Some days are bright and beautiful, others painful

– cancer patient on herbal medicine

Rodell Hinds

“Well some of my days are beautiful, and bright and energetic. On those days I forget there is still a word name cancer. But on others… the pain is so much. And the thought [that] other persons in similar condition gone, …makes you think that there is no tomorrow for you.”

She spoke those words calmly, but with the pain and fear underlying them. She was not in pain on the day we spoke; the bright and energetic did not come through either and I knew it was one of her down days.

Rodell Hinds is a mother of four who was diagnosed with cervical cancer last year. I interviewed her a few months ago where she revealed that she had opted for herbal medicine and changed her diet to vegan. While she is aware of the warnings by medical practitioners who advocate conventional medicine, Hinds believes it will cause her body more harm than good. (She was told that she is too far gone for radiotherapy to be administered.) 

“I get discouraged very easy now at this point,” she said sadly. A far cry from February when she was in a very upbeat mood.

“At that point if you don’t have the energy to fight for life; you are gone because that is how far it takes you. You feel like taking your life; you feel like just lying down and doing nothing,” she said candidly and emotionlessly.

“Now I am getting severe back pain. It is not like before, the tummy ache is not like before, but the back pain is severe. I am getting headaches now.”

We sat for a while and then I asked her what a normal day entailed.

“A normal day is mostly fatigue. The reason for that is because of the financial problems which forced me to let my children go live with someone else. That in itself is not easy to deal with, you just look at the transitions of life and I try to see whatever little I can do to manage to survive.

“To help me I would sell fruits but at times getting the fruits and making the fruit bowls and selling is difficult, so I do it only when I am able to.

“When I wake up most times after having a one on one with God, I have my bath and then something to eat and have my medications. If there is not a day when I am going and do fruits I most times go back to bed. Mostly those are my days, not much else.”

I asked her why she seemed more depressed than when we spoke earlier; it as if she was imprisoned by her illness.

“Because after the first set of treatment when I went back to do the CT scan, to me I am progressing too slow. And then the cares of life really get to me, there is no job and there is a family to take care of. So when you think of all those things you go into days of depression, days of depression turn you over to pain that is how it all started. Starts with a headache and then the whole general pain again,” she answered.

“I still receive some good news from the CT scan, because it showed that the tumor had shrunk and the cancer is not spreading and that in itself is progress. But it also show that it moved from my tummy into my back and that is why I am getting these back pains.

“This makes me afraid because I was warned if it grows back it can cause partial paralysis and I am afraid of that so I have decided that I will be taking a heat therapy treatment,” she revealed.

“I am going to Barbados next week because I was told that they have a very good heat therapy care. With the arrangement of my family I am offered the opportunity to go for six months so I would be returning to Guyana in six months,” she announced.

“I have mixed emotions about it because I am going in a foreign land to do something that I have never heard of before. And then I don’t want to go and do anything that would jeopardise or complicate the herbal medication that I am using. Then the other half is leaving my kids, it is bad enough that they are not with me now and now I am going so far and leave them, especially the young ones,” she said sadly, showing the first sign of emotion.

“But I will do it because of the fact that I can still use my herbal medicine there was no condition attached to it, as long as I can use my herbal medicine my doctor is okay with that. We are making arrangements for the medication to go up while I am in Barbados,” she said.

“But you know despite of everything of I am optimistic about life because I have a determination that I can beat this. I have a determination that I should beat this, I must beat this by Grace of God,” she said referring to the cancer.

I asked her how she feels about those who may think she has a better option with conventional medicine.

“Everybody is entitled to their opinion and what we believe in heals. It is a mind thing. I believe that herb works and is working for me and others might believe that chemo works and it is working for them,” she answered.

“Right now, I just want to say marvellous thank you to every person who has supported me. They are so many I can’t name them all. The staff of Davis Memorial Hospital they have been so good to me and the two persons, I don’t think they would want their names mentioned, who contacted me after you published the story. I want to say thanks to them for their assistance. I am so grateful.

“And everyone who I did not mention, you are still special to me and I am thankful for whatever they have done for me.”

And she had a word for other persons who may also be suffering from cancer.

“To the patients, have a positive mindset. To the families of those persons, support not financially alone, love, let the patient laugh a lot, take them for walks. Do things for them so that they have a reason that they want to fight this, a reason to live.

“Most times for us as patients when we have to balance our everyday life it is not easy. We are working with an aliment and it is not easy especially if you don’t have the support of love ones. It is critical that love ones recognise that we need them more than ever at this point in our lives.

“But all in all, I am a firm believer in God and at all times He is the major source of my strength,” she said before indicating it was time for her to rest.

She promised on her return to let readers know how the heat therapy went. She hopes her next CT scan will give her better news but for now is trying to keep her mind free and focus on the treatment, as difficult as it is.

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