Word ‘n Cuppa For CANSA Gasvrou en Kies die Gesonder Opsie

English Press Release

7 Junie 2017 – Die Cuppa For CANSA-seisoen het amptelik op 7 Junie geopen met die bekendstelling van ‘n splinternuwe en gesonder opsie vir funksies. Die fondse wat in 2017 ingesamel word vir die #CuppaForCANSA -veldtog sal aangewend word vir KANSA se Sorgsentrums en spesifiek vir die versorging en ondersteuning wat KANSA bied aan almal wat deur kanker geraak word.

“Cuppa For CANSA” is ‘n prettige manier om broodnodige fondse in te samel wat KANSA in staat stel om in plaaslike gemeenskappe diens te doen. Die konsep van Cuppa kan aangepas word vir eindelose en vindingryke geleenthede en dit bied aan die gasvrou totale ‘artistieke beheer’. ‘n Cuppa-funksie kan klein of groot wees, dit kan aangebied word vir familie, vriende of kollegas en dit kan by enige plek gehou word. KANSA moedig gasvroue vanjaar aan om ‘n “gesonder opsie” te oorweeg. Tydens die funksie kan gesonde kos en drinkgoed aangebied word en resepte vir gesonde kos kan uitgeruil word,” sê KANSA se Hoof van Volhoubaarheid, Maria Scholtz.

Borge Maak Sorg- en Ondersteuningsprogramme Moontlik

“Ons is weereens baie dank verskuldig aan ons hoofborge, Shoprite en Checkers wat vanjaar weer die Cuppa-seisoen gaan borg. Soos in die verlede sal daar weer Cuppa-funksies in Shoprite en Checkers winkels aangebied word waar die publiek betrokke kan raak en die veldtog ondersteun. Glen Rooibos steun vir die tweede agtereenvolgende jaar ook die Cuppa-inisiatief. Shoprite, Checkers en Glen Rooibos het KANSA verlede jaar gehelp om meer as R4 miljoen in te samel. Dit is vennote soos hierdie wat dit vir ons moontlik maak om ons sorg- en ondersteuningprogramme in plaaslike gemeenskappe voort te sit,” voeg Scholtz by.

Cuppa ‘Gesonder Opsie’ Resep Kompetisie

Vir die 2017 Cuppa-seisoen loods KANSA ‘n “gesonder opsie” resep kompetisie. Gasvroue van Cuppa-funksies kan aan die kompetisie deelneem deur hul gesonder en alternatiewe resepte vir kolwyntjies (“cupcakes”) in te stuur. Pryse vir die lekkerste en gesondste kosresepte is op die spel. KANSA staan ‘n “gesonde leefstyl” voor en om gesond te lewe, moet jy slim en ingeligte keuses oor gesonde kos maak en dit wat jy eet en drink, geniet. Ons hoop van harte dat ons Cuppa-deelnemers ons sal ondersteun deur gesonde en alternatiewe keuses van geregte en drinkgoed aan te bied vir Cuppa-funksies,” sê Scholtz.

Vanjaar se Fokus

Die fokus vir vanjaar se Cuppa is om fondse in te samel en om bewustheid te kweek vir KANSA se Sorgsentrums. Ons het meer as 30 Sorgsentrums regoor Suid-Afrika. Hierdie sentrums bedien meer as 300 gemeenskappe en bereik meer as 92 000 kankerpasiënte en hul gesinne (statistieke van 1 April 2016 – 30 Maart 2017). Die SorgSentrums bied ‘n wye verskeidenheid van sorg- en ondersteuningsdienste wat die volgende insluit: siftingstoetse vir kanker, berading en ondersteuningsgroepe, opvoeding oor kanker deur middel van gesondheidsinligting, toesprake wat handel oor gesondheid en uitstallings, inligting oor KANSA Sorg Tuistes en TLC Tuistes, ens.

Enigeen kan ‘n Cuppa gasheer of gasvrou word. Kontak net jou plaaslike KANSA Sorgsentrum of maak gebruik van die handige wenke wat beskikbaar is die webwerf www.cuppa.org.za

“Vir vanjaar se Cuppa-veldtog het ons pragtige bekers om te koop vir R55 elk. Hierdie bekers is ‘n waardevolle herinnering wat jou altyd aan die Cuppa-seisoen en Cuppa-funksie van 2017 sal laat dink. Ons moedig jou aan om deel te wees van Cuppa 2017 – word ‘n gasheer of ‘n gasvrou van ‘n funksie of daag op as ‘n gas by enigeen van KANSA se Cuppa’s. Wees kreatief en innoverend en bied ‘n spesiale Cuppa aan,” voeg Scholtz by.

