Former NTV presenter Janet Kanini Ikua dies
Former NTV presenter Janet Kanini Ikua has died aged 38, her family said.
Janet Kanini Ikua succumbed to lung cancer Saturday morning, according to family. The former N-Soko host had been battling lung cancer for the past two years. She is survived by a husband, George Ikua and two children – a six-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter
She was diagnosed with lung cancer stage four in 2015.
In February 2016, Mrs Ikua announced she was cancer free.
In a Facebook, she said an MRI scan conducted on her showed no signs of lesions in her liver, abdomen, bones, lymph nodes and lungs.
“My dear friends, relatives, colleagues, supporters, prayer warriors. I have wonderful news! Our prayers have been answered! I am redeemed from the affliction of cancer!” she posted.
Janet Kanini Ikua Death – Tribute
Janet Kanini Ikua Biography
Janet Kanini Ikua has been hosting NTV’s N-Soko Property Show and she is a former NTV News Anchor while dabbling as the Pampers brand ambassador. But she is currently in transition. She feels she has a responsibility to give back to Kenyans for standing up with her. Her focus is now on healthcare and apart from creating awareness about lung cancer and cancer in general, she is also helping Kenyans who want to travel abroad for treatment to have a pleasant experience, their sickness notwithstanding.
“I work with an agency – Doctors Beyond Borders. The agency links international patients with doctors, hospitals, hotels and even transport. They are not limited to India alone; wherever you want to go for treatment, they are there to help you. You can reach them on [email protected] co.ke and telephone number is 0717871827/ 0734950351. The reason we are helping people this way is because many people have approached us asking how we went to India and the experience. We had a good experience with Doctors Beyond Borders and we would be glad to be of help,” she explains.
Janet Kanini Ikua also hopes that she will be instrumental in ensuring Kenya gets a PET scan machine and Kenyans get access to affordable and decentralised healthcare.
Janet Kanini-Ikua’s only interview with her husband on cancer battle
Janet Kanini Ikua Health
Janet Kanini Ikua challenging health journey began in April 2015 when she was diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) that had resulted in blood clots in her legs. For two months she received what at the time appeared to be successful treatment in Nairobi. But a racing heart and breathlessness after minimal physical effort remained a concern to the doctor. In mid-June, Janet Kanini Ikua would learn from a cardiologist, Dr. Muriithi Nyamu, that there was a blood clot in her heart and in the pulmonary artery leading to her lungs. She was immediately admitted to the hospital’s Intensive Care/High Dependency Unit. During this hospital stay, she underwent a minimally invasive but critical, very high risk procedure to remove the clot in her heart. Ten days later, Kanini walked out of the hospital.
Two weeks later during a routine check-up the doctors confirmed a clot had recurred in her right leg. Fortunately, Dr. Nyamu had inserted a blood filter that stopped the clot from making its way to vital organs. Over the next few weeks in July and August, Janet Kanini Ikua went through more checks, including a bronchoscopy, colonoscopy, gastroscopy so that the doctors could figure out what was the source of the frequent clotting despite getting blood thinners and wearing compression stockings. The bronchoscopy revealed an “unidentified” mass in her lungs.
In August, she managed to sneak back to work and host a couple of shows to create DVT awareness and also joined her Precious Blood (Nairobi) High school classmates for their 20th year reunion.
Anyhow, there is only so much prodding and poking that one can take especially when plausible answers and diagnoses are evasive. What Janet needed was a PET scan. The CT and MRI scans were not, in her case, adequate to give the docs that medical “aha” moment. There isn’t a PET scanner in Kenya – probably because PET is nuclear medicine that uses a radioactive substance and requires highly-specialized facilities and expertise. The operating costs also are prohibitively high.
In September, Janet Kanini Ikua (with hubby) decided to go to New Delhi, India where she could receive medical answers and proper, thorough diagnoses.
On September 13, Janet Kanini Ikua received another diagnosis – the PET scan (and additional tests) revealed metastatic adenocarcinoma of the lung that has spread to the abdomen and lymph nodes in the neck area. Sadly and simply put, that unidentified mass in her lungs turned out to be stage 4-lung cancer that has spread from the primary site to other areas. This was not the medical answer that Janet Kanini Ikua was expecting.
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The silver lining is that her medical team has come up with a comprehensive treatment plan that includes scheduled cycles of chemotherapy and Janet Kanini Ikua remains her usual upbeat and positive self.
Janet Kanini Ikua Healed of lung cancer
On 14th February 2016 Janet Kanini Ikua went to have facebook page to post that she was healed of the lung cancer.
