Breast Cancer Survivor
Cancer Patient Navigator
My name is Ntokozo Dludla. I'm a mother, sister, aunt and a friend. I love people.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer if I remember well it was Easter time 2008. I found a lump in my breast by accident my daughter who 11 years of age that time, bumped into my breast and she felt a lump because she was educated at school about self breast examination, she ask to feel it and said you must go for the check up bear in mind. I did not know anything about BC to be honest I was reluctant because it was not painful. I thought what does this girl know. I'm not going for any check up but at the back of my mind I became little bit worried, now I started to check it all the time.
My daughter was on my case until I went for the check up because of my age 35 the Dr said you too young to have something serious and gave me antibiotics. I relaxed because the Dr told unfortunately the lump didn't became bigger. Then I went for the second option, that's where I found out after doing a mammogram and ultrasound and receiving the results, that I have Breast Cancer (carcinoma Stage 3a).
Went for my 6 circle of chemo and lumpectomy surgery was performed after that it was radiation then they put me on Termaxofin for 8year.
To cut the story short as I was walking through this journey... I want say it was not easy. I experience so many changes in my body. Depression hit in, loss of memory, all kinds of pain, even emotional pain, but what kept me going was a will to leave and the support I got from counselor and the patient navigators that were around me that time. Some will ask why you don't mention family because there were part of my pain we forget sometimes that the family are the one who feel your pain and frustration more than you because you with them 24/7, everything you go through they go through too I'm grateful for them.
After finishing treatment, I was blessed to work for Prof. Carol Ann Benn under Breast Health foundation (Helen Joseph breast clinic as well as CMJAH for 12 years). I started as an Health educator and counseling, done my counseling course with Life Line, and I work as a Palliative care worker. Finally I was introduced to Patient Navigation by Breast Health Foundation SA Advocacy training and I received Oncology Navigation training from George Washington DC USA. I was fortunate to get training with AONN and become a member of the organization in 2018, after attending the annual conference in Dallas USA.
My journey is been interesting when I look back now I can be able to say if you stay positive any thing is possible.
As the earth moves without stopping from its axis so as you don't stop.