Posts

Showing posts from May, 2015

Don't wait for funerals to have those reunions for family and friends.

Image
Funerals always become default reunions. Yesterday we had the same experience when we paid our last respects to our dear lifelong friend, Tony Sasman.

After the funeral service, we attended the traditional tea. The atmosphere in the hall was electric. The spirit of camaraderie percolated the entire space. There were conversations in every corner. Family  and friends were hugging and kissing.   Now and then you heard an excited shriek as two friends or relatives saw each other.  Cameras were in overdrive. Everybody was taking pictures of small and large groups.



My ex-colleagues of Grassy Park High School and I were in seventh heaven. I saw Debbie, my friend who made my wedding dress, for the first time after almost twenty years! We reminisced about the days when we taught together at Grassy Park High. We laughed about our  silliness and our own quirky sayings like " Your house, your mouse, your problem." This famous saying was uttered by our rather quiet colleague, Wattie, w…

The best news ever about me and my breast cancer.

Image
The Good news
Yesterday was the day I had an appointment with Doctor Jenny Edge, my surgeon who performed the lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy on me on 18 May.  I was going to have the bandages removed, get the results of the biopsy and hear what my case management for breast cancer will be. 
Walking into Dr Jenny's rooms is like entering a bubble of warmth and love. Gadija and Nadia greeted Basil and me enthusiastically and enquired about my health. I mentioned the sudden throbbing I was experiencing in my breast since the morning.
"Don't worry," the young ladies said. Sr Lieske will sort it all out." 
Sister Lieske arrived and soon, Basil and I were ushered into Dr Jenny Edge's rooms. 
"How're you feeling?" asked Dr Edge, smiling and looking relaxed with her signature green-framed spectacles.
Again, I shared my story about my hypersensitive breast today. Dr Edge looked at me and said:
"Well, let's see if that pain is still …

Tribute to Tony Sasman: teacher, connector and mentor.

Image
My heart is full. Tony Sasman, one of the godfathers of Grassy Park High school, has completed his earthly race. As a teacher he touched lives, as a connector he embraced communities and as a mentor, he helped others like me grow.

If Tony had sung one of his favourite songs in that emotionally-charged way as he always did when we had our glorious socials,

Are you lonesome tonight?  Do you miss me tonight? Are you sorry we drifted apart?  Does your memory stray to a bright sunny day?
I am sure that many of us would have ditched our conventional background humming to this ballad and would have said instead...
Yes, Tony, we are lonesome and we do miss you tonight because we have to bid farewell to our social connector, relationship builder, father to many and friend to all. You have touched our lives and you have shared your gifts with us so that we can become the caring, compassionate persons we have been destined to be.
And yes, our memory does stray to far more than one bright sunny day.…

Bonding with nursing staff, patients and a Reach For Recovery volunteer at Christiaan Barnard Hospital.

Image
Tuesday was a much better day for me in the hospital after my lumpectomy surgery. I was free from the IV Drip contraption and my nausea had subsided dramatically. Besides enjoying the nursing staff in Ward 5B, I also met a wonderful patient, Regina and a Reach for Recovery, breast cancer support volunteer, Julia.

Up Close with the nursing staff in Ward 5B.
We had two awesome nurses caring for us. The one was Ongezwa Jonga, a beautiful young woman who lit up the room with her sunny personality. She wore bright pink lipstick that complemented her huge smile.


Ongezwa is going on study leave in June. She wants to become a staff nurse and then study further to become a nursing sister. When I told her she must aim high and work towards becoming a manager she said:

Yoh.. yoh.. me? I don't think so.  Being a manager looks like hard work. When I look at the managers here, they always looks so stressed and they are always in a hurry.  And some of them talk to themselves. They look so overwh…

Going to theatre for the lumpectomy.

Image
A week after I had been diagnosed with breast cancer, I was booked for a lumpectomy and a sentinel node biopsy.

Early Monday morning, Basil and I drove to Christiaan Barnard Hospital where I was going to have my surgery. When we arrived at the Admissions Desk at about 6:05, there were already many folk waiting to be admitted.  The decor and the coffee aroma created a pleasant ambience for the stressed occupants of this area, except of course,  for my dearest hubby.  We left  our home later than I had anticipated and Basil had to cut his morning routine short.  This freshly-ground coffee aroma in the Admissions area wreaked havoc and forced Basil to flee down the corridor.

 Fortunately Levona, my sister and Trevor, my only brother, arrived to fill this gap with light conversation and jokes. Trevor had obviously worked hard on his repertoire of jokes because I was chuckling away most of the time.  Soon after a visibly lighter, relieved Basil joined us.  So there was definitely something…

My new journey with breast cancer.

Image
Life is full of surprises. Unless you come from a family line where being medical doctors is the common profession,  you won't count medical doctors as an integral part of your family network. Well, that is, until you need a team of doctors to help you navigate a new path on your life's journey.

I went to the doctor for a medical issue and got redirected to something completely unexpected. While Doctor Engelbrecht was examining me, I mentioned the slight tingling I experienced in my left breast. This sensation that is common to women during menstruation was odd since I was now in the phase `When I see 'MEN, I PAUSE' as my dear bud, Devine, always says. Then, during the breast examination, Doctor Engelbrecht says: " I can feel a lump here. Have you felt it before?"

Oops... that was not what I wanted to hear. No, I said. I have never felt anything. If anything, I think I am quite obsessive with self-examination. When I am in the shower my breast ritual is a sc…