Sluit by ons aan en praat saam. Gebruik die hutsteken: #CuppaForCANSA #ActForChange

Meer Oor KANSA

KANSA bied ‘n unieke geïntegreerde diens aan die publiek en mense geaffekteer deur kanker. As ‘n leidende rolspeler in kankernavorsing (meer as R12miljoen jaarliks spandeer) word die wetenskaplike bevindinge en kennis wat deur ons navorsing opgedoen word, gebruik vir ons gesondheidsprogramme en om ons rol as waghond tot groter voordeel van die publiek te versterk.

Ons gesondheidsprogramme bestaan uit bewusmaking van gesondheid, siftingstoetse vir kanker en veldtogte oor gesondheidopvoeding, KANSA Sorgsentra wat ‘n wye verskeidenheid van sorg- en ondersteuningsdienste bied aan mense wat deur kanker geraak word, stoma en ander kliniese ondersteuning en organisatoriese bestuur, verhuring van mediese toerusting sowel as a tolvrye nommer wat geskakel kan word om inligting en ondersteuning te bekom.

Ons verskaf ook pasiëntesorg en ondersteuning in die vorm van 11 KANSA Sorgtuistes in die hoof metropolitaanse areas vir weg-van-die-huis kankerpasiënte plus een hospitium in Polokwane, sowel as KANSA-TLC verblyf aan en ondersteuning van ouers en voogde van kinders wat behandeling vir kanker ontvang.

Navrae

Vir meer inligting kontak KANSA tolvry op 0800 22 66 22 of stuur ‘n epos aan: info@cansa.org.za – volg KANSA op Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Host or Attend a Cuppa & Purchase a Mug of Hope as a Keepsake

Host or Attend a Cuppa & Purchase a Mug of Hope as a Keepsake

Anyone can become a #CuppaForCANSA host, by simply contacting their local CANSA Care Centre and using the handy tips available on the Cuppa website.

We encourage you to take part in this Cuppa season, by being a host, or as a guest of one of the CANSA Cuppa’s. Let your creative juices loose, and host a Cuppa.

For this year’s Cuppa, we have some lovely mugs available for purchase at R55 each. These mugs are a great keepsake for the Cuppa season and a wonderful addition to any event.

Don’t forget to enter our ‘Healthy Choices’ Recipe Competition…

About Cuppa

For more info contact your local CANSA Care Centre, visit www.cuppa.org.za, or read our Cuppa launch press release…

Cuppa ‘Healthy Choices’ Recipe Competition

Cuppa ‘Healthy Choices’ Recipe Competition

For the 2017 #CuppaForCANSA season, CANSA will be running a ‘Healthy Choices’ Recipe Competition.

Cuppa hosts can enter this competition by submitting their healthy alternative cake, cupcake, tart, etc. recipe.

Prizes will be up for grabs for the most delicious, yet healthy food recipe. CANSA is all about living a balanced lifestyle and making smart and healthy food choices.

This year, we really want our Cuppa participants to stand with us in health, by making healthy alternatives for their Cuppa event!

About Cuppa For CANSA

Visit www.cuppa.org.za for more information and read our Cuppa launch press release

Host a Healthy Cuppa For CANSA

Host a Healthy Cuppa For CANSA

Afrikaanse Persvrystelling

7 June 2017: The Cuppa For CANSA season is officially open, with the launch taking place today – view launch gallery here… In 2017, the #CuppaForCANSA campaign will be raising funds for CANSA’s Care Centres and the care and support they offer to all those affected by cancer.

“Cuppa For CANSA is a fun way to raise money for the work CANSA does in local communities. The concept can be adapted to countless situations and allows the hostess total ‘artistic control’. A Cuppa can be big or small; with family, friends or colleagues; and be held at any venue. This year we are encouraging Cuppa hosts to have a ‘healthy options’ event, where healthy foods and recipes can be shared and enjoyed,” says CANSA Head of Sustainability Maria Scholtz.

Our Partners Enable Support to Survivors

“We’re grateful to have our main partners, Shoprite and Checkers on-board once again for this Cuppa season. As with previous years, they will be having in-store Cuppas, where the public can get involved and support this campaign (#ActForChange). For the second year, Glen Rooibos is also joining the Cuppa initiative, and along with Shoprite and Checkers, helped us raise over R4 million last year alone. It’s because of partners like these, that we are able to continue our care and support programmes in local communities,” continues Scholtz.

