Joselie Biggs' story of hope
Joselie’s story started with her annual mammogram in December 2006. She was 59 years old. She had experienced no symptoms, nothing to indicate that anything was awry, no lumps or change in skin texture. She had felt slight fatigue leading up to the mammogram but nothing that would suggest anything sinister. There was a family history, both her mother and grandmother had sadly not won their battles with this dreadful disease, but up till this mammogram, she had sailed through every yearly check up with flying colours.
The gynaecologist wasn’t happy with the results of the mammogram and sent her for a sonogram. Once the results were in the dreadful news was broken. Breast Cancer. Joselie was immediately referred to a surgeon who had reviewed her scans and had one suggestion; a bilateral mastectomy. It was the only way forward, her cancer was aggressive and they had to treat it aggressively.
Her mastectomy was scheduled for the 10th of January 2007. After the operation Joselie had to endure six long months of chemotherapy. Thirty-eight radiation treatments followed. It has been nearly eight years since her last treatment; she is on daily
medication called Aromasin which is a drug used to treat breast cancer. Some breast cancers require oestrogen to grow, this drug lowers the oestrogen level and slows the growth of the cancer. Unfortunately the drug causes aches and pains but it’s something Joselie has come to accept, the alternative is not an option this inspirational woman would ever readily embrace. “I’m happy as long as I’m alive”.
During her treatment her son Gavin, her only son in Port Elizabeth at the time, was a phenomenal source of support. His words “Mom, don’t worry, I’m here” have stayed with her since her diagnosis and have been the strength she drew from when times were tough. Her children and her grandchildren have been her motivator, her reason to stay positive.
She has a few words of wisdom for those going through a similar journey. Firstly, surround yourself with positivity. Avoid negative people and surround yourself with those who “will speak life into you”. Remain positive at all times. Listen to the professionals, once you are diagnosed everyone becomes a “trained oncologist readily offering advice but every cancer is different and you need to put your trust in your Doctor”. Lastly, and most importantly, put your hand into God’s hand. “I’ve been through the University of life and come out with a Doctorate,” Joselie said.