"I always wonder how do I start off my story and put it on paper.

Piliswa Mazikwana is my name, born 29 years ago and on the 30th of September this year, I will be turning 30. I am remission of breast cancer for five years.

My breast cancer journey started in 2013 August as I was working in theatre in one of the provincial hospital in Cape Town, just from doing a self-examination, not because I experienced any sickness or symptoms. I usually say God spoke to me to just check my breasts. I felt a lump on my right breast after that examination. I asked a close doctor friend to also have a look as she was a head surgeon and specialized in breast procedures."

"On the 12th of September 2013, I went for my procedure doing a total mastectomy (removal of my whole right breast) at just 24 years of age and just a few days before my 25th birthday. I did the procedure through one of the private hospitals in Cape Town and by the best surgeons. In the October I started my chemotherapy treatment and during the treatment. I lost my hair, lost my nails, my skin became darker and my feet pained. I felt nauseous but I never thought of giving up so soon, just as I started the chemotherapy my expander on my right breast started leaking and the doctors said I had to have the expander removed as soon as possible. I remember that day so well with the many others I sat at the back of the taxi crying as I went to a place I call home: the nurse's home. The following day I had to be in theatre and the expander was removed. I did know that it meant I had to stay without one breast, thinking after the whole chemotherapy I will have my reconstruction in 2014. I waited for 4 years before deciding to have the reconstruction. I had the resources of choosing to do it before but I felt it wasn't time until 4th July 2017. After chemotherapy, from early 2014 , I had the radiotherapy treatment done where I had it for 6 weeks, every day from Mondays to Thursdays.

The difficult parts of my journey was that I walked it alone with no family members around as I'm originally from the Eastern Cape. My journey never seemed to make me believe to “grow up faster” and think of positive energy all the time.

I welcomed the challenge as a young adult but I never let the unwanted visitor to stay for too long - I told it straight: “You are a visitor and you will be out of my life.”

5 years later I'm glowing and happy."

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