I am Boitumelo Felicity Masilo, born on the 23rd November 1973, at 1666 Zone 6 extension 3 Sebokeng. I was leading a normal life, started with doing all beauty treatments from hairstyles, artificial eyelashes, manicure and pedicure. My life was full of excitement, everyday I would look forward to a day with my clients and make money for my kids. This business made me travel a lot as I would have bookings to as far as the Free State.
One day as I was taking a bath getting ready for work I felt a boil in my armpit, at which I assumed it was a small boil caused by the type of roll on I was using at the time. It felt painful so I went to the doctor, who gave me antibiotics and painkillers and advised me to change my roll on to a milder one. As the days progressed, the boil was not getting better and something strange happened I felt a lump on my right breast. I did a self- check on my breast and it really did feel like a lump.
It was the 27th April 2012. It was painful, I was confused and emotional hoping and praying that it should not be what I thought it was. Because of the holidays in that week I only managed to go to the clinic on the 2nd May 2012. At the clinic they did a check and referred me to the breast clinic at Sebokeng hospital, where I was given the 13th of July 2012 as my first appointment at the breast clinic. At that appointment I was checked and told that I would have to do a biopsy to determine if my lump was cancerous or not. I was then given painkillers and told to go for a biopsy in August 2012. After the biopsy , I did a mammogram and was given a referral letter to Helen Joseph hospital.
In September 2012 when I got to Helen Joseph I was told to do these procedures again because I believe they really wanted to be certain of the outcome that was found the first time. The wait was torture, I kept praying and asking God to guide me and make me strong for my kids. I waited approximately 3-4 months for the results and finally in January 2013 I got my results, I was positive, my worst fears were confirmed I had breast cancer. The doctor told me my cancer grows fast but does not spread fast, and he advised me to cut both my breasts to get rid of the one that has the cancer and the other as a safety measure. Then he referred me to Johannesburg General hospital to start with my chemotherapy treatment.
I got counselling before I could get chemotherapy, then I did blood tests and then the doctor referred me to the chemist that is when I started treatment for cancer. My first chemotherapy was red devil for 4months. Through that process of treatment it was not easy the after effects were too much. Vomiting nausea and moodiness were my major struggles. After 4 months the results showed that the treatment only responded on the breast only and did not respond on the underarm.
In that period my treatment was changed to texole, which was worse than red devil. My feet would be sore after every chemotherapy and I would have to stay in bed for some days. Besides sore feet my whole body would itch terribly. I couldn’t walk long distance because if I did my feet would be so sore and itchy. After 3 treatments the doctor suggested that I should go for my operation and discharged me from the texole chemotherapy. After the operation I will have to proceed with the chemotherapy.
Then I was referred to Helen Joseph to book for the operation.
Read more of Boitumelo’s story next Sunday