In November 2012, Godfrey Mwiti was all set to start his industrial attachment in catering at the Sentrim Lodge, Maasai Mara.
A few weeks before he began his attachment, Godfrey began experiencing some mild headaches and nausea. His condition worsened as soon as he arrived at the lodge. Alarmed, he decided to seek medication at a nearby clinic.
“I sought medication at Sekenani Market, which was a walking distance from the lodge. After several tests, I received treatment for typhoid and malaria. I took the medication as prescribed but there was no improvement. I missed the training sessions because I was too weak to leave my room.”
As his health deteriorated, Godfrey summoned the little strength he had remaining and decided to seek a second opinion from healthcare centres in the area. He hoped to get a diagnosis of what was ailing him but his efforts proved futile. It was at this point that he decided to go back home to his family in Meru.
“In February 2013, my elder brother accompanied me to a private hospital where I was informed that there was a possibility that I had a brain tumour. I was then referred to Kenyatta National Hospital where I underwent an MRI scan. The results revealed that I had three malignant (cancerous) tumours in my brain. I was diagnosed with desmoplastic medulloblastoma. It was all so surreal, thankfully my brother was there to give me emotional support.”
Godfrey began his treatment immediately after the diagnosis. He went into theatre for surgery to have the tumours removed. The operation was successful and he was discharged from the hospital in April 2013. However, the surgery had some side effects that affected his vision and motor skills causing him to stagger when walking. His hearing and taste buds also became distorted. But Godfrey was determined to get better and in November 2013, he began the long and painful journey of radiotherapy treatment.
“Initially, I was to have 28 sessions but my doctors increased them to 44 after just 15 sessions. These sessions left me so weak. Nausea and sporadic vomiting was the order of the day. I lost a lot of weight and became bald. It was a terrible experience. All in all, I completed the sessions in January 2014. I went back to college and picked up from where I had left. However, I had to go for regular check-ups.
“A routine MRI scan in April showed severed parts in my brain. I was terrified that the cancer had recurred. My doctor reassured me that it was just an effect of the radiotherapy and that the cancer was gone. I was greatly relieved.
“Although I was in complete remission, my body was not strong enough for the strenuous work that comes with a career in catering. In January 2017, I went back to school to train as a technical teacher. I fit in perfectly.”
Today, Godfrey teaches at the National Youth Service School of Catering in Gilgil’s paramilitary training college. In addition, he has written a book based on his cancer journey, titled: It Is Well: My Struggle with Cancerous Brain Tumours and a Glorious Healing Process. He hopes to publish it soon.
“The fear of the cancer recurring is definitely there, but my faith is stronger than that. Cancer taught me to be positive over the years. The stagger is almost gone and my vision has greatly improved over the years.
“Cancer is not a death sentence. It is curable. Early diagnosis, as well as being positive and being surrounded by the right people, helps a great deal. My advice to other cancer patients would be to never give up on themselves. Prayer and trust in God makes everything simpler. It is also important to eat well, exercise regularly and always go for check-ups.”