Kwa-Zulu Natal woman Lindiwe Dube thought she was going to die the day she was diagnosed with brain tumour more than a decade ago.
She says when the doctor broke the news if felt like the end of her life.
It was after a month of her diagnoses that she realized that she ought to live her best life.
“I treat each day as if it’s my last. I’ve told myself to live life to the fullest,” she tells Move!.
However, 13 year later, she’s still managing to lead a normal life with her condition. She attributes this to a healthy lifestyle and a positive mindset.
“Having a deadly disease doesn’t mean I should sit at home and feel sorry for myself. Feeling sorry for myself will not change the world and will definitely not improve my health,” she confidently says.
Despite having an option to undergo surgery, the mother-of-two refused and opted to monitor it with medication.
“I was told I had a 50/50 percent of surviving surgery, and that’s when I decide not to undergo the procedure. I accepted the condition and told myself I will not let it kill me but will live the best life with it,” she says.
She admits that she occasionally struggles with blackouts, headaches and forgetfulness. The doctors have warned her not to drive as she’s a hazard to others.
The 44-year-old never in her life thought that she would live with such a condition as she grew up a relatively healthy person.
Read more: Does a headache mean I have a brain tumour?
She worked in the financial sector as a branch manager when she started falling ill. She says she used to work seven days a week because she felt the needed to meet targets.
“I was working from Monday to Sunday because the work was commission based,” she explains. Even though her bank balance was looking healthy, her health started deteriorating. She started having severe headaches which landed her in and out of hospital.
The workaholic admits that she used to leave hospital and head straight back to work. That’s when she started forgetting things.
“I would be on a phone call. The minute I drop the phone I would have forgotten about that conversation. I thought it was exhaustion. But they kept happening. I went to a doctor and I was admitted for a month,” she says.
However, she was misdiagnosed as the doctors thought it was depression. Lindiwe refused to leave the hospital until the doctors were certain what was wrong with her. She says this was surprising because she hates hospitals.
“They did MRI scan. It was after this that they found something in my brain. The doctor told me I have an option to monitor it with medication or undergo surgery,” she recalls. Lindiwe chose the former.
She had to leave her job. She lost her salary and her medical aid stopped. She says the decision was based on the fact that she was demoted as branch manager and had to work full time. Her job meant driving from one place to another which the doctor had advised against.
She admits that her condition has had an impact on her family. She says her 17-year-old son has had to grow up quickly. She shares that she once had a blackout and he was still about 11 years old, he managed to call an ambulance and assisted her while he awaited help.
Her mother had to stop being a taxi driver and be close to home as a taxi rank manager because they never know what might happen to Lindiwe at any given time.
However, despite her health troubles, Lindiwe has become an anchor in her community of KwaDlangezwa. Through her Linzwa Foundation, she’s involved in various projects that uplift the community.
She focuses on youth empowerment projects and improving lives of those in need as well as support positive initiatives in the area.
Her passion for education started the Life after Prison project – a debate and drama initiative which engages prisoners from eShowe Prison, Qalakabusha Correctional Centre, Mtunzini and Stanger Prisons under Empangeni management.
“Everyone deserves a second chance and being in prison doesn’t mean they can’t do something constructive with their lives,” she says
She is also the brains behind the provincial albinism campaign, Nathi Singabantu, as well as various projects which assist abused women and needy children.