Candi van der Walt

The Day I Found Out

The 7th of November 2014 at 11:00am was the start to a whole new chapter in my life. Not just my life however, all my family and friends.

First, let’s take a few steps back: It started with a burning pain in my left breast which came and went, didn’t think it was anything. Woke up the next morning to what felt like fire in my breast. I touched it and I felt a lump (Eeeekkkkk), so the next morning I went to the doctor. She sent me for a Sonar the same day (it was a Friday), the Dr doing the sonar said he is sure everything is fine, he just wants to make sure via a biopsy as the lump was round in shape in stead of oval and it had jagged edges. But he assured me that it is really just precautionary.

He wanted to do it there and then already but honestly I was too scared, I needed the weekend to prepare for a needle the size if a silver sosatie stick going into my boob.

Tuesday the 4th of November I went for the biopsy, not the most pleasant experience ever, the needle that localised the area burned like crazy but after that it was a bit of pressure, all the while the Dr had the sonar on the breast and very excitedly showing me how the needle is going through the tissue in the boob and and how it eventually gets to the lump. Eeessshhh, too much detail.

Anyway, he tells me again not to worry as Cancer is not usually painful so he is sure that they will be phoning me with the results and not my doctor.

I have to say that I was totally convinced that the results would be negative. Apart from the pain in my breast every now and then, I didn’t really give the ‘results’ much thought.

Friday morning, 7 November was a normal morning (what ever ‘normal’ is with three small kiddos), children at school, hubby at a meeting, me doing the dishes when my phone rang at 10:30. The doctor would like to see me at 11:00. That’s when it dawned on me for the first time that something could be wrong.

I met with the doctor and she told me I have stage 3 Invasive Ductile Carcinoma!! I was totally shocked!

I went for my first chemo on 19 November and my Oncologist says that due to the type of chemo I am getting (Epirubicin and Endoxan) cardio is completely out for me until around May. Problem here is that I am a Zumba Fitness Instructor so this is where my income is generated from. So all of the sudden, not only do I have stage 3 cancer, but now my income is completely taken from me, all the bills still need to be paid as well as extra thousands of Rands for my treatment.

Support from friends and family has been amazing, Chris and I are so grateful for that. The support we received carried us through November and December and helped us to (amongst other things) pay for my Chemotherapy which is really expensive. The initial shock of my diagnosis is over and (naturally so) everyone has got on with their lives.

I still have a long way to go, another chemo treatment coming up 11 February, possible tests, a Lumpectomy and radiation. I also need to go on medication every three months for the next two years to stop my menstrual cycle as the Estrogen is feeding the cancer. The chemo was meant to stop my cycle but for some reason has not.

While having no idea how we are going to pay for all this, we have to keep the faith as we have three children’s lives that we are trying to keep as normal as possible for them in all of this upheaval.

We are keeping the faith!