My Cancer Story
I am Babette Labuschagne, 33 from Pretoria! My story begins on April Fools day 2020. But it was no joke.
I felt something uncomfortable when my breast touched my arm when I turned over to my right side one night.
The next morning I did a self examination and went to the Dischem clinic, they did a clinical exam and suggested I go for a mammogram.
I was diagnosed with Early Stage Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Triple Negative, Grade 3, on 08 April 2020.
Because triple negative is not hormone receptive, I had the opportunity and did fertility treatment before I started with chemotherapy, 4 AC aka Red Devil, followed by 12 weekly Placitaxol. I had my last infusion on the 14th of October.
I had the option to follow this with a lumpectomy but I made the decision to do a preventative nipple sparing double mastectomy and this is scheduled for the 27th of October. We’re doing immediate reconstruction with expanders.
I am waiting for scans and surgery before I would formally know if I am in remission. A recent mammogram did not show anything except the tumor marker.
At the start of my story, I really found comfort in my family and friends. As I started posting about my journey online, I have gained an enormous amount of support that has given me courage.
I used to work in software implementation, but quit my job last year to follow my dream to do purposeful branding. I enrolled to do a full time honors degree, but we decided to freeze my studies due to chemo brain.
At this moment I am writing blogs and making videos about how I am feeling during treatment. I found that there are a lot of information about symptoms and side effects but not on how breast cancer patients felt emotionally. I am wearing my heart on my sleeve.
My advice for cancer patients, is to live your own story.
Don’t compare yourself to another, we’re all different. Feel all your emotions, cry and scream and shout, but know that there is always hope, so stay positive. Your mind can be your best friend or your greatest enemy.
My favorite quote: Vulnerability is not weakness; it's our greatest measure of courage.
I don’t know how to describe the person I am today. Cancer has changed me, (only positive ways...) but I am still new at this, and getting to me again. I know I am more compassionate towards myself, than I was before.
Being more knowledgeable wouldn’t have changed the fact that I got cancer, but it would’ve probably made me find it even earlier.