Chantelle Prince Brave & Beautiful Ambassador
- Breast Cancer
Photographer: Sean Baker Photography, Sean Baker
Make-up and stylist: Nixon Make -up, Volenti Maine-Baillie
Fashion Designer: Kathrin Kidger Designs, Kathrin Kidger
Venue: Royal Natal Yacht Club, Carol Ferguson and Margie Harris
One Saturday afternoon I was lying on the couch watching a move when my hand landed on my right breast and felt a lump that I hadn’t noticed before. I made an appointment to have it checked out immediately, due to my age they denied a Mamo-gram so I only received an Ultra-Sound Scan and the Doctor said “It was just a Fibroma, nothing to worry about!” Luckily it didn’t sit well with me, so I followed my gut instinct and persevered the investigation further. I went to another Doctor whom said I needed a Biopsy done, but my Medical Aid weren’t very helpful with Authorisation for this. Then being at the Right Place at the Right Time, I came across Dr Pramod Reddy of The Surgical Screening Clinic, he gave me a Consultation, Ultra-Sound Scan & Biopsy all within an hour! Unfortunately I wasn’t prepared for the news that followed. Nothing can quite prepare you for: You have Breast Cancer!
Upon receiving the news on a Monday afternoon at 4:30pm my whole body was trembling, unlike I’ve ever known myself to do before. My whole World as I knew was now never going to be the same again! My “normal life” was now gone.
The biggest question was where did it come from, as it doesn’t run in my family genes nor was it hormonal.
It took me 5 weeks to finally be diagnosed which was an extremely stressful time in my life, during this time I could feel it growing along with my worry for it! Hence it was an Aggressive/Invasive type of Cancer.
After accepting the Cancer Card that I had been dealt, I decided to be “Positive”, and go with the journey, and I visualized myself being “Healed” and all I had to do was to make it through the next 12 months. I received a lot of support from existing friends & family but I have made a lot of new & supportive friends along the way. A lot of people prayed for me from far & wide. I researched a lot of information about the Disease and Diet/Lifestyle (as Cancer can only thrive in an Acidic environment).
I started my Treatment straight away, so I went for a CT scan, Mamo-gram & Bone Density Scan, had my port inserted in theatre and completed 4 x Chemotherapy cycles of the good – old: Red Devil! Which was administered every 3 weeks. I wouldn’t wish the red devil on my worst enemy, that’s how nasty it is, but alas you have to get sick in order to get better!
After I healed from the lowest point of my life, I prepared myself for the Surgery. I had several meetings with my Diagnosing Doctor and a Plastic Surgeon and finally it was time to remove the Tumor, along with the Breast Tissue, Nipple & 3 Lymph nodes from my underarm. The Plastic Surgeon had advised that she was going to perform a “moon scar” and not the classic “Nike tick scar”. This proved to be very effective. Whilst in hospital recovering the sale of my business went through, so after 3 ½ years of growing my empire I decided to let it go so I could focus on my year of healing. The report came back after the surgery with the Lymph nodes being clear which was the BEST news I could ever imagine. The tumor was 6cm in size and the Chemotherapy had shrunk it down to 3cm.
With 2 Stages down, I now had to complete more Chemotherapy (a milder version for pre cautionary measures) for the next 12 weeks (weekly administered). Along with this is weekly Blood Tests as your immunity really takes a dip. I wanted to prove that I could still run a “normal life” whilst on Chemotherapy so I embarked on several challenges to prove this. On one occasion after chemo, I took a flight to JHB for Training for my new Job as a Business Broker, on another occasion after chemo, I did an International Practical Exam for a Spa Therapy Course that I was studying and in general tried to maintain my busy life to keep my mind off the sad state that chemo puts your body into.
I embarked on several Fundraisers that friends helped me put together, so we had 2 x Pamper Parties at my mom’s beauty school, a 5km Walk/Run with over 365 attended, had a Mystery Envelope Auction Evening, I attended various Breast Cancer Events (especially during the month of October), I was on East Coast Radio, I was on the cover of the Mums Mail, in the Sunday Tribune, was in various Newspapers promoting the 5km Walk/Run and my story went viral all over Facebook! To date I have raised over R56 000.00 which is for my second surgery to put an implant in my “un-diseased breast”.
In February 2016, I will complete my 4th Stage of Treatment being Radiation, which will be every day for 5 weeks, and will then have a 10 week break, after which will then be my second surgery to remove the reconstruction bag and replace with an implant and that will mark my completion of the 12 month journey of recovery!
Breast Cancer is not a Death Sentence, but more an opportunity to reevaluate your Life and your priorities. Family is definitely high up on my list now, I enjoy my 2 boys much more (Trent aged 4 often whispers into my ear: Kick Cancer’s Ass! Whilst Rogan aged 7 will wipe my tears and offer me comfort in times of need). My mom & my husband have been amazing, through all my ups & my downs.
# Smell the Roses (don’t count the Thorns)...
I am enjoying my Life now and don’t miss the Pre-Cancer Life
I give back more and offer advise/assistance to anyone going down this journey
And I give gratitude and have faith in our Heavenly Father.