Cancer can be beaten, and this brave Cape Flats mom says she’s living proof of it.
October is Cancer Awareness month, and Gairoenesa Jacobs, 45, wants to inspire others
battling with this disease.
When Gairoenesa was diagnosed with lung cancer 13 years ago, her whole world crumbled.
The Bonteheuwel mom became severely depressed and landed up in Valkenberg hospital for three months. But the trauma didn’t end there.
While Gairoenesa underwent chemotherapy, the needles stuck in her left hand caused an infection, which eventually caused permanent damage.
“Today I cannot do dishes or even do my washing,” she says.
In 2003, Gairoenesa was just 32 years old, had two young children to take care of, and was not ready to hear she
suffers from Lymphoma.
“I had this deep stabbing pain in my chest for three years and doctors couldn’t tell me what was wrong,” she says.
“After numerous tests and X-rays, doctors told me it’s cancer. There was a mass on my lungs.
“I became so depressed; I couldn’t deal with the fact that I had cancer, and people began saying I am mad. Doctors diagnosed me with bipolar and schizophrenia.”
But years later, Gairoenesa is a very different person.
“In 2014, the cancer went into remission,” she explains.
She is now part of various support programmes for women suffering with cancer and disabilities.
“I attend various workshops and groups at Groote Schuur hospital for patients who have fought cancer,” she says.
“I’ve also joined APD [Association for the Physically Disabled] in Bridgetown.
“I want to tell women about my journey and I am not giving up, even though I faced death, disability and mental illness.”