “is still healing. But then I’ve talked to people who have been through it and they have been really good helping me a lot.”
One thing Rosaline has credited is the love and support of friends who have come to her aid, bringing her food, fruit, and sometimes helping out because with the treatments and the illness she had to leave her job.
“It’s been remarkable – the love and support from my friends,” she said. “They have not left me, and God has truly provided for my needs in every way.”
For Rosaline there is a hope, because she is nearing her final chemotherapy treatment. But the whole ordeal with her cancer has changed her life.
“I’ve changed a lot of things, including my diet, which consists of lots of green stuff,” she says. “I don’t use milk but I do love ice cream. I’ve cut out chicken because of the hormones. I tend to eat a little pork, but mostly [I eat] fish. I actually do my own fishing at Oistins and I eat whatever I catch.”
“One thing the doctors told me was that I have to use lemons from now on, because limes are too acidic for the body whereas lemon makes your body alkaline. My whole diet has changed.”
One change she doesn’t mind is her hair or sporting a bald head.
“For years I’ve had my hair really low and the hair was white. But the white is gone, but I guess it will come back,” she says. “You know all my fingers turned dark – everything turned dark, including my tongue.”
Though it means the end for chemotherapy, it doesn’t mean the end of the process. There are radiation treatments to follow.
“I’m not sure when we’re going to do the radiation, but I’m waiting on the doctors,” she said. “They are going to give me a drug, Herceptin, that they said costs $10 000 a month, and then I have to take tamoxifen for five years. I don’t know how I’m going to manage, but I’m not worried because I know God will provide.”