Cuppa ‘Healthy Choices’ Recipe Competition

For the 2017 Cuppa season, CANSA will be running a ‘Healthy Choices’ Recipe Competition. Cuppa hosts can enter this competition by submitting their healthy alternative cake, cupcake, tart, etc. recipe.

“Prizes will be up for grabs for the most delicious, yet healthy food recipe. CANSA is all about living a balanced lifestyle and making smart and healthy food choices. This year, we really want our Cuppa participants to stand with us in health, by making healthy alternatives for their Cuppa event,” continues Scholtz.

Cuppa Focus for 2017

The focus for this year’s Cuppa, is to raise funds and awareness for the CANSA Care Centres. There are more than 30 Care Centres across South Africa, servicing more than 300 communities, and reaching over 92 000 cancer patients and their families (stats from 1 April 2016 – 30 March 2017).

The Care Centres offer a host of care and support services, including cancer screening, counselling and support groups, cancer education through health material, health talks and exhibitions, CANSA Care Homes and TLC Lodges, etc.

Anyone can become a Cuppa host, by simply contacting their local CANSA Care Centre or using the handy tips available on the Cuppa website.

“For this year’s Cuppa, we have some lovely mugs available for purchase at R55 each. These mugs are a great keepsake for the Cuppa season and a wonderful addition to any event. We encourage you to take part in this Cuppa season, by being a host, or as a guest of one of the CANSA Cuppa’s. Let your creative juices loose, and host a Cuppa,” concludes Scholtz.

For more info contact your local CANSA Care Centre, visit www.cuppa.org.za, phone CANSA toll-free 0800 22 66 22, or email CANSA at info@cansa.org.za

About CANSA

CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research (more than R12 million spent annually) and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public.

Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support and organisational management; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support.

We also supply patient care and support in the form of 11 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients; a Wellness Centre based in Polokwane; and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.

Visit www.cansa.org.za for more information or follow CANSA on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

KANSA en Glen Rooibostee maak dit Amptelik

English Press Release

14 Junie 2016 – Dit maak perfekste sin vir KANSA om saam te span met Unilever Glen Rooibostee – juis as gevolg van die uitgebreide en goeie navorsing oor die gesondheidsvoordele wat Rooibos bied.

Glen Rooibos Tea

KANSA het aangekondig dat Glen Rooibostee voortaan KANSA se amptelike verskaffer van rooibostee sal wees. Dit beteken dat Glen Rooibostee verskaf sal word vir KANSA se 30 Sorgsentra, wat 11 Sorgtuistes en ander fasiliteite insluit. Glen Rooibostee sal ook de amptelike verskaffer van vanjaar se Cuppa For CANSA-veldtog wees.

Die Vermindering van Risiko

KANSA se Hoof Uitvoerende Beampte, Elize Joubert, sê: “Ons weet dat die risiko van tussen 30 en 40% van kankers verminder kan word deur lewenstyl faktore, wat dieet en oefening insluit. KANSA erken amptelik dat rooibos ‘n middel is wat risiko kan verminder. Ons is gelukkig dat rooibos inheems is aan Suid-Afrika wat dit maklik toeganklik en bekostigbaar maak. ”

Die Bevordering van ‘n Gesonde Leefstyl

Glen post

Glen Tee is al vir meer as 70 jaar ‘n gunsteling in Suid-Afrikaanse huishoudings. Unilever het die Glen Tee-produk uitgebrei en rooibostee ook onder dieselfde handelsnaam beskikbaar gestel. “Ons rooibostee pas natuurlik in ons visie vir dit waarvoor die Glen Tee handelsmerk sedert sy ontstaan en gedurende sy geskiedenis staan: om mense bymekaar te bring en om mense aan te moedig om mekaar se samesyn, geselskap en vreugde te deel en te geniet, ” sê Anthony Joseph, Unilever se Hoof van Bemarking en Kliëntediens. “Ons glo dat rooibostee met sy talle gesondheidsvoordele, perfek in lyn is met KANSA se deurlopende bevordering van ‘n gesonde leefstyl as ‘n manier om te help om die kankerrisiko te verminder.”

