Chantel Memziwe – Cancer Stories of Hope #CANSA90
What is your current cancer diagnosis?
Currently in remission for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma stage 3 for the second time.
How long have you been living with that cancer?
I was first diagnosed in 2017 with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma stage 4.
How does living with cancer affect you in general in your day-to-day living?
Since my journey with cancer, I’ve learned to appreciate every day that I get to open my eyes is a blessing.
I started running in 2003. On and off. I’m a runner, as a runner, you develop mental strength. Also I didn’t know how strong I was until, being strong was the only choice.
Initially I used to think, God why me? Then I realized, why not me? God has His reasons for everything. The term ‘everything happens for a reason’ is no cliche. During your darkest hours you can still be blessed.
Is there a family history of cancer? Please elaborate if yes.
How have you or your loved ones been affected by you living with cancer?
Going through this journey, I’ve become a stronger person. I’ve learnt to fight. Yes it’s not an easy journey. I am currently 6 months post bone marrow transplant, since 26 January 2021. My older sister was a 100% match. It’s not easy on the family. It’s hard on them. My family has been super supportive.
How has having cancer affected you during this time of COVID-19?
I never allowed COVID-19 to keep me down. Since the first lockdown, I started running around my house in circles. The most I’ve run in my yard is 21km .
What is your message to our government regarding the prevention, management and treatment of cancer?
Awareness is key. When I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma stage 4 in January 2017, I had no idea what is was. I never knew so many different types of cancer existed. I only knew about breast, childhood and prostate cancer.
What is your message to other people living with cancer?
A cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence. Although, it feels like it. With a positive mindset you can overcome anything. We can turn out trials and tribulations into testimonials.
Find that thing that sets you alight. Take it one day at a time. God is in control. He has His reasons for everything.
Is pain a daily part of your life and how do you manage it?
I am currently not suffering from pain. Some side effects of chemotherapy, before the bone marrow transplant. Numbness of the finger tips. Hoping it will go away eventually. Going through chemotherapy there was lots of pain, I ran right through it, sweat some of it out too. It helped a lot.
How has CANSA supported you in your diagnosis?
I am a member of the CANSA Survivors – Champions of Hope Facebook support group.