Life begins at 40! I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1998. Working as a banker at that stage, I knew nothing about cancer, except that it was a killer. I suffered from womb complications since the age of 15. When I turned 40 I decided to get a second opinion and a general check...
I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1998. Working as a banker at that stage, I knew nothing about cancer, except that it was a killer.
I suffered from womb complications since the age of 15.
When I turned 40 I decided to get a second opinion and a general check up, The doctor suggested a Pap Smear. When the results came I was told I had cancer, but that it can be removed. This came as a shock to me. We had a family doctor who never suggested a Pap Smear. Anger and frustration boiled in me. I had mixed emotions because of lack of knowledge. My husband was unemployed for more than 4yrs already and I had 2 teenagers – one in college and the youngest was still in High School. My whole life was now turned around.
I had my operation shortly after that and 3 months later when I went for a checkup the tests confirmed tumors on both ovaries. The Oncologist suggested a hysterectomy. In our culture, when you loose a womb, you are stigmatized that you are not a complete woman. I needed strong faith to overcome this trauma. My in-laws negatively influenced my husband, who began to physically abuse me.
After the surgery, I also had to deal with post menopausal symptoms I knew nothing about. My medical bills were piling up. I had a financial strain, because my medical aid became exhausted, but I had to be strong for my kids’ sake.
Twenty months after my surgery, my husband died of a heart attack. I struggled with depression which led to a minor stroke.
Five years after my surgery, my mom at 74 was diagnosed with a rare cancer. She had no medical aid. My family had to face another trying time. My survival convinced everyone that my mom would survive too. She survived for 5 years but on the 8th of July 2009 we lost her to a stroke.
I am 52 years old now and living my life to the fullest. “Life is a jigsaw puzzle” (full of challenges) but we can overcome everything by the grace of the Lord. It is a privilege to understand that everything happens for a reason or purpose. The Lord stood by me and gave me strength.
Today I am grateful to know that “cancer is not a death sentence”. I’m still alive, and blessed with six grandchildren, including a set of twins. I’m hoping to make a difference in people’s lives.
Looking forward to motivate and encourage the disadvantaged and People Living with Cancer in South Africa.