I am a wife, a mom, a TWO-times cancer survivor! I am Lizelle Knott.
On 29 January 2014, at the age of 33, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in my right breast. My little boy was only 14 months old at the time.
At first, when I contacted my GP about a lump in my breast she was not concerned. I had had a few surgeries to remove lumps before and the results had all, thankfully, been clear.
I was sent for an ultrasound of my right breast which showed something worrying. The radiologist was concerned and decided I needed to go for a mammogram urgently. The mammogram showed nothing. The radiologist then decided to do a needle biopsy into the lump using an ultrasound for guidance.
The needle biopsy results confirmed his suspicions. The lump was malignant.
On 13 February 2014 I underwent a unilateral mastectomy and immediate reconstruction to my right breast. At the time we hoped that the surgery would get all the cancer but unfortunately it had spread to my lymph nodes and I would need Chemo. The doctors also felt that since I was under the age of 40 the chemo was a vital step in ensuring that the cancer does not reoccur at a later stage.
I was devastated. This would be the 2nd time that I’d need to go through chemo.
In 1996 I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins B-Cell Lymphoma at the age of 16, 14 months after my dad was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver outside Uitenhage. I underwent surgery, radiation and 10 rounds of chemo. I was in Std. 9 (Grade 11) at the time. I also lost all my hair and spent 9 months of the year wearing a wig.
On 16 April 2014 I had my first of six TC chemo’s for Breast Cancer. My last chemo was on 31 July 2014.
I was so lucky to read about Cold Caps on the internet before starting chemo and my husband and I decided to give them a try. Thanks to the -32 degree cold caps freezing my head I managed to save most of my hair and didn’t look like the typical chemo patient!
I’ve been trying to get the story about my cancer and the use of cold caps told to as many people as possible. Both Longevity Magazine and Your Family did articles on this.
I am currently taking Tamoxifen and will be completing two years of treatment in August. My body will then be given a short break before we start with fertility treatment. We were extremely fortunate to have my plastic surgeon recommend freezing a few embryos in order for us to have a 2nd child. Fingers crossed all goes according to plan and we’re blessed with another beautiful baby in 2017.
In February this year I decided to enter the Mrs South Africa pageant. I believed that the competition would give me the opportunity to be a role model to others! I want to inspire people. I want someone, going through a similar journey as I did to look at me and say “Because of you I didn’t give up”. I want to encourage woman who have been diagnosed with cancer to realise that regardless of the scars, or the hair loss or how sick they may feel, they are still beautiful. They’re still a woman, a wife, a mother. And they can do anything they put their minds to.