A fight to survive. I conquered Cancer.
By Candice King –
I was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago which flipped my life upside down. I am a resilient person and bounced back and was given the all clear. Through this experience, I was encouraged to pursue my dream of helping people achieve their full potential – in all challenges there is insight and growth. I believe just like the lotus flower we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness and radiate into the world.
I have decided that the best way for me to create awareness and bring change to this world is becoming a life coach, life architect, a decision partner and a co-creator.
I have been on a journey of self-discovery over the last couple of years. I qualified as a Six Seconds EQ Practitioner and Assessor and then went on to become a part of the sought after Neuroleadership Institute Results Life Coaches.
A fight to survive. I conquered Cancer.
As society would have it girls should wear and like pink. As a child growing up it was not a colour I liked or enjoyed wearing. Now an adult I have softened up a little and allowed it to filter into my space. Perhaps more so since having my two girls.
Little did I know that PINK would become a part of who I now am and it is defines what I am going through…….
Cancer was the very last thing I ever expected to be diagnosed with and so I call this the Pink Effect.
My story begins before I was diagnosed. On 9th November 2014, my amazing mother took her last breath after a 7 month-long struggle with Lung Cancer.
it was a very hard time and the realization that the treatment that my mom was getting was not to cure her of this disease but to assist with its symptoms; this was the most difficult thing to accept. By the time she was properly diagnosed she had stage 4 small cell Lung cancer. One of the most aggressive cancer’s.
She was so brave and so amazing through all of it and kept us strong while she was experiencing this very scary process. Although I wish I had her to hold me tight and tell me everything is going to be alright I know she is floating away up there in heaven keeping an eye on me.
I went for my yearly gynae check-up. It was the usual visit, I got the usual breast examination but this time around I was asked to feel a lump on my left breast and was asked if that has always been there.
Nope never felt a lump there and hadn’t noticed it until my doctor had pointed it out.
He wasn’t too concerned about it but said if I felt more comfortable having it seen too then I should just check it out.
I forgot all about my check-up and focused on my very ill mother. This was the week she left us, this was the week her poor body could not take the pain any longer, this was the week my whole world as I have known it would change in more ways than I could ever imagine.
In the midst of planning my mothers memorial, I received a phone call from the doctor’s office. The receptionist had my results from my pap smear. It must have been a difficult phone call to make for her as she knew that I had just lost my mother 4 days prior.
“Mrs King your pap smear results have come back abnormal”……… the blood drained from my face, I felt dizzy, nauseous and my throat started to close up. “what do you mean abnormal?”…….. Well, I had to go in and see the doctor. I actually couldn’t believe that after everything that has happened at this present moment in my life I now had to deal with the possibility that I have something wrong. They had found pre-cancerous cell’s in my cervix.
OMG, I can’t believe what is happening.
I was in a state of panic but had to pull myself together because that weekend was my mom’s memorial and cremation. I would have to get my shit together and focus on that. I booked my cone biopsy for the 1st December 2014.
My mom’s memorial came and went in a numb blur. In the back of my mind, I knew I had to book a mammogram to have that damn lump checked out. The breast lump was the last of my worries, to be honest. The results for my cone biopsy were more important and freaking me out.
26th November 2014 I went in for a mammogram. I was told because I was only 33 years old they don’t recommend mammograms as my breast tissue is too dense so they would rather do an ultrasound. During the ultrasound, there was a lot of ‘umming’ and do you see that and over there and take a look at this. My heart started racing at these comments.
After the scan, they recommended I have a breast biopsy so they can send the cells from the lump off to the lab to rule out any cancer. I didn’t know what to think or to feel. I wanted to crumble onto the floor and just lie there and cry.
WHY WHY WHY do I have to do this now. I have just lost my mother and been through the hardest 7 months of my life.
My breast biopsy was booked on Friday 28th November 2014. I am a big baby when it comes to needles and any medical procedures. The biopsy took what seemed like forever and the noise that little needle makes when it shoots out to take the tissue sample is something I will never ever forget. Also having your breast exposed while someone pokes and prods at it does nothing for one’s dignity but it was part of the process and soon to become a non event really once you have all sorts of doctors and nurses examining your breasts.