Meer Oor Rooibostee

Sommige van die fenomenale gesondheidsvoordele van rooibostee wat deur navorsing geïdentifiseer is, sluit die volgende in:

  • Die kragtige antioksidante wat rooibostee bevat veg teen vrye radikale wat kanker en hartsiektes veroorsaak.
  • Vrye radikale kan die DNA van selle beskadig, maar antioksidante verbind met die vrye radikale en strem en deaktiveer hulle voordat hulle enige verdere skade kan veroorsaak.
  • Rooibos verhoog ook die antioksidant status van die lewer en stimuleer die ensieme in die lewer om kankervormende stowwe (karsinogene) in die liggaam af te breek.
  • Die daaglikse inname van rooibos help om die liggaam te hidreer, dit kan help om cholesterolvlakke in die bloed te verlaag, dit beskerm die lewer, dit help om die vel gesond te hou en verlig talle selsiektes.
CANSA and Glen Rooibos Tea Make it Official

CANSA and Glen Rooibos Tea Make it Official

Afrikaanse Persvrystelling

14 June 2016 – It makes perfect sense for CANSA to team up with Unilever’s Glen Rooibos Tea with the many well-researched health benefits that Rooibos provides.

Glen Rooibos Tea

CANSA has announced that Glen Rooibos Tea is its official rooibos tea suplier. This will see Glen Rooibos Tea being supplied to CANSA’s 30 Care Centres that include 11 Care Homes, and other facilities. Glen Rooibos Tea will also be the official supplier for this year’s Cuppa For CANSA campaign.

Reducing Risk

Says CANSA CEO Elize Joubert: “We know that the risk of between 30 and 40% of cancers may be reduced through lifestyle factors including diet and exercise. CANSA officially recognises rooibos as a source that may reduce risk. We are fortunate that rooibos is indigenous to South Africa, making it affordable and easily accessible.”

Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle

Glen post

Glen Tea has been a favourite in South African homes for more than 70 years. Unilever then extended their Glen range to include a rooibos offering. “Our rooibos tea fits in naturally with what our Glen Tea brand has stood for throughout its history: bringing people together, sharing each other’s company, conversation and laughter,” says Anthony Joseph, Unilever’s Shopper and Customer Marketing Lead, “We believe that rooibos tea, with its extensive health benefits, aligns perfectly with CANSA’s continuous promotion of a healthy lifestyle as a means to help reduce the risk of cancer.”

About Rooibos Tea

Some of the phenomenal health benefits of rooibos tea, which have been identified through research include:

  • The potent antio-xidants contained in rooibos tea fight free radicals that contribute to cancer and heart disease. Free radicals can damage the DNA of cells, but anti-oxidants bind to the free radicals and inactivate them before they can cause any further damage.
  • Rooibos also increases the antio-xidant status of the liver and stimulates the liver enzymes that break down cancer-causing substances (carcinogens) in the body.
  • The daily consumption of rooibos helps to hydrate the body, may help decrease blood cholesterol levels, protect the liver, support healthy skin and ease numerous skin deseases.

Red Carnation Hotel Collection SA Cheque Handover to CANSA

We are extremely grateful to 12 Apostles Hotel, Oyster Box Hotel and Bushmans Kloof Reserve & Wellness Retreat for their continued support of our Cuppa For CANSA Campaign.

On Tuesday, 15 December 2015, Dr Melissa Wallace (Head CANSA Research), met with Gavin Ferreira (Red Carnation Hotel Collection) & Janie Van der Spuy at the 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa, to receive a cheque on behalf of CANSA. R10 800 was raised for CANSA.

Red Carnation Handover Cuppa 2015 post

SA members of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, namely the 12 Apostles Hotel, Oyster Box Hotel and Bushmans Kloof Reserve & Wellness Retreat supported CANSA’s recent Cuppa Campaign and raised awareness of Breast Cancer during October this year.

Guests were invited to enjoy a special ‘Pink High Tea’ throughout the month of October, R10 per person being donated to CANSA. Guests were also entered into a lucky draw and stood a change to win a Le Creuset Pink Chiffon Tea Pot at the end of the month.

Le Creuset Contribution to Cuppa Campaign & Winners 2015 Le Creuset Competition

CANSA is thankful to Le Creuset for supporting our Cuppa Campaign yet again.

For the fourth consecutive year, Le Creuset committed to assisting CANSA with their Cuppa For CANSA campaign. The focus for 2015, was on CANSA Care Homes, as reflected in the ‘Care in a Cup’ theme.

