When everything spirals at 26 years old
“Thirteen years ago, at 26 years of age, I was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer.
It started off when I felt a lump in my breast and the initial advice ‘it was normal to have lumps there at my age’. After some time, I went to my gynaecologist for my routine checkups and he said that my lumps were abnormal and recommended that I go for a mammogram. When I went for the mammogram, they (medical officials) were hesitant because of my age. They said that the results show that I have dense breast tissue which was normal for someone my age.
Everything spiralled from there; I had a biopsy done which was all I needed to confirm breast cancer. My cancer had advanced to the point where it was visible that something was wrong. I did a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation – the full works. I was very glad that I got a lot of support from my doctors. They were upfront with me from the beginning, letting me know that it was an aggressive cancer and not normal for someone my age. Therefore, we had to treat it aggressively with the maximum dosage to reduce chances of reoccurrence and improve my chances.
This is why patient navigation is something that I’m passionate about. When you are empowered and able to make decisions, it helps you get through the cancer process. The diagnosis helped me realise that I don’t have to fit in a mould of what people want me to be. It helped me to understand the importance of being authentic and being true to myself.
I have a friend going through cancer right now and I’m experiencing it from a different angle. I learnt how to be assertive, resilient and the power of positivity. Nothing you’re going through lasts forever.”