Breast Cancer (Age 36)
On 18 March 2017 I felt a lump in my breast. I immediately made an appointment on Monday for a sonar and a mammogram at the radiologist. The report confirmed that the lump could possibly be malignant. At my appointment with the surgeon, he took a biopsy and the results showed that it was cancer. My husband and I were shocked and heartbroken. It was an emotional experience because my mother had passed away from breast cancer. My grandfather, his brother and his sister also passed away from breast cancer, and my aunt and cousin also had this illness. I’ve always seen myself as a healthy person with a healthy lifestyle. I exercise often and have run the Comrades, cycle regularly and eat healthily, then at 35 I got the shocking diagnosis of breast cancer. It really was a wake-up call, it can happen to anyone and it doesn’t depend on your lifestyle. The next concern was to share the news with my 4 children without making them worry or upsetting them.
On 29 March 2017 I had a double mastectomy. My breast tissue was also tested after the mastectomy and they found cells that were turning cancerous. Two lymph nodes under my arm were also removed. I had to see the oncologist 6 weeks after the operation and in May 2017 I had to start chemotherapy. A week before my second session I had to shave my hair off because it had started falling out in clumps. It was dramatic! I have two chemo sessions left, after which extensive tests will be performed and then I have to go for follow-up appointments every 3 months. The costs involved were enormous. I had to purchase two prosthetic breasts with the accompanying bras which cost R5500 and my wig cost R4000. The costs so far, without the operation, are already in excess of R115 000.
I can honestly say with sincere gratitude that from the moment I contacted Platinum Life regarding the claiming procedure, I’ve had nothing but fantastic service. There was no uncertainty about the paperwork that they required, everything was clear and concisely explained. Platinum Life’s policy was the one that paid out the fastest. I was also contacted regularly during the process and received phone calls of concern and encouragement. What surprised me the most was the parcel that I received that was full of little gifts. Not only did it put a smile on my face, but I felt that Platinum Life was walking this road with me, a road full of care, surprises and support. The first gift box hadn’t even been forgotten when I received a gift voucher with a personal card from Platinum. When I received the voucher, I turned to my husband and told him no one had ever done this for me before. My family is incredibly supportive, but now it feels like Platinum Life is also a part of my family.
Zané le Roux
ALL Leukaemia (Age 4)
My father noticed that Zané was complaining about pain in her legs and arms (in the bone), but because I suffered from growing pains when I was younger I thought nothing of it.
I took her to a doctor on the Thursday afternoon as she had developed a fever and flu-like symptoms. The doctor prescribed medication for her as she had been diagnosed with bronchitis. The following morning, 2 hours after dropping her off at crèche, I received a phone call from her teacher. Zané had a raging fever of 40.5 degrees and after being given medication was given she was put into a cold bath to break the fever. I rushed her to her paediatrician who admitted her to the hospital where she was diagnosed with arthritis. She was discharged on the Sunday after a week of receiving treatment. Before being discharged the doctor took one last blood sample for more testing. He phoned me 4 hours after she had been discharged saying that they had detected cancer cells.
The following morning we were at Unitas Hospital to see the oncologist, who performed a bone marrow aspiration. After the aspiration was done we were called up to the oncologist’s rooms for news.
The doctor advised us that Zané had ALL leukaemia, and that we needed to start chemotherapy immediately. It felt like our lives were falling apart. I could not believe what the doctor had told us. We burst into tears and I fainted. We went back down to the oncology department immediately where they started the treatment.
She struggled in the beginning as she had never received chemo before. Her hair started to fall out from the very first drip she was given. I left it for as long as I could but whenever we touched it, it fell out. So, to show our support for her, I cut her hair, her father’s hair and grandfather’s hair and she wanted me to colour my hair pink. It was so hard for me to do this but we had no choice. We all cried and again I almost fainted; it sent shivers down my spine.