Le Creuset hosted their own ‘Grand Cuppa For CANSA’ tea parties at three of the country’s leading high tea establishments – in Johannesburg (Inanda Club), Durban (The Oyster Box) and Cape Town (The Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel), and raised a combined total of R174 115-00 for CANSA, with the generous support of attendees.

In addition, Le Creuset also boosted its own contribution by donating 15% of Chiffon Pink product sales during the campaign period (15 September to 31 October) to CANSA, amounting to R77 390-62.

Thank you Le Creuset!

Winners 2015 Le Creuset Competition Announced

As part of the campaign, Le Creuset challenged people all over the country to gather with friends and loved ones to share a friendly cuppa, in order to raise further awareness and funds for CANSA. Three fabulous category prizes were up for grabs, each consisting of a R5000 Le Creuset voucher.

Competition winners were thoroughly deserving – read more and be inspired by entrants’ fabulous Cuppa pics

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Rooi Rose KANSA Tee’s 2015

‘n Baie groot DANKIE aan rooi rose vir hulle jarelange ondersteuning aan KANSA en die geveg teen kanker.

Pretoria:

Die rooi rose SPAR KANSA tee Pretoria ten bate van Die Kankervereniging van Suid Afrika was vanjaar weer eens ‘n treffer! Dit het plaasgevind by die Saint George Hotel met 160 tafels en 1600 gaste wat, die rekord bedrag van R386 000 is ingevorder is ten bate van KANSA.

Die tema was “VARS”! Die hart van die geselligheid is die viering van ‘n nuwe begin vir baie kankeroorwinnaars en hul families. Die KANSA-gesellighede vind plaas gedurende die lente – wat ook ‘n tyd van ‘n nuwe, vars begin is. 2015 is die jaar om bietjie groener te gaan in ons leefstyl, om inspirasie te vind by ons familie en natuur, of dit platteland, seekant of stadslewe is.

Die Kankervereniging is baie trots om met rooi rose, SPAR en die ander borge geassosieer te word. Dankie aan rooi rose, Spar, Club Med, Air Mauritius, Old Mutual, Ceres, Lapa Uitgewers, Justine, Pink Lady Apples en nog vele ander borge.

KANSA is baie dankbaar vir die gasvrouens en gashere met al die moeite wat hulle gedoen het met die dek van die tafels. Hierdie persone wy baie van hul tyd daaraan om die Kankervereniging passievol te ondersteun.

Dankie ook aan die 1600 gaste wie daar was om die geleentheid te vier. Dankie vir Suné van Rooi Rose en haar span en ook aan die vrywilligers wie so hard gewerk het.

Riaan Gruywagen was seremoniemeester, terwyl Martie Pansegrouw, redakteur van rooi rose, Elize Joubert, Hoof Uitvoerende Beampte KANSA, Jerome Jacobs van SPAR sprekers was. Elma Postma, Sophia Kapp, Bertha le Roux en Julie Steynberg, Difference Makers Int. San Diego S.A was gassprekers. Elvis se seun en ook Oosterlig skool se sanggroep het almal vermaak met hul musiek.

Almal was dit eens dit was ‘n onvergeetlike geleentheid! Dankie vir almal se ondersteuning om kanker te beveg.

Gallery:

Stellenbosch:

This past Saturday rooi rose magazine hosted another lovely‪ #‎KANSAtee‬ for CANSA Cape Metro, Boland and Overberg in Stellenbosch!

rooi rose se redakteur, Martie Pansegrouw het genoem: ‘Sommige hier is dankbaar, ander is bekommerd, ander is ONBEWUS. Dis hoekom rooi rose CANSA ondersteun – sodat meer mense bewus gemaak word.

Almal was diep geraak toe Martie gevra het dat al die kankeroorwinnaars moet opstaan en baie sterkte toegewens het.

Die geliefde Iris Bester het haar kankerreis met ons gedeel. Sy het ook ‘n pragtige gedig geskryf en belangrike boodskappe was: ‘Vertrou jou gut en maak seker!’ en ‘Ek besef ek moet elke ondervinding beleef en leef.’

‘n Spesiale dank gaan aan al die gasvrouens – julle het soveel moeite gedoen met liefde en entoesiasme! Sonder julle ondersteuning sal die dag nie ‘n sukses kan wees nie. Lees gerus die pragtige boodskap van een van ons gasvrouens in die foto’s.

