How breast cancer changed my life for the better

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Dineo Mogemezulu (30) from Qwaqwa in the Free State had grown used to feeling sick and suffering various pains for a very long time when a cancer diagnosis turned everything around – and changed her life for the better.

Grandmother died of breast cancer

The young woman, who is now a healthy, happy motivational speaker, had become accustomed to no energy and constantly feeling poorly when a life-threatening diagnosis prompted her to to start fighting and experience a major mindshift.

“For months on end I felt so sick. I always had pains under my breast, but it wasn't a big deal for me. Then I started suffering from headaches and dizziness. I told my mom about my pains and she told me that my grandmother had died of breast cancer. I don’t know why, but I did not think that it could possibly happen to me,” Mogemezulu said.

Read: Do you have the breast cancer gene?

“Later on I started feeling more pains, and the headaches grew stronger. Eventually I could not take it anymore and I went to the hospital. The doctors ran some tests on me after I explained my symptoms to them. That's when they took some blood for a check,” she said.

Mogemezulu was with her mother two days later when a doctor informed her that she had breast cancer.

“I just started crying. I couldn't stop, but my mom was so strong, even though I could feel that she was hurting inside.”

'I just wanted to live'

Mogemezulu went for more check-ups and it was found that the cancer had spread. Doctors recommended that she have a mastectomy.

“I didn't hesitate. All I wanted was to live. I had no doubts about life with only one breast. I just wanted to live,” she said.

Read: Cancer diagnosis difficult in rural South Africa

She went to Bloemfontein for her surgery, which went smoothly with no complications.

“I was in pain, but I was so happy to be alive. You cannot easily see that I only have one breast, and am not ashamed to talk about it,” Mogemezulu said.

“I am now a cancer survivor, and I am very proud of myself. I go and motivate other people, and people come to my house for advice sometimes,” she said, explaining how pleased she was that she is now a positive influence in the lives of others.

Her mother, Sonti Mogemezulu, is equally proud.

Not necessarily a death sentence

“I know of things like this happening to other children who have tried to kill themselves or have turned to alcohol. But my daughter has been so brave throughout her situation, and now she is a great motivator and counsellor.”

Read: SA’s patent laws are preventing treatment for thousands with breast cancer

Nursing sister Melita Nhlapo, who is herself a cancer survivor, said a cancer diagnosis was not necessarily a death sentence.

“After I found out about my cancer I turned to alcohol for consolation. I felt like nobody would want to listen to me or even be near me – especially when I started losing my hair. I felt like I had become a joke. But one day it became too much and I went to the hospital and asked for help,” Nhlapo said.

She received assistance through her treatment and is now cancer free. Like Mogemezulu, she realises that while a cancer diagnosis can be devastating and depressing for the patient, a positive mental attitude makes a massive difference and can change everything. -Health-e News

Read more:

Symptoms of cancer

Treating cancer

Preventing cancer

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