Leaving the rooms I had fear and dread running through my veins. What if it is? What happens then? How will I get through this? OMG, I don’t know if I can do this.
I ran the colour run that same weekend with my bestie Ali. It was such fun and for those 5km I felt free.
It will be etched in my memory really as the last weekend I had without the dark looming cancer cloud hanging over me.
1 December 2014 I had my cone biopsy. I was a nervous wreck but sitting here now having gone through what I have gone through it was a walk in the park. My cone biopsy results came back with favourable results. Going forward I will need to be monitored. Shoo one less thing less to worry about.
But this was the afternoon that my life would change forever. I walked out of the hospital with a friend and made the phone call to find out if the results from the breast biopsy had been received. The phone call went something a long the lines of this “Mrs King I think it would be best for you to make an appointment to see an Oncologist” I thought I heard wrong, a what???? An Oncologist no sorry you must be wrong. “they haven’t completed the testing yet but they picked up that something isn’t right” WTF does that mean they haven’t finished testing yet. So do I or don’t I have cancer? “Sorry Mrs King but I am not an Oncologist so I wont be able to give you that information the best thing would be do make an appointment with the correct doctor so he can discuss what the results all mean”
I sat on the pavement outside the hospital not quite knowing what just happened?????!!!!!! What this doctor had just said. They hadn’t finished testing the tissue sample but they did find something but he couldn’t tell me. Did I have this right????
My friend helped me to her car as I was shaking and crying and could feel hysteria starting to rise up in my throat. So I called the doctor back. Still I didn’t get anything concrete out of him but realized that if he is suggesting I see an oncologist this must mean I have breast cancer.
The hysteria eventually took over and I cried hysterically on our drive home. My poor friend Penny’s daughter Kirsten (18 years) sitting quietly in the back of the car just taking all of this in. [Kirsten is not your usual 18-year-old, she is mature, sensitive, caring and the most incredible 18-year-old I have ever come across]
Penny called my hubby to come home and within record time he was standing in front of me listening to me telling him what happened through big sobs.
OMG, what just happened, I have cancer, OMG, OMG I HAVE CANCER!!!!!!
CANCER CANCER CANCER CANCER CANCER CANCER
I’m going to die, oh no I am going to die. I’m not ready to die. I have small children that need me. I have my whole life to live I am only 33, my sister has just lost her mother, she has no one else in the whole world, OMG I am going to die!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why me, why did I get this, what did I do wrong, I played by the book, I am fit and healthy and look after myself, I don’t smoke, I drink a little wine and eat healthy and exercise, what on earth just happened
I was hysterical, sobbing out of control, my body was shaking, my heart was racing. I couldn’t think. My poor children didn’t know what was going on but I am so grateful that Kirsten was around cause she took them to their rooms and played games with them while I was going through all of this.
I couldn’t get my head around what was going on. I had this fear running down my spine into my legs that were now jelly. I was numb, completely numb.
One of the hardest things I had to do was call my sister who was up in JHB visiting my aunt to tell her what , happened. When I say my sister is amazing I am not just saying this. We had just “buried” my mother 3 weeks ago and when I told her, her response was cool, calm and collected which I know was difficult for her. Not only had our mom died from cancer her sister was now diagnosed with cancer 3 weeks later. She flew home early so she could be with us and support the family.
The next day I called the oncology rooms to make an appointment for myself. They could only see me the following day in the afternoon. It was the very same oncology rooms we visited regularly for 7 months solid. Those 2 days of my life where the worst 2 days I have ever experienced. I was an emotional wreck, my poor husband was trying to keep it together for me and the kids but I could see he was faultering. Our kids didn’t know what was going on as all I did for 3 days was cry hysterically.
How were we going to get through this and would we survive this experience. This road ahead of us was certainly not the yellow brick road that was for sure.
I Shall Not Walk Alone
Stop and smell the roses and try not get caught up in this rat race we call life.
Remember to give thanks to whoever it is you choose to prayer/connect with. For me it’s the Creator/Universe. A friend once told me to write down 3 things everyday that you are grateful for. And so I did and when I started it, it was the big things but as I progressed it was the simple things in life that I was grateful for. For instance the beautiful sunrise I watch every morning from my bed. It’s a fantastic exercise you should try it.
