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Christelle

Fitzell

Breast Cancer Warrior

Stage 4 Her2+

I'm sharing my story to inspire others!

24 March 2020, Felt a lump in my left breast, brushed it off as part of menstrual cycle. Fast forward to August 2020, the lump bigger and more prominent - In a panic state, I managed to get an appointment at a breast clinic in Constantia.

 

3 September 2020, everything and anything I thought I knew about myself and life, changed in minutes. Mammogram & Ultrasound was done and while waiting in the seated area I was called in for biopsy - its painful & uncomfortable and while lying there I just knew! The doctor mentioned we will have the results of biopsy the following day and dreaded words I will never forget... Im sorry but it is definitely cancer! What should have been a 30min drive home became a 90min drive, I couldn't go home- how do I deal with this, how do I tell my family... My daughter!!

 

Referred to an Oncologists, all the tests started, like a rat in a cage, CT scans, blood, scintigraphy... Ha! The CT scan revealed lesions on my liver. So besides going absolutely bonkers in small narrow spaces, the most excruciating physical pain was the liver biopsy. Results are in, Guess what Christelle - you have Stage 4 Metastatic Her2+ Breast Cancer.

 

When I asked the dreaded question what is the prognosis for advanced BC with metastasis to the liver.... 3 years! Excuse me what?! In the doctors office silent tears down my face thinking in 3 years time my 7yr old baby girl will be 10yrs old. Sitting in the parking lot sobbing and shaking... She cant not have a mom... I want to be there for the first kiss, the matric farewell, her wedding... She knows my heartbeat from the inside, I know her best, Lord she needs me!!! Little did I know, I needed her more.

 

The call to the parents - how on earth do you share such news over the phone...I remember the feeling of a 10 ton truck that came to parallell park on ny chest, I couldn't breathe... The fear of losing my daughter my life, the fear of what lies ahead,.... My mother, as mothers do, sobbing with me and sharing my fear and my father, solid as a rock with the ability to stay calm in the worst situations managed to calm me down and keep me level headed and not lose the last bit of sanity I have left.

 

I had no choice but to fight, Fight for my daughter, Fight for me, Fight the fear and Fight for a life I took for granted. 

 

2 Oct 2020 - chemo port implant, and 9 Oct 2020 my first chemo. - 10 days after that - complete hairloss - difficult time for me and my daughter - bald ugly pale human with sad eyes staring back at you in the mirror.

6 months of red-devil chemo, 3 weeks apart. The nausea, the nupogen injections in the stomach to boost white blood count... The pain, nausea, heartburn, the lack of energy, the absolute no strength to do simple tasks such as sweeping the kitchen floor...

 

Chemo worked and got the all clear in Feb 2021, happy to live life again, Cancer came to knock once again in Nov 2021 with a small growth - 18 weeks of paclitaxel chemo, - this hit me harder... Just as you start finding your new groove, Cancer comes and steals your energy, your diary, life planned on your behalf by Cancer... Here we go again... Hair thinned, no eyebrows no lashes, brittle nails... By the Grace of God I got the all clear again and now only monthly Kadcyla to keep cancer at bay.

 

Cancer - Very few people knew or know about my cancer journey, I wanted to hide from the world. There is no manual how to handle but from my experience the not so nice part is the pain, the fear, the sympathetic and pathetic stares you get from people because nothing screams cancer louder than hair loss...The ignorance of people, the gossiping, the avoidance and the thought of the moment you are in remission everything is over!? Marriages fall apart, relationships fade, the old you no longer exist. 

 

The absolute amazing part of cancer -  you learn, you respect life, you live for the small things, the moments, you laugh more, you build memories, you find love, your relationships deepen and absolute faith in God. 2 Corinthians 12.9,

"My Grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness."

 

One day at a time, Allow yourself to feel sad & broken, but dont stay there too long, so that you can pick yourself up and fight for you tomorrow... Not for anybody else, be strong for you!

Love Christelle

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