‘n Groot dankie gaan ook aan al ons rooi rose #KANSATEE borge. Julle maak ons hande sterker.

Jak de Priester het ook almal vermaak met sy pragtige sang en kwinkslae!

Baie dankie aan elkeen wie dit bygewoon het en natuurlik aan rooi rose! ‘n Groot tjek van R91 000 is aan CANSA oorhandig. Saam beveg ons kanker!

Gallery:

Bloemfontein Gallery:

 

Live, Love, Laugh and Don’t Give Up

Helen Barnard shared her story recently at the 12 Apostles Cuppa Event:

Celebrating my cousins birthday during chemo
Helen celebrating her cousin’s birthday during chemo…

In 2009 my gynaecologist suggested I have a total hysterectomy, and to go on hormone replacement tablets.

In Feb 2011 they detected a lump in my left breast when I went for my yearly mammogram and they removed it – it was found to be benign.

In Sept 2011 my cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer. Being very close family we were all shocked. We all supported her for the Ithemba walk, but if I look back we did not really know what my cousin was going through or feeling.

In January 2012, I decided to do one of the items on my bucket list – I wanted my motorbike licence. After going to a driving school, with no bike of my own, I eventually received my licence. A very proud 53 year old. Another goal achieved.

My friend Lyn and I used to meet up at the local pub, have our two brandy and cokes and then go off home. This was done diligently every Friday, as Lyn used to work long hours and a Friday night was the only night she felt she had to entertain herself.

At times I did not feel like going, but felt so guilty that I just used to go along so I could see Lyn’s smiling face when entering the pub. She was a quiet person. Never said much, but soon got to know everyone and she came out of her shell.

During our chats she said that she had problems with her neck I eventually convinced her to see a doctor, as the physiotherapist sessions had not helped her. She was then informed that she had cancer (a tumour in her neck) a very rare bone cancer that was only diagnosed from a Professior in Bloemfontein after quite some time. I was shocked.

Not 2 months later, I told her that I had something to tell her – I HAD CANCER – we politely laughed it off and said we were not returning to the local pub, as it was not brandy and coke, but brandy and cancer that the two of us had got.

Lynn
Sharing a special moment with Lyn…

Lyn had a difficult time with chemo, radiation and skin graft. We were due to visit her on a Tuesday night and in the early hours of the morning, we were informed that Lyn had passed away. I missed her as we used to have regular chats re what we both were going through, and the times that we had spent together at the local pub and New Year’s Eve dances (she loved dancing).

At the end of Feb 2012, I went for my yearly mammogram. Once again there appeared to be a suspicion that something was not right.

This had happened so many times previously, so when they called the doctor to come and check it, I was not at all concerned. She was a lovely Indian doctor and her comment to me was “ this time it looks like it is going to be positive.”

My reaction was to say “ok”. They then decided to book me in for a needle biopsy. I got a call from my surgeon at work – his words – my girlie you have cancer. Not even 6 months after my cousins diagnosis (diagnosed 1 March 2012, Grade III Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma). This cancer starts in a duct then breaks through the duct wall and invades the fatty tissue of the breast. This is the most common one.

I had no reaction. I think I just accepted it. I picked up the phone and politely told my two sons over the phone, which today I don’t think was right, and said I had cancer. My youngest son doesn’t show emotion. That evening we had a family braai. I noticed him standing all alone in the dark and went up to him to ask him whether he was alright. He burst out crying. This was the first time in years that I had seen him break down and cry. It killed me to see him hurting so much. I also informed my sister who cried her eyes out, but I just told her I would be fine.

I had booked to go to Thailand in April, but was advised to have my breast removed immediately. The cancer was aggressive and was advised I start the necessary chemo and radiation. This trip was cancelled immediately.

On 12 March 2012 I was admitted to hospital – my sister right behind me in the theatre, as well as my friend. All people around me at theatre wished me well, with tears around me from my sister and friend. I tried to be strong but the tears rolled slowly down my face. I turned away as I didn’t want them to see how frightened I really was . When I woke up I realised the reality of the situation. My breast was gone, but still nothing. All I could do was be strong. I could not afford to break down. I had a long road ahead. Little did I know how long that road would be.

I recovered quickly and my plastic surgeon came and told me what was in store for me in the future and how she was going to reconstruct the breast. I requested that I had a skin saving reconstruction done. In this way she did not have to use part of my shoulder muscle to build up a new breast. What she did was she put an expander under my skin and every 3 weeks or so I would go and have some liquid injected into a port which would stretch my skin. This would be done until my skin had been stretched until the required size and left like that until 6 – 9 months after radium had been completed. This would give the skin enough time to heal.