“My dear friends, relatives, colleagues, supporters, prayer warriors. I have wonderful news! Our prayers have been answered! I am redeemed from the affliction of cancer!” said Janet in a long pots on her Facebook page.
“God has remained true to His word and healed me from Cancer and I give Him all Glory and Honour and Praise for this far that He has brought me!” an elated Janet added.
Janet Kanini Ikua revealed that her doctors in India, where she had been receiving treatment were amazed by the results of the PET MRI scan, which showed that the cancer lesions that had been in her liver, bones, abdomen, lymph nodes and lungs were no more.
“They said that many people must have been praying for me because these results are rare in a stage 4 diagnosis, and I told them “Yes. I have a prayer army. Prayer warriors who held me up when I was too weak to pray and believe,” she added.
While thanking well-wishers who had offer both prayers and financial support, Janet revealed how she had become “so emotional” as she battled the ravaging disease.
“You guys – may God meet you all at your points of need. May He open His floodgates of blessings to you and yours!” said Janet.
But she also has to deal with a blood clot in her heart which she thankfully said had reduced in size from being 1.5cm by 1.4cm to 8mm by 7 mm across.
“Oral blood thinner pills refused to work on me last year June, so I am still on twice daily injections, now for seven months, yet they ideally shouldn’t be used for more than two weeks. But this too shall pass,” said the NTV’S N-soko show host.
Janet Kanini Ikua still has another four cycles of chemotherapy with milder drugs to sustain the progress made, before another review to also check the blood clotting.
Janet Kanini Ikua was full of praise to her husband whom she said had stood by her all the way and was her beacon of hope.
Her husband, she said, also keep it a secret reports from doctors which indicated that Janet had between six months and a year to live.
“Hubby refused to tell me because he knew it would stress me more. And I’m glad he didn’t tell me, because I would probably have been sadder and frustrated, looking at my two babies, wondering whether I was feeling more sick today because I’m dying, whether I’d be there for them at their next birthdays,” said Janet who credited God for her miraculous healing.
“Hubby carried this burden alone, and for that I will forever be grateful to God for giving him the strength and courage to do so as he watched me go through chemotherapy,” she added.
Her doctors too, Janet said, played a great role in diagnosing her problem and seeing to it that she had beaten cancer.
Janet Kanini Ikua also revealed her fears of dying from the disease adding, “As depressing as these thoughts were, they brought about something that I’m happy to admit – they made me realize that, because life is unpredictable and I could die at any moment, from anything, I must live in a manner that is worthy of me going to heaven the second I stop breathing. Always be ready.”
10 Things To Know About Janet Kanini Ikua
- Janet Kanini Ikua died aged 38 years. Sshe was the host of N-Soko Property Show before resigning to focus on her battle aganst cancer.
- She attended Precious Blood Riruta and later Kenyatta University in Naitobi, where she was a member of the travelling theatre group. The group included members of the Redykyulass! comedy trio of Walter Mong’are (now a communications officer at the Nairobi County government), Tony Njuguna (a public relations practioner) and Charles Kiarie who has since joined politics.
- She was married to Tony Ikua. The two met during their acting days at the theatre. Their first ever conversation was when Tony met Janet on backstage and asked her for directions to the toilet. The couple was blessed with two kids, a boy and girl.
- Janet’s first attempt on joining journalism “failed miserably” in her own words. She went for a screen test at NTV and KTN and on both occasions was told she was not good enough. “One of the stations mentioned that my face was too young for news,” she said in an interview with the Daily Nation in 2008.
- Undeterred in her desire to break into TV, she started doing voice overs in advertisements and attached to the Phoenix theatre group for two year that helped her horn her acting skills as well as learn the technical aspects of play direction.
- In 2015, Janet was diagonised with Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) that had resulted in blood clots in her legs. She underwent check ups and treatment at various Nairobi hospitals where she was eventually diagnosed to have lung cancer. The news was a shock to many Kenyans.
- Coincidentally, Janet’s dad Peter Muiva also had cancer.
- Kenyans from all walks of life participated in the campaign dubbed One Nation for Janet to fundraise for her treatement in India.
- She was declared healed of lung cancer.
- She dedicated her last days sensitizing the public on cancer awareness through her social media platforms.
The Heroic Story of Janet Kanini Ikua
The story of Janet Kanini Ikua is one that you deserve to read and share… In her own words…
Updated: October 2015
“4 weeks ago I came to India seeking a medical answer – well I found it, and it was not what I expected. At all.
Before I write more, let me explain that my case of Deep Vein Thrombosis is not the typical case.
It has gone on for a while so I don’t want anyone who gets it to be anxious that their journey will be the same as mine.
