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Unathi Lupuwana – Cancer Stories of Hope #CANSA90

What type of cancer did you have?

Cervical cancer.

What is your current cancer diagnosis?

Cancer free.

How long have you been living with that cancer?

For a little over a year.

How does living with cancer affect you in general in your day-to-day living?

Living with cancer was a rollercoaster ride I was never ready for. I’d wake up with an energetic soul, because I’m a very active person but my body just did not come to the party, I’d be drained, confused, and hot one minute and the next cold.┬áBut then again there were days when hope would be stronger than my fears caused by the pain.

Is there a family history of cancer? Please elaborate if yes.

Yes my late granny whom I never met had cancer. So did my grandfather, uncles and aunts. Cancer in my family is not a shock. As a result I always ensure they never forget about my diagnoses, so they can do screenings annually and so that they are informed about their own health.

How have you or your loved ones been affected by you living with cancer?

My family was affected because when I was sick I pushed everyone away. I just strongly wanted to deal with it alone. My healing was a spiritual thing for me, because I believe strongly that God carried me on days I just felt like not fighting – He fought for me.

How has having cancer affected you during this time of COVID-19?

Because my immune system has been through cancer I believe I need to be super careful during this time because I feel I am high risk for infection with COVID.

What is your message to our government regarding the prevention, management and treatment of cancer?

Firstly, I want to applaud the government. The public sector has the best machines ever. Patients don’t die die because of the lack of machinery and treatment facilities, so that is a big win already.┬áPrevention is not preached enough. We need to see more posters on this and health workers need to flood the rural areas to shower our people with this important information that would save so many out there.

What is your message to other people living with cancer?

It’s simple. No matter how hard it is we don’t give up fighting. We ensure we collect that WIN and we finish strong, but most of all allow feeling to take place. There’s stages of this process of feeling and one needs to be okay with feeling sad and angry as it happens .

Is pain a daily part of your life and how do you manage it?

Yes, when living with cancer pain is there on a daily basis. It just differs in extremity, but it’s always there.

I used to drink hot cannibas leaves to numb the pain and to let me sleep well at night or nap during the day.

How has CANSA supported you in your diagnosis?

In 2017 I joined the CANSA Relay For Life and there I met so many influential people that I still have contact with to this day, because when you meet like minded people it helps the healing process. After the cancer healing process is as a result of treatment, but those like minded people get you started on life again.

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