I had to wait for about 3 weeks after the breast removal until chemo began. I did not know what to expect. I met with my oncologist who explained that I would have 4 red devil sessions (this was very strong chemo) with three weeks apart, then another 12 weekly sessions of chemo, a break of 3 weeks and then 5 weeks of daily radium sessions. Thereafter I would be put on a tablet for 5 years (Arimidex).

I was told that within the second week after the first red devil session I would begin to lose my hair. Once I experienced the loss of hair, I should go and have it all shaved off, as it becomes very traumatic. My hair had always been healthy, long and very dark.

By the second week I started experiencing the hair loss. It became so bad that I looked like Mo from the 3 Stooges. A bald patch right through the middle with hair only on the sides. When I brushed my hair, it started to come out in bunches. I then decided that I would go and have my hair shaved off by my hairdresser that had cut my hair for
years.

He knew what I was going through and when I sat down with him – his words to me were, “Are you ready for this?” He put his hands through my hair and there and then the hair came out in bunches in his hands. His answer was, “Yes, I can see what you mean, it has to come off.”

He started to shave my hair and slowly the tears rolled down my face. I didn’t sob as I did not want anyone to see what I was going through, but by this time all eyes was on me and people started to come up to me to tell me how brave I was, how they had shaved their hair for their mom, and one woman started to cry. I got up and went to comfort her telling her that I would be fine. That helped me that I had to comfort someone else.

I had my wigs with me – I had purchased them while I still had hair as this helped the lady decide which would be best for me as she could see what I looked like before my hair loss. I had a short wig (bob style) and one that was just like I currently look – long and in layers. My hairdresser was fantastic, and I am thankful to him for his sensitivity to my situation.

My eyebrows and eyelashes also fell out. I attended a Look Good feel Better day. Here they taught you how to put makeup on such as drawing eyebrows, how you had to measure it so it looked the same and in the right place, and line your eyes so that it was not noticeable that you had no eyelashes.

I experienced many funny situations with my wigs, which my friends had many laughs about:

When coming out of the hospital one day, I walked to my car in the howling South Easter. As someone wanted my parking space, I directed him to my car and the next minute I felt my wig blow off into the wind. Well, the man’s face in the car was that of disbelief. He didnt know to react. By that time my cousin had run down the road after my wig!

Another time it was my birthday and we went to The Mount Nelson Hotel for high tea. There was an elderly gentleman serving us and handed me my cup of tea and at that point the wig fell backwards and I was wigless. The faces around me were priceless. He tried to comfort me by saying that I was beautiful with or without a wig. But I told him I was ok, that I was laughing and not crying. Needless to say he did not return.

My two sons took me to lunch one day. We were sitting on a balcony – it became very hot and I asked them if it would be ok if I took the wig off – their replied, “Whatever makes you comfortable mom.” I then took it off which resulted in funny looks around me – people did not know whether to look , whether to smile, or pretend they had not noticed. I just carried on with our lunch of course!

My wigs sometimes looked like a wig and other times you would think it was my normal look. I would confuse friends on a daily basis by never looking the same, wigs changed, bandanas or sometimes just going plain au naturel.

I took strain with the first rounds of chemo – some sessions I could not do within the required period as my blood levels weren’t right, so I had to wait until the following week.

The first time that I could not go for chemo due to my blood levels upset me terribly – I thought I had done something wrong. I soon learned that it was not me. My body had to build itself up. No amount of whatever I would take would help my blood levels.

I would go to chemo on a Wednesday and go back to work on the Monday. Sometimes dragging myself there and feeling so weak still, but knowing that as I was alone and had no partner in life, I could not jeopardize my job with my illness.

My sister (a real Florence Nightingale) would arrive on a Wednesday after work ready to look after me. Here she would cook up a meal and open up all the windows and doors so I did not get nauseous from the smells.

Well chemo had certainly taken its toll. I was tired but pushed myself on, knowing that I had to find light at the end of the tunnel.

I would surround myself with positive people. Some people had the nerve to tell me I was going to die and that chemo would just prolong my life – I cut them out of my life. My support system was great. I did not have to see anyone. Small things like a bbm, text message and phone call helped me get through all of it.

