This is my story
My Name is Denise Reddy, I'm 56 years old, I'm married with 2 wonderful adult kids. We live in a little town called Lenasia in Johannesburg. I'm currently on temporary disability.
My Journey started September 2019 when I suddenly fell ill with flu.... taking antibiotics, trying over the counter meds for this flu and the cough didn't stop, I coughed for almost 2 months. I was also so stressed out during this time, as my son was getting married in September and I had so many assignments for a cause that had to be submitted around the same time.
When all this was over, on the morning 29th September at 3.00am I got up with a terrible pain on my left breast. As I started to examine myself, I noticed a lump.... oh my word that was immediately a red flag! Even though I didn't want to panic at that stage, keeping calm was difficult. I got to work the next day and started to make calls asking for advice from doctors.
Eventually I got an appointment for my mammogram/sonar and a biopsy. A few days later I got my results that it was indeed an Invasive Carcinoma Breast Cancer. I was referred to Prof Carol Benn. She then advised me to do more tests... and my final diagnosis was:
Invasive Carcinoma (Her 2) Left breast
Lobular in the right breast and
Cancer in the lymph nodes.
Action had to be taken immediately because it was already in Stage 3. My lymph nodes were removed within that period and I decided on a port, because I had bad veins. This was the best decision I ever made.
This diagnosis was a huge setback in my life, as with so many plans for your life, you have to stay still and realize you are not going anywhere, you have to rest, think and accept this. I was so scared and confused, I cried out to the Lord, why me? What did I do to deserve this pain and suffering that I was going to experience. Believe me, I know the pain and suffering that cancer patients experience. My late brother succumbed to lung cancer, he battled for years with colon and rectum, eventually the lungs August 2020.
I was also so angry, thinking to myself, I tried to be good all my life, what did I do wrong to deserve this. I said to people.... well I'm going to die anyway. I honestly thought that it was the end of the road.
Why not me, what is so special about me that I had to be excluded from this? Then I said... maybe this is a test to see how strong I am. This is when I thought I'm going to ride that chemo wave. I'm going to take it one day at a time , it's only a short hurdle. Cancer chose me because I had to show people how we can beat and crush this cancer underneath your feet!
My greatest support system - my kids, family members and close friends came to offer their assistance with meals, love and support. Sometimes just a phone call from someone can lift your spirits. We knew that we are all in this together.
With all the challenging days and nights, they were by my side: through the Bringing upsetting sickness, food, meds, fatigue and dizziness, joint aches and pains not forgetting the occasional seizures. I was referred to Prof Rapaport who then started chemo, then radiation, not forgetting a double mastectomy silicone implants.
All this treatment took almost two years before my life came to a complete halt... I still continued to focus on God in every situation no matter how difficult it was. I keep on rising!
To all my fellow warrior, survivors, travers and soldiers...
I never knew that was such a long and difficult road
You can do it
To fight to stay alive is your job
You have to force yourself to get up
Nobody needs to go through this alone
There are support groups
Sometimes we have to slow down and rest from our hectic lives and have more self love.
I now embrace my new identity... I look different (my husband and I use to joke about our bold heads, and we looked like someone that walked out of a horror movie). I walk differently now. In all honesty, I feel like a whole different person, I feel my personality has changed. I decided to surround myself with positive people, people that will up lift me daily.
I thank God for his grace and mercy every day for taking me out of this situation into a bran new life.
HE IS NEVER EARLY
BUT ALWAYS ON TIME
Never feels normal for me to participate in introductions, let alone describing my journey over the past 20 months, but I hope that my story will help inspire others out there to NEVER GIVE UP!