I’m Janita Wessels, I’m turning 29 this year. I have a family of my own, a husband and Kemané, she’s two and a half years old.
This all started in 2008, I was in my matric year, when I felt a lump in my breast and then I just went to a GP. He said, “Let’s cut it out”, but he didn’t give any diagnosis. Then they cut it out and they said it was a fibroadenoma. So, it has something to do with hormones, I’m not sure of the exact cause of it. It didn’t seem to grow back but in 2010 it grew back, which was 2 years later. Then I went back to the GP, but he said this wasn’t normal and that I should go to a specialist and he referred me to Dr Carol Benn. She removed it again and it was exactly the same thing again, fibroadenoma. Then I left it until 2018, after my little one was born in 2016, but I felt it come back again and it was double the size of what it was the previous time. I saw her on the 4th of October, and she said we have to remove it because it did not seem normal to her. Actually, she removed it on the 4th of October, excuse me, and on the 9th of October, it was a Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock, she phoned and said, “You need to see me very soon, as soon as you can.” We arrived there, and she just said, “It’s cancer”. Then she gave me all her options; she could remove the breast, just the left one, or remove both but she couldn’t say if chemo or radiation would be needed.
Reaction to your diagnosis
I was shocked, utterly shocked. My husband was beside himself. I didn’t know how to accept this news.
Any family history of cancer?
I have absolutely no family history of cancer; not on my father’s side, not on my mother’s side, nothing. Surgery I decided to do both breasts and not just the one breast because what would be the use, as they can’t guarantee you 100% that in a year or two years that it won’t spread to the other breast.
Treatment Looking ahead, I have to use the medication.
For the next two years, every two months I have to go for a check-up at the oncologist to see if the pill is functioning the way it’s supposed to function.
What were the costs incurred?
When we had our little one, we just chose a medical aid and went with it. Then we eventually realised that we could only go to specific hospitals, just Life hospitals and where we were there was only Netcare. So, of all the hospital bills, from the reconstruction, the specialist, you name it, they only covered 70% of all the hospital bills and we were liable for 30%. Experience with Platinum Life I came across Platinum Life through Isabella Garcia, I think they are linked. They phoned me and I accepted. I phoned the specialist and said, “I have a policy for breast cancer but I’m not sure if they will pay out” and she said, “You must apply for it.” I phoned Platinum Life, they sent me an email immediately, I filled all the forms in. It wasn’t even a month when they phoned me one morning and said, “This is the amount that’s going to pay out” and told me what day it would be paid into my account. It’s incredible and the fact that you still make the effort to find out if I am okay, whether it’s going well, sending gifts, it is amazing. Pay out from Platinum Life The way we worked it out was that the total bill was R150 000 that the medical aid didn’t cover. Thank the Lord that the policy paid out so we could take that money and put it into all the expenses. I took some of the money and put a little bit away, I paid my car off and that also helped me a lot. Then all those little things that you make debt for but never have the money for I have now and for the medical expenses that I still have. Although I am registered for oncology, for many of the bills I first have to pay cash before I can claim back from the medical aid. So, I’m keeping that money aside for the next specialist that I still have to go see.
We should never say, “It won’t happen to me.” That was my mindset, that it would never happen to me, and then you get this shock that it is in fact you. I honestly think that if your mindset is right, you have a positive mindset and you have incredible support from your family and friends then nothing and no one can get you down, and with the grace of God as well.