I received a lot of support from a group of people from a Music Group (this group of people would often raise funds for people in need of support – such as cancer). What a support group they proved to be and still are. They laughed and cried with me.

I met so many people during the time that I was under chemotherapy. I knew exactly who the new patients were and would always go over and chat to them and encourage them, even if I knew the news was not good.

They always used to ask me why I was there. They would not believe what I was going through, as I was always laughing. I also always had a wig on. When they said they could not believe I was also ill, I would take my wig off and show my baldness.

I was known as the lady who was always laughing and going to the loo, as the drip made me constantly run off to the ladies. I would have the patients in fits of laughter with all my stories. At times I would nod off due to the chemo, and find a sister waking me up to say that the treatment for the day was finished.

Once I started my weekly sessions I would drive myself to and from chemo – trying at all times to be as independent as possible and not relying on help from others. My normal housework routine continued throughout my illness, and my son would treat me no differently. He believed by treating me as if I weren’t ill, it would give me strength, and I do believe this worked. He never allowed me to let my illness get me down. He would joke with me (even though inwardly I knew he was hurting to see me go through all of this).

In October, once again as a family we did the Ithemba walk, and even though on chemo I managed to do the 5 km.

Ithemba Walk

On a Sunday when going for a drive – I would not have the strength to even get to the car, but I would force myself and when getting to the beach – which was where I would want to be – I would stare out at the ocean with the thought of why me? That thought soon became something of the past. I felt I didn’t have the right to ask the question, but to accept it.

On 31 October 2012 my chemo sessions were completed. I was over the moon. I remember the door opened, and all I could see were balloons. As they came nearer I soon realised that it was my friends. Well it certainly brightened up the whole room. The men in the room could not keep their eyes off the beautiful women, and it brought smiles to all around. What a wonderful sight this was, as well as an amazing feeling that I was loved by these people, who had come to celebrate this special day.

Celebration of end of Chemo
Celebrating after chemo…

People would tell me what I should take that would take cancer away completely – I know everyone meant well – but I do believe that faith in God, as well as having a positive attitude helps.

I changed my Oncologist once I commenced with radium treatment. My new Oncologist took the time to answer all the questions that I never had answers to previously – this made me feel so much more confident in where I was going.

The problem was that I had never had this illness before and never knew what to expect. I needed reassurance of where I was going. The new practice showed concern for me, going out of their way to assure me of their assistance at all times, advising me of who I was seeing each week and giving me the confidence in the treatment
that I was been given. (This was very important to me).

On 29 December 2012 I completed my radiation. The new year was to commence for me with all my treatment completed.

I felt like a weight had been taken off my shoulders. I wanted to go up Table Mountain to celebrate. It was too windy and so I went up to Signal Hill, wind and all, and let 5 balloons loose in the wind. Each balloon had a meaning. My life was starting fresh and my year of treatment had ended.

In January 2013, I had all my tests done and was given the all clear. My doctor confirmed I was in remission and my 5 year medication started.

I only wish that my friend Lynette was with me today to get the same results. I can say however, that my cousin who was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of months before me, has also been given the all clear.

People tend to think that once in remission all is ok, but the fear when you go for your check-ups is still there. The joints in your body may still ache and your feet may still be numb.

We are not all so lucky to have a support system . When people say they have cancer, you tend to think of it as a death warrant, but there IS HOPE and for many of us light at the end of the tunnel.

My hair has started to grow back and I can flutter my eyelashes again.

I still live on sleeping tablets as I don’t sleep; find my hands and fingers clenched at times and then I have to remind myself to be calm and relax. But it is not all that easy…

I have since been boarded due to Fibromyolgia & arthritis and because I need to take a large amount of medication to manage my pain and keep me going.

Thank You God for being with me all the way. Through my experience I am hoping to help others through their tough times.

I can also say thank you for the times that I was able to have special weekends away while I was ill. Many a time I would stare at the sea that went on for miles in front of me and that is where my mind was at times. (A feeling of never knowing what to expect or where you were).

I definitely live life to the fullest and make the best of any circumstance that arises.

I have since had reconstruction done to my breast in the last 3 years. My last operation was in June 2015. It has been a success. My nipple has been reconstructed. My plastic surgeon advised me that this would come from the inside of my leg. The result could not have been better. (Smile).

I have however since had two knee operations, and been diagnosed with Barrett’s Syndrome (which means I have to go for regular scopes).

But I am still living life to the fullest (LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH and DON’T GIVE UP!)

So burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. TODAY is special!