As October dawns upon us, it marks a poignant moment for me as I reflect upon the several years during which my mother bravely battled breast cancer. The journey has been a rollercoaster of emotions, challenges, and unwavering support, ultimately leading to a triumphant victory over this devastating disease.
I can vividly recall the day when my mother received her cancer diagnosis, as if it happened just yesterday. My father and I sat in the doctor’s office, anxiety coursing through our veins. The words “you have cancer” hit us like a sledgehammer to the gut. In that moment, I had imagined being the pillar of strength for my mom, but my emotions overwhelmed me. However, what remains etched in my memory is my mother’s reaction—she didn’t shed a tear, but her face was etched with fear as she sank into the chair. The diagnosis was late-stage three breast cancer, a formidable adversary that demanded aggressive treatment.
The battle that lay ahead was arduous. My mother endured 16 grueling rounds of chemotherapy, followed by 16 rounds of radiation. To make matters worse, she contracted a superbug during a hospital visit. Her strength was tested through multiple crises, including the relentless onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, the July unrest that made it difficult for my father to procure food and medication, and the devastating Durban Floods. With her compromised immune system, she also contracted E. coli, as access to bottled water was limited. Throughout this harrowing journey, my father emerged as a true hero. With his children living far away, he tirelessly worked to ensure my mother’s well-being and provided unwavering motivation during the darkest days. There are no words to express the depth of my gratitude for everything he did for her.
However, my mother’s resilience was not solely built on familial support. She had an extraordinary support system that encompassed a wide network of compassionate individuals. Her fellow members in the chemotherapy group offered camaraderie and strength. A dedicated florist brightened her days with weekly flower deliveries, adding a touch of beauty to her challenging journey. The medical professionals and staff at the oncology clinic played a vital role in her recovery. Friends and family sent their prayers and messages of hope, but a special mention goes to my toddler niece, who unknowingly became a source of inspiration for my mother.
Cancer, without a doubt, is one of the most harrowing experiences any family can endure. It is a vile disease that leaves a profound and lasting impact, both emotionally and physically. However, it is my belief that the power of a strong support system is what empowers the patient to endure the grueling treatment regimens required to combat this relentless adversary.
Today, I am overjoyed to announce that my mother has been declared cancer-free. Yet, she still grapples with health issues caused by the side effects of her treatment. She lives, and I have the privilege of speaking to her every day. Her journey continues, with its ups and downs, but she always maintains a sprightly demeanor.
To all the brave people and families who are currently facing or have faced the trials of breast cancer or any form of cancer, my heartfelt wish is that you have the most robust and compassionate support system imaginable. Cancer is a formidable foe that requires an army to conquer, and with the right support, victory is possible. Together, we can stand strong against this insidious disease and offer hope and inspiration to those in need.
This article was orginally published by Raygen Magiera in Headlines and Heartbeats