Usually, anyone with DVT will go through the initial stages same as mine – a swollen leg, painful foot that makes it difficult to walk, hospitalization to stop the clot growing and return normal blood flow through the leg, plus anti-thrombotic stockings and blood thinner pills for a few months to dissolve the clot and ensure that it doesn’t travel to the danger zone – heart and lungs.
Usually within 6 to 12 months DVT disappears though it can recur later, otherwise you can get back to work and life as usual even during treatment.
My case of DVT has turned out to be a symptom of something else, something more. Hence its stubborn refusal to respond to blood thinner pills and my reliance on Clexane injections that should ideally be used for 10 days – instead I have used them for more than 3 months.
So here’s what the latest medical reports say.
Lung cancer. Stage 4, meaning it has spread from the primary lung site into lymph nodes.
Clearly my body is staying true to my love for drama and theatrics because a blood clot has also decided to hang out in the heart muscle. Doctors have called it ‘organized’ – yaani it’s fixed in the muscle with little chance of moving so I’m safe from that. We can focus on treating the cancer.
It has taken me weeks to decide to publicly admit that this is the diagnosis.
One reason is that it is not advised to give voice to sickness.
What you declare is what is.
However I realize that discussing this condition over the past 3 and half months has helped people – those with similar symptoms, those with other ailments and those who are affected by caring for the sick.
I know that sickness is not my portion, and if by sharing my experience I can help to educate and comfort others, then so be it.
Let me start from my arrival on Thursday 10th September. Coming to an Indian hospital was an excellent decision.
These guys do so much medical tourism that they’ve turned it into a well-oiled machine.
My husband brought me, and as soon as we walked out of the plane someone received us, helped us through immigration, negotiated the best foreign exchange rate and put us in a taxi straight to hospital.
At the hospital door someone else who speaks English picked us, carried our bags and led us to the International Patient lounge where we were quickly registered and hotel confirmed before going to the doctor’s office for our first appointment.
And this was another major surprise for us – our doctor is a top Surgical Oncologist, world-reknown, he even invented a surgical procedure that is named after him. And yet he is the most humble man, soft spoken, ready to listen to all concerns and questions; and his consultation fee is 1,000 rupees (kindu 1,600 bob) – far less than the amounts you find in Nairobi.
After meeting him we were transported for free to the hotel – patients are entitled to one free pick and drop per day.
Next morning I was promptly admitted and prepared for this machine that brings many Kenyans to India – the PET MRI scanner.
It uses radiation to get an amazingly accurate picture of the internal workings of the body, so that you scan the entire body at a go.
If I had stayed in Nairobi I was going to go in and out of CT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds around my body to discover what’s up, which would have meant a lot of money, time and uncertainty.
So on Friday 11th September I was injected with a substance that made me radioactive. I was hot! LOL!
Even hubby had to wait an hour before I was safe enough to be around him, and for the next 10 hours I drank loads of water to wash out the radiation.
Apparently we don’t have this technology in Kenya because we don’t have nuclear laws that would enable safe handling of the radioactive isotopes. It is amazingly effective so I look forward to the day it comes.
Most Indian hospitals have the PET CT scan and the multitudes of patients from across Africa and Europe are testament to their affordable effectiveness.
Add to this the nursing care. Despite the language barrier the nurses and medical attendants are able to make patients comfortable and their expertise is unquestionable, because across the globe medical language, drug names and procedures are standard.
Service with a smile is what you get here.
This hospital is huge so patients are pushed around in wheelchairs and the attendants make sure that your seat belt is strapped properly first. Though I think one of the attendants secretly wants to be safari rally driver because he sukumad that wheelchair fast…which honestly I enjoyed (I hope this doesn’t reflect on my driving!)
On Saturday the PET MRI scans were back so Doc sent me for an FNAC (Fine Needle something something..) where a very long needle was inserted to the lymph node at the base of my neck just above the shoulder blade.
This is the test whose results led me to remember Sunday September 13th as a significant day in my life – the day I was told there is cancer in my body. I won’t bore you with my emotional reaction.
At least hubby was by my side and the nurses turned out to be very supportive. Before I left Kenya my friends prayed that I get a medical team who respect and value my Christianity. Prayers were answered because I have been told of God’s compassion and healing by many Indians, which is great comfort.
The next day I was given a local anaesthetic and the lymph nodes on the left side of my neck-shoulder blade were cut into – a lymphatic incision – so as to get a tissue sample.
The weird thing is that I was awake throughout the procedure, and they wanted this so that I indicate whether I feel any pain. The local anaesthetic makes it relatively painless, but I could feel the pressure as they tagged at the nodules that were like little balls….straaaanngee feeling.
