I am a 30 year-old woman with a lot of spark and energy! I have to be, I’m a mother of two beautiful girls aged five and three! In December 2010 I was bathing and found a lump. Within a week I had been to the breast clinic at Helen Joseph and diagnosed with breast cancer, but I just wanted it to be a mistake. Surely the doctor could be wrong? How could this be? I am so young and my daughters need me? I have not seen much in life and now this? On top of everything my wonderful fiancé and I were planning to get married in June 2011, so I had to be the beautiful bride.
In February 2011, I started phase one of my cure: chemo! My doctor had explained everything about the treatment, and what happens, in great detail. She offered to send us for counselling, but being the coloured woman that I am, I said “No thank you”. She tried her best, especially as I still had to undergo a mastectomy. Everything was fine at the first treatment, my fiancé was there for support, and I thought “this isn’t that bad”. We talked about the wedding and he was still eager to get married in the June.
Then I went for the second chemo and things started happening to my body. My hair started falling out, my nails turned blue and I lost a lot of weight, my transformation was in progress. Thank goodness for the support of my fiancé and family, that really helped!
My five year-old became scared of me. She couldn’t understand what was happening to mommy, “Why is mommy sick? Where is her long hair?” She refused to come close to me, let alone touch me, and it broke my heart. I had to find a way to comfort her and try to make her understand that I was still Mommy. My three year-old, Jordin, found my new look very funny! She would say “Mommy het ‘n bles kop” and that gave me an idea. I gave them both lipstick and told them to draw on my head. With my heart in pieces and holding back my tears I asked God, “Please let my girls be at ease ‘cause they don’t understand what’s happening”. With my eyes still closed and saying my prayer, I felt a kiss on my bald head. It was Jordin. “See Brooklyn,” she said, “I kissed mommy’s bles kop”. Then I felt Brooklyn’s little fingers touching my head, still with doubt and fear, but for me it was a sign that everything was going to be fine. I thanked God and, with tears rolling down my face, I held them tight. My heart cried out, “Come on cancer, I can beat you in this walk. I know that I am going to be fine.”
I kept on looking for something in my fiancé’s eyes: “Am I still beautiful to you? This is just chemo, what about the operation? Will you still love me? Will I still be a woman to you?” I cried before the operation and my mother held my hand and said, “You are still my daughter, just believe that you are still beautiful to him.” The Sunday before the operation he proposed to me again. I said “Yes”, but in my heart I doubted, telling myself “let’s wait and see if he still feels the same after the operation.”
After my mastectomy, I was dressing when he walked up behind me, turned me around and asked me if he could kiss me. I said “Yes” and leaned closer, but I felt no lips touching mine, instead I felt him kissing my scar. He looked up at me and told me “I love you more now than ever before”.
I have left my cancer behind me, somewhere along the road in this great walk. The wedding has moved from June 2011 to June 2012 and when I walk down the aisle it will just be me, the new me, with my adorable daughters and my wonderful husband-to-be.
Written by Audrey Roro