When were you diagnosed with SBC?
How were you diagnosed with SBC?
My cancer journey officially began in October 2010 when I was just 32, the day I heard the words ‘I’m sorry to tell you have invasive carcinoma.’ I was diagnosed with stage 3 er+ breast cancer. I didn’t have a lump, what initially took me to my GP was a discharge from my right breast.
My treatment started with a mastectomy followed by 6 rounds chemotherapy, 15 rounds of radiotherapy, ending a year later with my LD flap breast reconstruction. Treatment wasn’t easy but I didn’t complain, I dealt with using my mantra and the time – This too shall pass. My life hasn’t really been the same since.
8 years after my primary diagnosis when I was beginning to finally trust that I was in the clear and had beat this horrible dis-ease, I notice my mastectomy and reconstruction had become a bit lumpy. A couple of weeks later I was being told it was a reoccurrence that had spread to my lungs and bones. My cancer is treatable but incurable (apparently). You can read more about it on my blog www.beingjennifercronje.com
What has been your treatment Journey?
For my primary diagnosis - right mastectomy, FEC-T chemo, 15 sessions of radio and 8 years of tamoxifen.
SBC - I am on an oral chemotherapy drug called palbociclib, letrozole - hormone therapy, a monthly injection called zoladex - to suppress my ovaries and a bisphosphonate injection every three months called denosumab (with calcium supplement) - a bone strengthener that helps with the bone mets and counteracts the effects of my ovaries being shut down.
What would have helped make your journey so far easier?
If my oncologist had actually listened to me and taken action the first couple of times I went to her with symptoms. I've also never been offered any mental health support from my primary diagnosis until now, in fact my breast care nurse actually told me that she knows I'm strong and I'm managing on my own - without asking me! Don't make the assumptions based on my appearance. I have had to learn the importance of being my own advocate.
I don’t let this dis-ease take control of my life. It’s my life and I choose to live it. Pre-Covid I was on holiday far too often than I cared to admit, I treat myself as much as I can and spend time with those I care about. When I talk about my cancer diagnosis, I often feel as it I’m talking about someone else…I disassociated my myself from it because I really don’t feel ill! My oncologist tells my I’m ill but I reject it. Yes I have cancer cells, everyone does, my immune system just needs a kick up the backside to remember what to do with it. LOVE over FEAR. I want to live more than I don’t want to die! LOVE over FEAR