Ronika Sirputh, who has beaten cancer.
It was in late 2016, when Ronika Sirputh noticed a ball-like object in her right breast.
Sirputh showed the growth to her friend, but they both laughed it off at the time.
“I remember my friend saying to me that I needed to have it checked out, but I never realised the importance of it at the time,” she said.
It was only in November 2016 that Sirputh decided to have it checked out. As an employee of a university, she decided to visit the radiology department, where she ended up doing an ultrasound.
The radiologist trainee said Sirputh had what looked like a build-up of dense tissue. The trainee then went on to recommend that Sirputh take the print-outs to a doctor.
It was a little after January 9, 2017, that a surgeon, Dr Deen Govender, did blood tests, a mammogram and ultrasound on Sirputh. They came back inconclusive.
She then did a biopsy and the results were to be released on January 17, 2017.
“Never did I ever imagine that January 17 would change my life forever,” she said.
Sirputh walked into the doctor’s office and was met with the dreaded words of “I am sorry my girl, you have cancer.”
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“I then broke the news to my mom and aunt who were at home. I did not cry or even show any emotion but rather asked them to give me space to deal with the news that I just heard. I did not know how to process it myself,” Sirputh said.
The youngest of three children, Sirputh was scheduled to have a lumpectomy and lump node removal surgery on January 22, 2017.
Dr Govender informed Sirputh about the success of the operation and how it did not spread and was all removed.
“I was cancer free,” said an elated Sirputh. However, this moment was short-lived.
A week after the operation, the site where the lump was removed had become infected. On January 31, 2017, the abscess burst and the size of Sirputh’s breast increased three times in size.
The 38-year old woman was rushed into an emergency operation, in which she was cut. Two days later, Sirputh was discharged.
Dr Riaz Mall revealed that Sirputh had stage 2 cancer, triple negative.
“Dr Mall explained that triple negative was a very aggressive cancer and that it can spread quickly. I then underwent treatment every three weeks for the first first months. I underwent 12 rounds of chemo in a total space of six months,” she said.
On February 22, 2017, was Sirputh’s first day of chemo and August 2, 2017, was the last day of chemo.
Sirputh also underwent an everyday treatment of six weeks of radiation treatment. The 10 minute procedure was meant to burn the affected site.
October 17, 2017 was the end of her treatment journey.
“I always say yes, cancer chose me, but it was me who chose to defeat cancer. I am not a cancer survivor, I am a thriver,” Sirputh said.