‘From denial to hope: my breast cancer battle’

Cindy Matthee went into denial when she discovered a lump in her breast.

29 May 2015
by Ruth Rehbock

The first time Cindy Matthee became aware that she might have cancer was in 2013 when she discovered a lump in her right breast but she chose to ignore the frightening sign.

“After I discovered the lump, my brain went into complete denial that I may have cancer, so I didn’t do anything until February 2014. And then I only went to see my GP because I had a burning pain in my right hand,” relates Matthee, 53, a bookkeeper from Fochville in Gauteng. “When the doctor examined me, he turned pale and asked me why I hadn’t come to see him sooner. I looked at his face and I told him I knew I had breast cancer.”

That same month her right breast and 32 glands were surgically removed, 27 of which had become cancerous. “As soon as I could be honest with myself about the disease, I was able to start the road to recovery and health. I knew I had to accept help from others and take responsibility for my body,” says Matthee.

The road to recovery

Post-surgery, Matthee relates that she was put into the hands of “a wonderful, kind oncologist” who treated her with eight chemotherapy and 25 radiation treatments. Matthee was also informed she would have to be on chemotherapy tablets for the next five years.

“After my surgery, I started to read about breast cancer and its causes and chose to avoid cane sugar and carbohydrates. I have lost 29kg since 20 February 2014 and my oncologist says he thinks I’m a wonder!” she says.

Anchors in the cancer storm

Matthee was told in May this year that she is in remission. She believes that the power of love was her greatest inspiration and anchor during her battle with cancer. “Without the care and support I got from family, friends, internet friends, and my pets, I think my will to become healthy and to enjoy life would not have been so strong,” she says. “Never underestimate the power of love.”

She is also forever indebted to the doctors and nurses who made her difficult journey so much more bearable. “I will never forget this compassion and consideration,” she says. ,

Continuing to work also helped Matthee to survive because it gave her a sense of self-worth, even when she didn’t feel well, she relates.

“During the really tough times I tried to concentrate on what made life worth living and took Albert Einstein's words as my inspiration: ‘Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere,’” she says. “I’ve learned that although science has the answer to many questions and problems we humans deal with every day, we must never be afraid to be the best we can all the time that we are alive. Although we don't have control over ‘quantity of life’, we can do a great deal about the quality of our life, despite our circumstances.”

Get examined at Clicks Clinics

Breast examinations are offered at all Clicks Clinics nationwide. Call 0860 254 257 to book an appointment or complete a booking form online

A Clicks Clinic Sister will gladly examine any breast lumps you’re concerned about and give you the advice and support that you need.

Read More: Cancer Super Section