Renée Singh – Wearing my survivor’s crown with pride

Mother of three, Renée Singh, tells us how she earned her breast cancer survivor’s crown.

Renée Singh (40) lives in Roodepoort, Gauteng with her husband and three children. 

My breast cancer journey started in February 2017. I was 37 years old when my husband discovered a lump in my left breast. My second born son encouraged me to go and have it checked at a local hospital. I underwent a scan which showed signs of an abnormal mass. In May 2017, after a biopsy, my diagnosis was confirmed, I had Stage 2 lobular carcinoma. 

I met with a breast specialist and she educated me on my diagnosis and the plan moving forward. I was to have a left mastectomy as the cancer was aggressive. The surgical team did an exceptional job, I came out of theatre feeling more vibrant and having more hope than ever before. Though, the drains after surgery were challenging. 

Chemotherapy and radiation

I was then referred to an oncologist and would start chemotherapy that August. Chemotherapy is one of the hardest challenges a cancer patient can go through. No matter how sick I felt I didn’t give up. Instead I fought harder every second I was alive. I would not accept defeat against this cancer battle. My faith was ever-growing; it carried me through my treatments. 

The last of my treatment consisted of 31 consecutive days of radiation. Unfortunately, I was hospitalised for two weeks before proceeding further with radiation. It was thought that 

I had swelling of the brain. I was put on very high doses of steroids. Once I was discharged from hospital, I continued with radiation. I woke up at 2am to get ready to leave home at 4:30am to have my daily radiation doses. 

These days were joyous as my three kids and husband gave me all the love, time and support I needed in this time. They gave me extra strength to fight the battle even harder than before. My family became stronger because I chose to stay positive and to never give up. I promised myself that no matter the challenges I had to face in this battle, I wouldn’t back down. Instead I would fight like a true warrior, becoming victorious on the battle field. My positivity, faith and never-give-up attitude earned me a survivor’s crown today. 

Present day

Today I dedicate all my time, love and support to newly diagnosed patients. I strongly believe that your mental state of mind is obligated to staying positive throughout your cancer journey. Cancer isn’t a death sentence. So, you need to put your armour on and fight. You are never alone in this battle. There is a lot of love and support out there.

I have had the honour of being invited to various breast cancer awareness functions where I got to mingle with other survivors, share my story as well as encourage them. I’ve loved every minute of it!  

Just like COVID is teaching us to take in every second, minute and moment in life, so does facing cancer. You must never give up no matter the challenges. As long as we are alive, we must fight harder to overcome the storm.