A breast cancer survivor’s strength

2016-10-11 06:00
Dixie Woolley (left), with the support of her daughter Jolene, fought breast cancer twice.           Photo: supplied

Dixie Woolley (left), with the support of her daughter Jolene, fought breast cancer twice. Photo: supplied

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THE mother of two, 58-year-old Dixie Woolley, says it is only with the support of her family, especially her daughter Jolene, who kept pushing her to fight when all she wanted to do was give up, that she was able to beat breast cancer, twice.

Woolley found the first lump by accident in 1998 while getting dressed for work.

“I felt an aching lump where the underwire of my bra was and when I turned sideways I could see a it protruding. It was the size of a bantam egg.

“I went into ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand mode for three weeks until it ached quite a bit. As I didn’t have medical aid, a friend of a friend was an oncologist at Addington Government Hospital and I got to see him.”

Woolley had a needle biopsy and mammogram done and was diagnosed with breast cancer in her right breast.

“I was shocked when I was told the news, but after driving home crying I finally calmed down and told my husband and two children, who were then 10 and 16 at the time.

“Everyone took it well as I downplayed it to the children because I didn’t want them to worry.”

She went for a lumpectomy, radiotherapy and six sessions of chemo and then told she was in remission.

However, 14 years later, in 2012, Woolley during her annual mammogram, discovered a lump in her left breast.

“I had a sonar and had to get a biopsy done privately, funded by my sister in America, because Addington Government Hospital didn’t have one biopsy needle then. It came back positive for breast cancer again – stage two this time.

“I started chemo two months later at Addington Hospital. As their operating theatres were not functional at the time I had to go to Albert Luthuli Hospital for a double mastectomy, with no reconstruction.”

Woolley went home five days later and got on with her life as normal.

Wolley’s message to those going through what she went through: “Take it day by day and find someone who will support you and help carry you through because it is not easy.

“You have to try stay positive as cancer is a mind-game as well and if you let it get to you it will eat you up. Best wishes to all on this journey – stay strong and positive as cancer can be beaten, more than once,” she said.

To remind herself what she has conquered Woolley had a tattoo of a pink ribbon done on her shoulder.

For more about Woolley’s battle email her on dixiejanet@gmail.com

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