I am Deidré Serfontein, I’m 36 years old, I’m a travel consultant and I do business travel most of the time. I have a beautiful 4-year-old daughter and we’ve lived in Johannesburg for 5 years now.
Whenever I tell the story I always say a Pap smear saved my life. I went for a routine Pap smear at my gynaecologist, he did the test and called me back and said there seems to be something wrong, so he wanted to do another test. It was a biopsy, so I would have to go to the hospital. He did the biopsy in September 2017; the test came back positive and he told me what was wrong.
REACTION TO DIAGNOSIS
When you hear the “Big C” word it feels as though your world is going to end. I cried on my way home, I didn’t know what to do. I told my husband, “I don’t know what to make of this”, it was heart wrenching. I thought, “Why me?”. I have a young daughter. How can this happen to me?” I listened to what the doctors said, I did what they said, stayed positive because everyone says you must stay positive, but it’s very difficult.
My doctor referred me to Dr Smith, who scheduled an operation, a hysterectomy. She told me that when they do the operation they would check if they would leave my ovaries. It was scheduled for the end of October. I went in, the operation was done, and I was very emotional after that. I was sent for some counselling while I was in hospital. I was in hospital for 5 days and when I was released it was the big recovery process.
I had to see the doctor again 6 weeks after my operation. She explained what was done and that they were able to remove everything, so I didn’t have to go for radiation. They just gave me a few pills to help me and then I had to go for the vaccination. I’ve already had two vaccinations and I must go again. It’s a vaccination for women and even girls from the age of 9 can go for it, it’s to prevent cervical cancer. I had to get my first one 3 months after the operation. It’s very expensive and the medical aid didn’t pay for it. I got the second one a month ago which was two months after the first, and in two months from now I must go again. The third one is the last one and then I must see the doctor in June, I must go to the gynaecologist again. She told me I have to come back 6 months after June because I have go for a follow-up every 6 months until she tells me I only have to come once a year.