As many will know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I have decided to dedicate the whole month to share a close friend’s journey with the disease. She was only 26 when she was first diagnosed and this is her story…
Later that day…
As I walk out of the building, the receptionists say ‘Good Luck Ms. Mpumlwana, may God be with you.’ I know they mean well but their words involuntarily bring me to my breaking point.
And surely enough by the time I reach the parking lot, I am a total mess. Tears are tumbling off my face like they are competing for a prize and I’m unable to control how incredibly hopeless I feel in that moment. For what felt like the longest while I actually couldn’t even find my car outside, I kept going in circles.
Finally I spot it and I realize I’ve gone passed it twice already. I get in and I instantly allow myself to drown in my own worry. That afternoon I remember feeling the full weight of the journey I was about to embark with this to be confirmed breast cancer, maybe my soul was introducing me to the brokenness that my physical sickness was about to take me on.
I was upset and panicked, I knew I needed to talk to my mother. I tried to calm down to not scare her over the phone but she wasn’t picking up, my sister and two brothers too. I even tried my dad but still none of them could be reached. I dialed my friend’s number, Sharon was also not available!!! I really needed just about anyone to talk to at this point, someone to reach into my hopelessness and speak some courage and strength into me.
Finally it was my manager Mr. Mahlangu who picked up my call, I cried just from hearing his voice on the other side, unable to utter even a word. He was distraught, not really sure what was happening to me. Realizing how frightened he was getting at not knowing what was wrong, I managed in between my loud sobbing to tell him, it still took a while for him to understand. He offered to come pick me up, I refused his gentle offer and promised to let him know when I got to my place. After we were done talking, my phone was ringing nonstop because of all the missed calls my loved ones were seeing on their phones.
The last call I receive is from Sharon, she sadly informs me her dad passed on. Amidst my own somber day, I still empathize with her loss. She rushes over to the hospital and I watch her in the rear view mirror as she parks behind me. We both get out of our vehicles, seeing each other’s pain so etched deep in our sad eyes, we hug tightly, we reassure each other ‘kuzolunga’
Suddenly I am yearning to hold my son and to be held by his father. I do not want to die young but I can’t entertain thoughts of my fears right now, I have to drive to my place…
Photo by: Olebogeng Masiane