Don’t Just Survive… THRIVE!

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My story is hard to tell and I am still at this moment finding it difficult to write.

I was around 6 months pregnant with my second baby at the age of 35 when I started having issues swallowing my food. It would always come back up. I spoke to my gynecologist about it and she indicated that it is probably acid reflux caused by the pregnancy. As another month passed, I was totally unable to swallow even small amounts of water and my baby had stopped growing. My doctor advised me that we would need to take the baby out early – she was born very tiny but healthy and well.

Four weeks after she was born, my symptoms did not subside. After lots of consultations, I was diagnosed with Esophageal cancer and the Tumor measured around 8cm. I was not a candidate for surgery due to the location and size of the tumor. I was planning for curative definitive Chemoradiation Therapy for six weeks.

Chemo was horrible. I could not taste anything for a couple of weeks and the radiation was just exhausting as a whole. I had no energy and could not eat anything. At one point, they inserted a feeding tube in my stomach. I found that it was pointless as I would still throw up everything.

My baby was so small and I was not there for her. This is my biggest regret. But, it has been 14 months since treatment ended and I have no signs of the disease in my body. All my scans and scopes have been clear and my progress has been phenomenal.

My life is pretty much back to normal and I have high hopes and dreams for a beautiful future with my two kids (now a 4-year-old boy and 1-year-old girl), my husband and my family. God is in control, and I shall not die but live to declare the works of the Lord.

I pray and hope that my story will inspire someone to live and dream and continue to hope. It is possible to still live your best life despite your diagnosis. MAKE YOUR DAYS UNDER THE SUN COUNT! Go to the ocean, watch the rainbows, enjoy every sunrise and sunset. It’s surely the best gift we have, the ability to experience this beautiful life that God has given us. You were not meant to survive, you are meant to THRIVE!!

By : Thessa Naidoo

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