North West & Gauteng

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    My life with cancer
    15 July 2016



    Perhaps one should rather say: How cancer changed my life …

    To me, it feels as if 2016 started at an awfully fast speed.

    I felt the lump in my breast while I was still with my children in New Zeeland – told them nothing about it.

    Immediately after having reached RSA, I arranged for a Mammogram. It was for the Friday – I knew something was wrong.

    Next, the radiographer simply told me to urgently call my doctor because he needed to arrange an appointment for me with a surgeon. I did so, and my doctor’s body language confirmed my assumption. He also told me not to try to bear this burden alone; I have to ask my friends to support me. Naturally I read the report when I got home and naturally it confirmed my “assumption”.

    That weekend I phoned my family (children excluded) and friends and asked them to pray for me.

    Enough of this.

    I thus knew I had cancer but when the oncologist told me I had third degree cancer it came to me as a terrible shock – this was after the mastectomy – and that some of the glands had also tested positive.

    What I found difficult was that I had become dependent on others. I had to ask for help and we, the social workers, are used to organise and do things and help others, but chip, chop, here I found myself to be on the receiving end!

    Friends, to me the loss of independence was TRAUMATIC and many tears were shed – a friend even told me to start enjoying it!

    I experienced the multitude of prayers to be a wall around me. Naturally Satan also attacks one. He said to me: “You think they pray, but no, they do not.” But just that same day I received calls and “WhatsApps” from people who had heard via family, ex-colleagues and friends and made contact.

    In the chemo room one meets people. Here one lady told me she had never before cried – one sitting right next to me asked quietly: ’Aunty, did you cry?’ ‘Oh yes, often, and I will also still be crying a lot.’ ‘Aunty, I will also,’ and now we contact each other by means of WhatsApp.

    Some people have the idea they ought to also only send Christian messages, and yet, humour still is hilariously funny. I don’t mind saying to the chemo sister: “When I sleep you must not wake me by singing “Bobbejaan klim die berg”’ – I want other songs!”

    One remains true to whom you are, and it feels to me that I have grown old – am actually old!

    – Evie de Vos: Social Worker, Verwes Social Services Wolmaransstad

    My relationships have changed. People who were a bit ‘far’ from me have now come closer– quite skin-close.

    Some people do not know how to deal with it. I deal with it frankly by talking about it and imparting information (only correct information). Every person is his or her own self with own feelings and emotions.

    One evening I grievously called to the Lord. He holds me (all His children) tightly.

    One can only be oneself. And ladies, have that Mammogram done very regularly.

    This year I am building beautiful memories – memories of Rudolph (my child) who is visiting and at 5:00 in the morning, when we both are awake, brings his blanket and we talk – our memories, our planning for the future and so on et cetera

    I believe I will heal completely. It is no easy road to follow and the chemo side-effects strike one hard. I am bald headed now and have a wig and lovely scarves and head pieces. I kind of like the head pieces. They are nice and warm and I sleep with one on at night – nice and warm over the ears!

    I have to receive 8 chemo treatments – 5 have been done. It takes place every 3 weeks; blood is drawn beforehand, and if the scores are correct, one may receive chemo therapy. Thereafter one receives a month’s radiotherapy – weekends excluded. I do not know whether it is 30 sessions. I take everything step by step - 2016 will therefore pass by with these treatments. It is the doctors who say what needs to be done next.

    So our time passes on…

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