Elize Truter Shares Daughter’s Journey – Cancer Stories of Hope #CANSA90
What is your daughter’s current cancer diagnosis?
How long has she been living with cancer?
Since the age of 3. She is now 14.
How does living with cancer affect her in general in her day-to-day living?
Well, even after being cancer free she still has to go for checkups. Because it is still possible for her to get cancer again because of certain treatment she was given.
A lot of side effects like learning difficulties such as Dyslexia and ADHD. Also because she was not able to go to school her basics in math an languages has not been taught well. She struggles in school and also gets sick more easily than others. Eczema is also one of the side effects from the chemo.
Is there a family history of cancer? Please elaborate if yes.
Yes, her grandmother on maternal side had Melanoma that spread and she died. Her grandfather on paternal side had testicular cancer and also died.
How have you or your loved ones been affected by her living with cancer?
It is very hard especially for siblings. Because of the treatment the siblings ‘get lost’. Her 2 older sisters had to run the household and care for their grandfather who was 89, blind and sickly. At that time they were 13 and 11. They barely saw me and their sister. Their dad worked long hours and because of the stigma associated with cancer they lost a lot of friends. Money was tight and we could sometimes not afford the basics like bread. Not even to speak about clothes and school supplies. They were left with side effects like depression, anxiety and a fealing that we did not love them.
They had to become adults at ages where they havent even gotten there periods yet. They had to watch as people brought gifts for the cancer girl and nothing for them. And through all this they had to be strong. They were broken down more than cancer broke down their sister.
But yet they grew up and became amazing women that stand tall and can handle the world and people. They help people more than ever. Have empathy and sympathy, know how to budget and they know how to stand together and fight for each other. I am proud of my girls. One is studying for a pschologist and the other as a interior designer.
How has having cancer affected you during this time of COVID-19?
It is very difficult to travel to and from appointments and only one parent allowed. It is extremely difficult to get place on a Healthnet bus so you have to fork out a lot of money to get to your appointment. Having to take a day off to go to an appointment and losing that money, spending it on petrol and food. Long hours waiting and not being able to go and necessarily be there in the room with the child. It is terrible.
What is your message to our government regarding the prevention, management and treatment of cancer?
Get involved. Raise the caretakers grants, lower the expenses or make cancer treatment free. Get the healthcare system up to date. Research new treatments. Get state hospitals like Tygerberg hospital G3 new equipmant and pay the nurses and doctors a decent salary. Get more involved talking to the parents. Get all the info and do better. Create a system where no child and family gets left behind. Where you help all poor or rich, South African or not. Stand by the siblings, help them with school fees and university or college fees. They will be the ones that will become the cancer fighters of the future.
What is your message to other people living with cancer?
God is Almighty. When you are at the lowest point in life the only way is to look up. Remember to join a cancer support group there are so many people that will understand. Never lose hope. Yell, scream, cry and then get up and fight. May God bless all of you.
Is pain a daily part of your life and how do you manage it?
I saw with my daughter and my mom how bad it was. My mom used no pain meds, but my daughter used morphine.