Perhaps one should rather say: How cancer changed my life â€¦
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 â€“ told them nothing about it.
Immediately after having reached RSA, I arranged for a Mammogram. It was for the Friday â€“ 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 doctorâ€™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 â€œassumptionâ€.
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 â€“ this was after the mastectomy â€“ 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 â€“ 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: â€œYou think they pray, but no, they do not.â€ But just that same day I received calls and â€œWhatsAppsâ€ 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 â€“ one sitting right next to me asked quietly: â€™Aunty, did you cry?â€™ â€˜Oh yes, often, and I will also still be crying a lot.â€™ â€˜Aunty, I will also,â€™ 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 donâ€™t mind saying to the chemo sister: â€œWhen I sleep you must not wake me by singing â€œBobbejaan klim die bergâ€â€™ â€“ I want other songs!â€
- One remains true to whom you are, and it feels to me that I have grown old â€“ am actually old!
â€“ Evie de Vos: Social Worker, Verwes Social Services Wolmaransstad
My relationships have changed. People who were a bit â€˜farâ€™ from me have now come closerâ€“ 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 â€“ 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 â€“ 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 â€“ nice and warm over the ears!
I have to receive 8 chemo treatments â€“ 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 monthâ€™s radiotherapy â€“ 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 onâ€¦