At one point my body was tilted so my head was lower than my entire body….really straaaannnggee feeling. But their operating theatres are well equipped and the personnel know their work.
The tissue sample was then sent to the lab for a biopsy to determine whether I have the specific gene that will allow me to be treated with tablets only instead of chemotherapy.
Shock on me when the relatively painless procedure was over and the local anaesthetic started wearing off. OUCH!!!
Suffice it to say hubby had to feed me like a baby for a full day coz moving my neck and head hurt. I was discharged to rest in the hotel as we awaited the biopsy results that would determine the way forward with treatment.
Now, if you’re planning to travel here don’t stress about accommodation. Hospitals negotiate special rates with hotels.
In a 5 star hotel on bed and a huge breakfast with free WiFi you can pay kshs.4,000 per person per night including taxes.Yes. In a 5 star.
Special rates are also negotiated for 1 to 4 star hotels and self catering guesthouses, especially if you’re here for long.
In the hotel meals are also discounted for patients, and unless you’re going shopping or sightseeing your transport to and from the hospital is sorted.
You just need to be careful about prices because most goods and services are quoted excluding taxes.
And find out cab rates before you take the ride because some cabbies think of us as rich tourists. I’ll tell you more #TalesFromIndia in the coming days.
Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and wonder how scans can show that I am sick inside, because on the outside I look okay and, other than getting tired occasionally, I feel fine.
People I meet say I look and sound fine. To deal with the situation I marvel at the way people react when I finally admit that I’m here for treatment of the C word.
Suddenly expressions change and I am offered anything I want…..hmmm I wonder if I should take advantage of that?…. Perhaps ask to stay in the presidential suite… or ask them to buy me silk saris in all my favourite Kamba colours…..?
Chemotherapy begun last week with 22 hours continuous of pre-med drip to control side effects, then the chemo drug, a saline solution, more chemo drug, post-med drip, a one week break with a cocktail of pills and injections, then cycle one ended yesterday.
I’m supposed to remain in New Delhi for sometime till the doctors confirm the best drugs that I can come home with to continue chemo.
Fortunately hubby returned home two weeks ago to be with our babies because it was hard leaving them without us for so long, and it was heartbreaking watching them say “Come here” whenever we Skyped.
My Mum came to replace him and to fuss over me smile emoticon “Kanini drink more water…make sure you eat…are you warm enough..” Hehe it’s interesting to be the baby again.
Has this time in India been easy? Not always.
The other day a family with a daughter who’s my daughter’s age sat in front of me and I started crying as I showed the mother my kid’s photos.
I do not claim to be the strongest spiritual person however I have learnt, and I’m still learning, to Be Still And Know That He Is God.
He is the Lord that healeth me. He is not done with me yet. I remember the blind man in the Bible who Jesus said was not cursed but was born blind so that God’s glory could be seen at work in him, just as it will be seen in me through my testimony. John 9:3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
I remember the woman who touched Jesus cloak after years of bleeding and this faith healed her.
I remember Job who was afflicted continuously, just when he thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did. But he held onto his faith and beat the devil’s plans. And so I will stand firm.
There is too much evidence of miracles that have happened. God has already shown us favour in ways that might be considered small by some, but which make a big difference when you’re a patient in a foreign land.
Medics who respect God and their calling to heal the sick no matter where these sick come from.
Housekeepers who give extra water bottles because they know I need excess water to handle the chemo drugs.
Restaurant staff who mill around me when I feel faint in the restaurant, to check if I’m okay and get my food sent to my room till I’m strong enough to come down.
Taxi drivers who check on me because they became good friends with my hubby who’s a very social and happy guy, and who now treat my Mum very respectfully courtesy of that.
This morning we met a South African who’s here for a conference to discuss improving accessibility of healthcare to the mass African population, not just the rich.
And after I told him the reason I’m undergoing treatment, he came to our table and for about an hour he ministered to Mum and I, despite his colleagues calling from the conference.
And what he said made so much sense – about how sometimes God allows attacks such as sickness to make a person stop the life they’re living because it is not sustainable, not for their best; this downtime forces them to take time to recharge and re-think their goals and values, reconnect with God for that perfect relationship where we learn to give God genuine time because now we realize that He truly is the one in control.
He is the Alpha and Omega. And as we successfully go through this season we begin to live at a higher level of wisdom and righteousness, with the Holy Spirit leading us all the way, all the time.
Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Let me leave you with that and go drink more water before Mum says I’ve forgotten to do so..
Janet Kanini Ikua Family
Janet Kanini Ikua is married to George Ikua and they are blessed with two children.
Janet Kanini Ikua Photo