This was the most terrible, tragic news our family had received in a long time. My mother ended up in hospital as she couldn’t work through it . Zané’s father and I spoke to her about her illness as she kept asking why we always walk away and cry. She kept telling us that all will be fine and not to cry so much. Zané understands that she is very sick, but still asks when her hair will grow back, as this is all that she is worried about.
We started her chemo in full sessions and this led to us struggling to obtain the funds every week for fuel as the bill came to R1000 a week. We had to go in every day for 2 weeks for treatment.
We still have our days but when I’m emotional and she sees it, I talk to her and explain why I’m crying and then we end up crying together. We feel better afterwards and this brings us all closer to God. It brings tears to my eyes just typing this, but in the afternoons when she does not feel herself or she feels down, she calls me and asks if we can pray (this coming from a 4-year-old child) or she will beg me to take her to hospital to see the doctor. This is a very sad and emotional stage for us as a family. Zané was doing very well after the first chemo session but then she fell terribly ill towards the end of her intense chemo sessions in hospital. We were in and out of hospital constantly. She had a terrible infection and the doctors told us this was first time they had seen this, but she pulled through and is doing so much better.
With a heart that is still broken, yet screaming with joy, I am glad to announce that Zané’s J-line will be taken out on the 8thof August. She started maintenance on the 12thof July 2017. The doctors are happy with her progress and she will be receiving maintenance chemo tablets for the next 2 years.
Once I was ready for the claim from Platinum Life, I did not have any problems in being paid out. I will recommend Platinum Life to all the parents I know.
I would like to make use of this opportunity to thank everyone at Platinum Life that assisted us with arrangements of the policy. Thank you for all the beautiful goodies you have sent for Zané, as well as the Pick n Pay gift card (this will come in handy when we take Zane’son her first holiday. As she would say, “There is so much more I could say, but I would need more time!”
Cervical Cancer (Age 56)
On Monday 29 May 2017 ay around 17h50 I received a phone call that caused my whole world to fall to pieces, and I still hear the GP’s words echo in my ears, “Ma’am, I’m afraid it’s not good news, it’s cancer. I’ve already made an emergency appointment with the gynaecologist for you.” It was as though a snake had bitten me. I just threw the phone away from myself, put my hands over my eyes and started crying. The last time I had cried so much was with the death of my husband (in 2008, at the age of 46). I was floored. These are some of the worst words that a person can hear, and immediately your brain springs into action and you convince yourself that your death is imminent. I was not ready for that yet. I would like to see my 2 grandchildren grow up and there is another baby on the way in July; I cannot give up now, I have to fight for what is so wonderful and precious to me, my husband’s legacy, my 2 beautiful daughters.
I phoned both my daughters and asked them to come see me immediately, something happened that they must know about. I will never forget the shock on their faces when they heard the word “cancer”. I don’t have a history of cancer in my family, so I did not have any knowledge about this illness.
A few days after the phone call, after we all came to terms with it, my youngest daughter went through my documents and came across the Platinum Life policy and contacted them. There was a huge amount of documentation and doctor’s reports that had to be completed and sent through. Platinum Life contacted me immediately and sympathized with my illness, all while keeping the ball rolling by staying in contact with my daughter.
My life revolves around doctors, tests, the hospital and oncologists. I do not belong to a medical aid and I was very stressed about how I would pay for the treatment. I was admitted to the hospital for a colonoscopy and it was confirmed that I had stage 2 cervical cancer and that it had already spread to the uterus. Treatment was suggested as follows: 28 radiation sessions, 7 chemotherapy sessions and 3 brachytherapy treatments (internal radiation). Treatment had to commence immediately before the cancer progressed to the next stage. I got a quote from the oncologist with an amount of R180 000 for the treatment. I was floored for the second time. Then suddenly on 27 July 2017 I received a call out of the blue from Platinum Life saying that I would be paid out and that the money would be available within 24 hours. I fell to my knees there and then and gave thanks.