Having to have an MRI scan made me scared as all hell. I now know that the scan was so important as it gave us an in-depth look into both my breasts so we knew exactly what was going on. I was so nervous that my teeth were chattering, can you actually believe how pathetic I am ha ha. Again I had to face the dreaded needle which was so painful going in. I think they must have used a hose pipe today because my goodness I felt it go up through my arm (Ok well maybe not as bad at that )
I had to lie on my stomach with my breasts hanging between the two holes like a bunch of soggy mangos he he. “Mrs King we will ONLY be an hour” I almost choked. Only an hour, ONLY AN HOUR. Are they crazy; how on earth am I going to lie still on this bed like I am for an hour. I was so lucky as they allowed my husband to sit in the room with me at the top of the machine near my head. I was handed earphones and said they would be back in the room later on in the scan to administer the “contrast dye”.
And so we started – A fight to survive. I conquered Cancer.
The noises that came out of that machine were so loud. All the different tapping noises going faster and slower and louder and softer. I felt like I was at a rave with all those sounds :). I was on that bed for what felt like the whole morning. They checked on me and said they would be in shortly to do the “contrast dye”. My saving grace was the calming voice of my husband asking every so often if I was all right and making small jokes to keep me smiling.
I heard the door open and the “contrast dye” was finally injected. “Are you ok Mrs King?” NO I WASN’T OK I WANTED THIS TO BE OVER “It will only be another 20 minutes” And ‘click’ the door was closed. Through the whole process, I had to take shallow breaths so during the quiet periods I had to take nice deep breaths otherwise I would have passed out. 20 minutes my butt. I was in that machine for another 30 minutes. I was having a sense of humour failure…..
When I finally heard the door click and their voices fill the room, I was so relieved this was over. I was helped up into a sitting position and suddenly got vertigo from lying face down for so long. Taking deep breaths they began to take the drip needle out. Well as you all know by now I don’t do needles and along with that the sight of blood makes me feel light-headed
Sooooo back to the MRI room……………..
Something went wrong when they pulled the needle out. The blood started pouring from my vein. Down onto my thigh, soaking my designer gown, down my leg and in between my toes. Oh my giddy aunt ‘WTF’ was happening. The vertigo I was feeling turned into a cold sweat. My grey face turned their calm demeanour into a slight panic telling me it’s fine I must worry they are sorting it out. When what felt like half my bodies blood had drained out of my arm was stopped it looked like I had been in a scene from Grey ‘ s Anatomy. I was offered wet wipes to clean it all up. I suppose if I walked out like that I may have scared the living day lights out of the next awaiting MRI victim
Generally, reports take 3-4 days to compile and that would take us to yet another Monday morning. And sitting and waiting around over a weekend is just the most awful thing. But because I had made friends with the ladies from the mammogram and ultrasound side I was blessed with a text at 6pm on Friday night, to give me the very best news I could ever have hoped for “Hi Candice, we are still busy with your report but we didn’t want you to worry over the weekend. The “new lump” is nothing to worry about, nothing looks suspicious. Now relax and enjoy your weekend” The feeling of relief I felt, I felt like I had been winded but in a good way. All the tension left my body. OMW I was so happy. I was all good to go for my op on the Tuesday. Lumpectomy here we come.
Around this time the Cancer Shave-a-thon was being held around the country and in support of my fellow cancer fighters, of the people who have won their fight and for people like my amazing mother darling who lost their fight, I went to have my head sprayed. Couldn’t shave it cause there was nothing to shave sadly :). My whole family joined in and sprayed their heads. I finally got to donate my hair I had cut right in the beginning and spoke to other cancer survivors that were there.
My children are so open about cancer and often say that pink is our new colour because its for breast cancer. And are always open to wearing cancer goodies or supporting in some way. Kirsten my friends daughter swam the Midmar mile in the pink drive cozzie in support of me. We went up to Midmar to support her. After the race we went to the Pink Drive stand and bought a whole lot of goodies. My kids loved the wigs.
Let’s co-create some inspiring goals, work through challenges to develop learning and insight, and journey together on this road of self-discovery.
Book with Candice on Connectable Life.
A fight to survive. I conquered Cancer.