My new journey with breast cancer.

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 scientific exercise. Every nook and cranny on the chest and under the armpits is explored and scrutinized for any hidden object. I have never felt anything that didn't belong to the mammaries. And here, I lay, with THE LUMP, sneaky thing!

The next few days became one hazy mess. I tried to block my thoughts from this lump. I assured Dr Engelbrecht that I would go for the mammogram, an examination I had avoided ever since my sister, Glenda was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer about ten years ago. I repeat this information to all the doctors I speak to. I tell them that my sister who religiously went for mammograms and her annual physicals was diagnosed at this late stage. I know I am angry because I felt Glenda was cheated somehow.

I knew there was no place to hide. I was going to have to deal with my own fears and go for the mammogram.I was shit scared, but I was told the mammogram was under thirty minutes. I could deal with that, I thought, and be out there in a flash and get back to work.

The Thursday morning I went for the mammogram but my journey with cancer was just about to start. A few minutes later I went for an ultrasound and two hours later, I had a needle biopsy under local anesthetic. I had requested that my family and two close buds pray with me for calm and an accepting attitude regardless of the diagnosis. I prayed throughout all the examinations, asking for our Lord's presence and calming. I received and accepted all the peace and calm that enveloped me. After four hours of medical examinations, I blocked off this experience and participated in a post-filling process till 23h00.

When the results confirmed that I have a cancerous breast tumor, I was  as spiritually and emotionally prepared as I could be. I haven't cried yet and I can't really explain the reason for this. All I know is that I am completely covered and have a host of angels rooting for me around the clock. Basil and the children have been amazing. My friends and colleagues have smothered me in love, care and an infinite circle of positive energy that have humbled me tremendously. What I have told everybody is that when I do break down, I have no guarantees who is not going to be burned in the process!

Being honest and sharing  my breast cancer status has been one of the most spiritually and emotionally fulfilling experiences I have had. People are wired to love and when they know you are hurting, they pick you up and surround you with life and energy that cannot be measured. Love knows no bounds. I have heard so many heartwarming stories from friends and family who are cancer survivors that I would never have been blessed with.

When one of my loyal blog readers, Michelle, said that I may want to write a blog about my experience to inspire others, she completed another puzzle piece for me. She was right. By sharing my story with others, more people will feel comfortable to share theirs AND through my story, men and women have already committed  to go and have themselves checked! Thanks, Michelle!

I will be continuing my journey with Dr Jenny Edge, a highly acclaimed breast surgeon, I am told. Dr Rosenthal, the one who had the blessed task of breaking the news to me, recommended Dr Jenny who had operated on his mother fifteen years ago.  Dr Jenny is a blogger too and I know I am in the right hands. Dr Engelbrecht, the one who was sent to identify the lump, called me and spoke for about 30 minutes, motivating me and inspiring me to face my new journey with hope and thanksgiving.

According to Doctor Jenny, my prognosis is good. There are a few medical checks I have to undergo to make sure I am not at risk when she operates. So, soon I will be undergoing an operation to remove the tumour and for further testing to see whether the cancer is still controlled. Then I will know what the next stage of my journey will be. For now, I am at peace. I am alive, still able to be of service to others and, to enjoy my family and friends.


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