At my next appointment on 4 August 2017 I paid the money over to my oncologist, which came as a such a surprise to them, “Where did you get the money for the treatment Mrs Botha?!” they asked. I was in hospital for 7 days and finally on 5 September 2017 the long and painful treatment began. Platinum Life was like a bright star in a very dark night for me. I received regular e-mails and phone calls from their friendly staff. I received well wishes, accompanied by gifts, throughout the process.
Mercifully I have been saved and my cancer is currently in remission. My next appointment is on 3 April 2017 and I have faith that I will be cancer-free.
I received only the best having Platinum Life as a part of my support system. Everywhere I go I praise these people and the fantastic work that they do. They feel like family and really care about people.
A while ago I received a Pick n Pay voucher from Platinum Life and decided to give what was bestowed upon me back to the community. During my treatment I met many people, specifically children, with cancer. Beautiful children as young as 3 months, their little bodies being ravaged by something that I, as an adult, couldn’t handle at times. It was heart-breaking, they were so young and so powerless against this illness.
Thanks to Platinum Life and their generosity, I will spend my voucher on treats and toys for the young, less fortunate cancer patients, which I will deliver to the oncology centre at Nkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital.
Platinum Life, thank you so much for what you did for me and meant to me during this dark time, and most of all, what you continue to mean to me. Thank you for the sympathy, may you be blessed for many years to come in the wonderful service that you provide.
Genito-urinary Cancer (Age 53)
I would like to convey my thanks for the gift parcel that Martin received from Platinum Life. It was a lovely surprise and we both appreciated it so much after having the claim paid out, and all the concern for how your clients are doing.
On the 15thof July 2014, Martin went to casualties as he was experiencing severe pain, which we thought was being caused by a kidney stone, but to our dismay it was kidney cancer. After having his kidney and adrenal gland removed Martin continued as normal and had no issues.
In 2015 he went for a follow-up consultation and everything was clean. In 2016 when he had to go for his follow-up appointment, we found out the doctor he was seeing had committed suicide and we didn’t know here to go. In January 2017 our daughter ended up in hospital which is where we met the new urologist, Dr Sivsankar, who told Martin that he should go for his normal scan but that she wanted to take X-rays of his chest as well. She referred us immediately to the cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr Wim De Vries, who performed the operation on the 14thof March. We were under the impression that there were just 3 small growths that needed to be removed from his lung, but it turned into a 3-hour operation which we thought martin wouldn’t survive. The nurses sent my daughter Chadri and I out of the ICU because he was so weak.
It feels like the rug is being pulled out from under you when you find out your loved one has cancer. You start thinking about where you will get the funds from because your medical aid only covers a certain amount and there are so many doctors and pathologists that need to be paid. Martin was terribly shocked, he said on the 13thof March he was planning his future and on the 14thof March he was planning his funeral. It isn’t easy to make someone like that feel positive and keep it that way but thank God we managed to do it.
Thanks to Platinum Life and their excellent service and sympathy, it was possible for us to close a few gaps. Every time that Martin goes for a scan, we must pay R1500 in cash before they do the scan. I have gap cover but there is a problem whenever I want to claim. I will recommend Platinum Life to anyone because the professional service and sympathy that you receive from them cannot be put into words.
Martin is on full time chemotherapy tablets (Voltrient) that he must take twice a day. He is positive and so are we, we can’t wait for the next check-up on the 5thof September so that we can see if the cancer has shrunk. The only side-effect that he had was that his hair went grey and he has constant diarrhea.
Our family is very positive and once again I would like to say thank you to Platinum Life who made this awful experience as easy as possible, and for enquiring about how he was doing and for his gift. It is greatly appreciated.
Thank you to Leandi who followed up regularly. Martin appreciates it tremendously and always says he has never experienced such good service and tells everyone about it. We know difficult times still lie ahead but people like you make it easier. Thank you very much, we appreciate you.
