Walking the road to recovery

2016-10-18 06:00
PHOTO: sarah brauns Ronelle Sterkenburg fought breast cancer.

PHOTO: sarah brauns Ronelle Sterkenburg fought breast cancer.

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FOR Upper Highway resident, Ronelle Sterkenburg, being diagnosed with cancer was a long uphill battle.
She read statistics about the number people who had succumbed to the dread disease, but never did she think she would become one of those statistics.

“When I discovered a lump on my breast in February 2013, I was not that concerned as I was committed in my belief that cancer was something that happened to other people, not me, yet I was sadly mistaken.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of February 2013 and was soon undergoing the first round of treatment - four doses of chemotherapy at three weekly intervals.
“I then underwent a mastectomy at the beginning of June, followed by another 12 weeks of weekly chemo. My treatment concluded with eight weeks of radiation with my last session ending a week before Christmas,” said Sterkenburg.

She said that having breast cancer has taught her many life lessons.
“I have always been an independent individual, one who is reluctant to rely on others, but it soon became evident that I had no option, but to let others take charge.

“I was very fortunate because I had the most amazing support group - family, friends, colleagues and even strangers, who had heard about my diagnosis.”

Sterkenburg said that she was grateful for the daily messages on her cellphone, the phone calls, the visits, the meals her colleagues and friends delivered on a rotation basis - the list is endless, she said, but every deed helped her to cope and walk the road to recovery.

Sterkenburg said people deal with situations differently, but she found that talking about hers helped.

“I met the most amazing people while sitting through the endless chemotherapy sessions and we swopped stories of our aches and pains, our reaction to the various medications and what lay ahead for us – it was reassuring to hear that what I was experiencing was ‘normal’ and that others had walked a similar road.

“I now belong to a chat group called ‘Soul Sisters’, and it is rewarding to share my experiences and relevant information when new members join the group looking for advice, or they simply just want to share their story.”

Sterkenburg said that cancer is rife in today’s world, and her advice is to take out dread disease cover.

“I was in the very fortunate position of being able to give up work for the nine months of my treatment, but this did cause financial strain and dread disease cover would have helped alleviate this.

“Chemotherapy is expensive and debilitating and is difficult to continue functioning as a normal human being, so to have that extra financial backing during treatment is a must, as far as I am concerned, and please don’t think it can never happen to you – rather be safe than sorry,” she concluded.

I had the most amazing support group - family, friends, colleagues and even strangers, who had heard about my diagnosis, and they never stopped giving.

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