“It was during breast cancer awareness month, October 2016, when I found a lump in my breast,” Simòne Schultz says.
“An advert on TV reminded me that I had not done a self-examination in a while, and the minute I put my hand down I felt a lump.”
Simòne was in her third trimester of pregnancy.
“I wasn't too worried. My gynae felt the same when I called the next day to let him know. A few weeks later he did a fine needle biopsy and three days later I got the call. It wasn’t good news… They had to deliver my baby a few days earlier and do another biopsy. It was not a death sentence.”
Seven days later, Simòne’s daughter, Kylie, was born. “She was absolutely perfect.”
Her stay in the maternity ward was half for baby, half for scans and tests.
“I was officially diagnosed in my hospital bed in the maternity ward and started chemotherapy when my daughter was three weeks old. It meant many nights away from her, but I accepted that I could not be everything she needed me to be at that time, and that getting better was my main priority.”
Simòne and her daughter Kylie during chemotherapy
Chemo is a scary word
“Chemotherapy is a very scary word but I got through it,” Simòne says. “The wonderful oncology nurses are angels and they guided me through my six months of treatment. I had a lumpectomy in June and have completed 33 radiation sessions. Yes, I get tired, I am tired!”
Cancer treatments combined with two children under the age of five is definitely not easy, she says, but somehow you find a way to make it work.
“My husband, family and friends have been absolutely amazing through this whole ordeal. People that I hardly knew were showing me their support, even strangers. I do allow myself to feel sad too – I cry, I get it all out and then I let it go.”
Simòne with her children, Kylie (who is turning one on 14 November 2017) and Cody (who turns five in February 2018).
Being a survivor
“I’m proud of myself for handling what I have gone through. I was the type of person that gets paranoid and thinks the worst of the slightest ache and pain. Now, dealing with cancer l realise I'm a lot stronger than I could ever have imagined. With God by my side, how could I not be?”
Simòne says she knows that she will always worry about things a little more now.
“I will have to have regular scans and check-ups; that's all part of the parcel when going through cancer. But life is carrying on at the moment and I don’t think about cancer when I wake in the mornings. I am adjusting to my new life and embracing my new normal.”
Image credits: Supplied and Cotton & Rust