CanceHER: Story of a cancer warrior. PART ONE | by Cathryn Aylett | Sep, 2021

CanceHER: Story of a cancer warrior. PART ONE

My first memory of this monster is somewhere amidst the looting we experienced in July 2021. For ten days my husband and I worked shifts in various community support initiatives and our family lived in a state of chaos. I cannot remember if it was late one night or early hours of the morning, but I recall stripping off the layers I had pulled on to shield myself from the cold and in the process discovering the lump.

It was one of those classic “woman getting out of tight-fitting layers in a confined space” scenes. My vest was practically up my nose, my elbows over my head fused to my vest and my right hand grasping desperately at the remains of the latex like vest bottom that seemed to have grown into my skin. Flailing like an octopus in a sausage casing I accidently grabbed my left boob instead of the obstinate vest and the resulting scratch left me cradling what felt like deep gashes into my freezing cold flesh. Somehow, I had managed to escape the vest and was now cursing my ability to grow my nails overnight.

While making a mental note to declaw myself in the morning I scraped together the courage to examine the damage. No blood, no dramatic wound. Just a weird marble like lump below the skin. My brain seemed to short circuit at this discovery as I recall a brief feeling of terror, the irritation of having to go see another doctor and then swiftly moving on with the task of warming up and getting some much-needed sleep in the two hours I had left before my next set of tasks needed to start.

I do not remember giving this any more thought. I must have because I was worried for a time and incredibly scared, but this all took place at a time when mentally I was inclined to shift my focus to my preferred crisis which in this case conveniently was a nationwide one calling for all hands-on deck.

Yes, I was disappointed for a time that I did not act sooner but I have forgiven myself and chosen not to focus on what I could have done, but rather on what can be done. I am human, I am allowed to make mistakes and I have done what was best for me at the time.

I distracted myself by throwing everything I had into community service during the Durban Looting.

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