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…
I am in Dr JK’s office, and this time I am all by myself. I feel detached from everything. Well I guess, spending most of my time going through innumerable tests can do that, automatically switching off all my emotions to help me cope.
I can’t even keep up with the names of the tests anymore but they almost always involve me wearing one of those hospital gowns, where my huge ass is literally greeting everyone. And then I usually have to go into this room with a sun bathing resembling machine in the centre of the room.
I have to lay on it as it examines me. I get dressed and wait to be sent to another room, where I get a scan of my tummy and surrounding areas. The nurses never share the results with me, only the doctor can tell me what has been uncovered.
After spending several days wondering if it has spread or not, I’m here, finally about to know.
I walk into the usual consultation room and look up to see DR JK. His smile always has a way of filling my heart with new hope. His hugs are just as effective. He looks at me and enquires on how I’ve been? Do I have any questions?
I had a few but I opted start with my results. I needed to know!
He shares the good news first, the cancer has not spread. The last bit of news he insists isn’t bad but might actually seem that way for me. We go into his exam room. He puts the mammogram result on his light board. Then he says, ‘In order to cure the cancerous part, we need to remove it. It’s such a big chunk that when we do that, it will only leave one quarter of your breast intact. So in my opinion, we have to do a mastectomy, which is the process of removing the whole breast.”
When we are back at his table, he adds ‘To be frank with you, 99% of partners leave when it gets to this point. But of course, there is always that 1% chance you’ll get through this. This surgery has to be done to save your life and to ensure a longer life span. Depending on the cells pulled out, we can fully determine whether your next treatment will be chemotherapy or radiotherapy. But that will be for the oncologist to decide.’
Photo By: Olebogeng Masiane