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At 28 years old, wife and mother of a 3 year old girl, the last thing I expected the lump under my arm to be was cancer. I went to see a doctor and the initial diagnosis was excess breast tissue. After a month of pain, and the lump getting bigger I decided to get a second opinion. I was immediately sent for a sonar. This lead to an appointment with the surgeon a few hours later. A biopsy was done and unfortunately the results came back as positive for cancer.

This lead to a series of tests - including mammograms, CT scan, MRI, PET CT scan, more sonars and another biopsy of the breast. Eventually Stage 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer was diagnosed. A week later I was scheduled for a mastectomy of my right breast. Three weeks later I started with my 12 sessions of chemotherapy. Four sessions of AC and 8 Taxil. I finished chemo on the 12th of February 2015. Four weeks later I started my first session of Radiation. On the 7th of May, and 33 session complete, I was finally done with all my treatment.

This has been a scary journey, and as tough as losing my breast and my hair has been, I know I am stronger for it. I have had an amazing support team who have been there for me the entire way. My husband is my best supporter and has been my shoulder to lean on all the way.

I know that there is still a long journey ahead before I get the all-clear, but for now I am just grateful to be where I am.

Melissa Willemse
Centurion, South Africa

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