Joey and Martin Venter
Breast Cancer (Age 46)
Dear Platinum Life,
Where to begin! Never could I imagine that my life would change so drastically in one year and with that bring so many challenges. I am 45 years old now and told myself that this would be the year that I would pay attention to my health because as mothers we tend to put ourselves last. I made an appointment with my family doctor and asked to have a mammogram done as well as a bone density test. Everyone always put me off having a mammogram because they say it’s so painful. I even considered cancelling the appointment in the week I was supposed to go but I never got the chance, so I ended up going.
That day will forever be etched in my mind like a nightmare! I tried to make light of the situation when I was asked, “Is there a history of breast cancer in your family?” I wanted to shout “No!”, but all that came out was a faint sound and I was advised to go for a sonar immediately to make sure. After that everything in my life changed in the blink of an eye. It was one doctor’s appointment after another, going to the hospital for a biopsy and then the news that it was cancer. I have been a healthy person all my life, and then after my first mammogram with no lump in my breast, I had cancer. The diagnosis was stage 3 multifocal differentiated invasive basal cell carcinoma.
I am a single mother to two beautiful children, a 21-year-old daughter and a 19-year-old son, and it was a big shock for them as well. They are in that phase of, “Are we still children or are we adults?”, so they still need their mother. I took them out for dinner one evening where we just chatted, and I explained everything to them and told them they could ask me anything that was bothering them. I had a total mastectomy of my right breast on 29 March 2017 and decided to have breast reconstruction done because I was still so young. My family and children have been my pillar of strength during this difficult time, especially my daughter who had to help me bath, get changed, dress my wounds and drive me to the doctor.
When I put in my claim with Platinum Life, I had no idea that I would gain another family. The staff at Platinum Life are amazing. Everything ran smoothly from the start and the claim was paid out quickly. After my first few chemo sessions I received a gift parcel filled with all sorts of goodies that a cancer patient would need. My first thought was, “How did they know that this would be the best present I could ever have received in my life?” I also want to thank Leandi Schoonees for all the concern and kindness she bestowed upon me along this road that I had to walk. Thank you for the Pick n Pay grocery voucher as well.
Taking out this policy, and upgrading it twice, was one of the best decisions I have ever made. This disease comes with many unexpected expenses and stress, which is not good for cancer patients. Platinum Life improved my life in so many ways and for that I am truly thankful. I can attest to their excellent service and will encourage people to make provision for the unexpected before it is too late.
Brain Tumour (Age 16)
Dear Platinum Life Staff,
I really do not know where to start. I want to thank Platinum Life for the support and courage provided.
I had been under a lot of stress as my daughter had been experiencing unusual attacks. We have been taking our 16-year-old daughter to psychologists since 2016, thinking that it is something related to stress. During the process she was also admitted to hospital for further investigations through blood tests, but unfortunately nothing was detected.
In February 2017, my daughter started to experience extreme seizures and was immediately taken to the GP where she was referred to a neurologist for further assessment. At the visit to the neurologist she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour. That was the worst news I could have heard. I could not maintain my composure and burst into tears after the doctor shared the news with us. It was a big shock to us because we do not have a history of this condition in the family.
Sincere thanks to my friend Jeanette Seripe who encouraged me to take the Platinum Life policy. Personally, I had a wonderful experience with Platinum Life. They called me regularly and sent us lovely gifts.
During this difficult time, Platinum Life helped us tremendously by being there for us. After informing them of the diagnosis, it was requested that we send all the necessary reports through and they kept us updated on the progress of each step. Leandi from Platinum Life has been wonderful and supportive throughout.
Platinum Life paid out an amazing amount after they received all the information and even after paying out they continue to check on how my daughter is doing. That is not all, they also sent her some wonderful and expensive gifts. I was happy to see my daughter smiling, and she asked me, “Mom how did the person know that it was my birthday, or did you tell them?”Within two weeks of my daughter receiving her gifts,Leandicalled again and we were provided with a Pick n Pay voucher to the value ofR4000. Wow! I do not know how to explain my happiness. Platinum Life is the best, I would recommend it to friends and family.
Your extraordinary care is highly appreciated.