Breast cancer has been causing lots of physical and emotional damage to both sufferers of the disease and their loved ones. It becomes more difficult when there are children, especially toddlers, involved like the case of Mrs Ellen AlloteyAsomani, who was a midwife by profession.
Her husband, Mr Albert Asomani giving details about how the disease, caught at stage three affected the quality of his late wife’s life and traumatised him and their three children in an interview with the Ghanaian Times yesterday stated that it only took the grace of God for him to survive a year after the demise of his wife.
He said his wife noticed some abnormalities in her left breast while pregnant in 2019 and reported to the hospital for investigations which later revealed she had stage three breast cancer.
Hearing this information, he said was one of the most devastating moments of his life “But I encouraged my wife and assured her that we were going to fight the cancer and emerge victorious.”
“However luck eluded us when she lost the battle to the disease after fighting it for two years. She gave up the ghost last year on October 22,” he said.
He mentioned that during the beginning of Ellen’s treatment at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), which started two weeks after she delivered their last baby, she was booked for eight cycles of chemotherapy which she did but when doctors suspected she was not responding to the chemotherapy she was asked to do a bone scan and that was when it was discovered that the cancer had spread beyond the breast to her bones.
Mr Asomani explained that his wife was placed on chemotherapy again and the surgery she was supposed to have after the first eight cycles of chemotherapy, suspended.
“The doctors told us that since the cancer had spread beyond the breast, surgery to remove the affected breast would make no significant changes so we should just hold on and continue with the chemotherapy and radiotherapy which we agreed to,” he added.
Mr Asomani described his wife as an affable and kind woman who sometimes prioritised the needs of vulnerable people above hers.
“Ellen was my best friend. She gave me three beautiful children and seeing her go through so much pain broke me terribly, especially when our last born was just a baby and the other two were still very young with the eldest being just about five years old at the time the breast cancer journey begun. My experience is a horrible one I do not wish any one would go through.”
“We had so many plans but as fate will have it, she is gone and left me with three children to raise alone,” the widower lamented.
According to Mr Asomani, telling his little children and toddler that their mum was in heaven anytime they requested to see her was very heartrending but he always mustered the courage to tell them that the angels came for their mother and she is in a better place. This he said made the children very happy.
When asked why he chose to continue to keep the children with him in their home despite their maternal grandmother’s availability to care for them, he stated that he could not let them go because they were the only ones that consoled him and made him feel the presence of his late wife all the time.
Mr Asomani revealed that he lost all his investments due to the expensive nature of breast cancer treatment.
The money spent on Ellen’s treatment, he said, was meant to be used for the purchasing of a house for the familybut because they did not want to lose the battle to cancer, he used all the money and more, in attempts to save his wife but to no avail.
He mentioned that at some point during his wife’s treatment, he used to pay more than GHC7, 000.00 every three weeks for a breast cancer drug called Herceptin.
This amount, he said excluded monies paid for laboratory tests, pain killers and Echocardiogram, an ultrasound of the heart to check the condition of the heart before administering certain breast cancer drugs, among others.
“I tried my best to ensure money would not be a reason why Ellen would not survive this disease but her death taught me that it takes just the grace of God to survive cancer. We were even planning to take her to India for continuation of treatment with more advanced medical equipment but the airline did not allow us because at that moment my wife was on oxygen 24 hours a day and they wanted her condition to be a bit stabilised before putting her on the plane. It was during the time of waiting for that slight improvement that my Ellen died. She was only 36 years old,” he lamented.
Mr Asomani indicated that his children were his main source of inspiration and strength because every day, they remindedhim of their mother.
He stated that his late wife was a woman he so much wished to spend the rest of his life with.
“I know they say time heals wounds but this wound of mine caused by the death of my wife, best friend and mother of my children, I doubt would ever heal. Breast cancer is deadly!.
“I really miss the company and support my wife gave me and our kids. Our first born, BarimaOseiBonsuAsomani, six years old, our second child is ObaapaKwakyewaaAsomaniwaaAsomaniwho is four years old and the last born is OhemaaSerwaaAsomaniwaaAsomani, two years old,” MrAsomani added.
Despite countless cycles of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, painkiller medications, daily cries to God to save Ellen’s life and the innocence of her very young children, breast cancer still took this vibrant midwife away at just 36 years old.
The Ellen Allotey Memorial Breast Care Foundation
In honour of his wife, the widower revealed that he had set up the Ellen Allotey Memorial Breast Care Foundation to create awareness about the disease and also render financial support to sufferers of breast cancer who could not afford treatment.
ADVISE TO HUSBANDS
He advised all men to join the fight against breast cancer “because whatever affects your wives affects the children and the whole family at large.”
BY RAISSA SAMBOU