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Cancer patient Krissa Bissoon and her five-year-old daughter Zayaliah.

sharlene.rampersad

@guardian.co.tt

Almost a month after the country learnt that 34-year-old Krissa Bissoon was stuck in the Bahamas battling cervical cancer, alone and afraid, the mother-of-one is reunited with her family.

Bissoon, from Arima, was released from her 14-day quarantine at the Cascadia Hotel yesterday morning.

She was stuck in the Bahamas when this country’s borders closed on March 30 after having gone to the Bahamas in February to work as a quantity surveyor with a construction firm in Nassau. While there, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. When the Bahamas shut down its non-essential services, Bissoon lost her job and was left taking expensive treatments to battle her cancer, alone. At the end of April, she wrote to National Security Minister Stuart Young, pleading for an exemption to come home. That exemption was eventually granted and two weeks ago, Bissoon was brought into the country on a flight chartered by businessman Derek Chin, who agreed to transport her in exchange for his own entry exemption.

In an interview with Guardian Media yesterday, Bissoon said her main focus was getting home and holding her five-year-old daughter for the first time in months.

“Even though I’m in pain, I can put my pain aside and say, I’m going home, I’m meeting my family that is to the back of my mind, I can endure my pain once I am with my family and friends. I just want to hold my daughter in my arms that is my main focus, to just spend time with her, Mummy has not been around for the last couple of months,” Bissoon said.

Recounting her ordeal when stuck in the Bahamas, Bissoon said she often battled suicidal thoughts when her pain overtook her.

“My body was shutting down. There were times I was walking around the pool where my apartment was and I was thinking, “Hey jump in it,” my body was in total pain, I couldn’t do anything, I was walking with a limp, one side of my body couldn’t move, so certain thoughts would go through my mind, ‘Would it be easier to die than to have to go through this, being away from my family, in a strange land, being with total strangers?’ The pain was so much, I couldn’t handle it,” she said.

She compared her pain to knives ‘running’ through her body continuously. She said while most of the world battled the COVID-19 virus, she was faced with a double whammy: COVID and cancer.

“Many times I was in tears, I would scream, I would popping pills every three, four hours, sometimes the painkillers wouldn’t work and I would changing every few hours to see what would work, sometimes I couldn’t sit, the pain was on my back, coming straight down to my legs.”

But she said she has learnt to turn to God for comfort and despite her trials, she was full of praise yesterday for Young, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, the doctors and nurses who have monitored her since her arrival back in T&T and the staff of Cascadia Hotel.

A team of doctors have been assigned to treat her cancer and Bissoon said she will undergo a CT scan tomorrow to determine if her cancer has advanced from Stage 2.

The entire ordeal has not only brought her closer to God and shown her the importance of familial support but has helped her become a better person, Bissoon said.

“Now, I am a lot more compassionate, I can sit for hours and listen to someone’s ordeal and understand – they might not be going something physical but I can understand. Before I would have just said brush yourself off and remember you are alive, now I would stop whatever I am doing, even if I am in pain and pray with them.”