Chatsworth Hospice was my light when all I saw was darkness

During our time at Chatsworth hospice we spoke to a woman who shared her amazing story of her struggle with cancer and how Chatsworth Hospice provided so much light in her life when at times all she could see was darkness.

 This is her story.

Safia Yusuf at the age of 39 was diagnosed with breast cancer (year 1993), she recalls how devastated she was when she found out. Many feelings of confusion filled her body, because not only was she the only one in the family to be diagnosed with this disease, but she also did not know what to expect. For her it felt like a death sentence was looming over her head.  It was very tough and she was very scared.

Safia then recalls when she realised something might be wrong and that she might have cancer, specifically in the breast.

“I remember one evening I was watching television and a TV advertisement came up that struck my attention about breast cancer, I did not really take note of the ad but what stuck with me were the symptoms of breast cancer and what to look out for.”

“After two days or so I remember feeling a lump developing under my breast and I immediately thought back to the ad;  I tried to ignore it, however after a week it was still there and getting bigger. That is when I became worried.” she stated.

Safia then went to the doctor the following day for a check-up and to find out if this was something serious.  When she got to the doctor, she went through numerous tests and x-rays and then he said that they would get back to her after a week. “That week was probably the longest week in my life” stated Safia. “I struggled to sleep at night and I was extremely restless, I just wanted to find out if I was okay or not”.

A week later Safia’s worst fears became a reality. The doctors confirmed that she had breast cancer in her left breast. She recalls crying her heart out because she did not understand how this had happened and why it had happened to her. It was a terrible feeling, she recalls.

She had to stay strong though, for her children and for herself. “I started my chemo treatment and it was something I found really difficult to cope with. I was supposed to go to 12 sessions but only managed to successfully complete 7;  I struggled with the pain and I just could not take it anymore.

About two years after the ordeal (1995) I was very depressed about everything that had happened and I struggled to cope with what the disease had done to me physically and emotionally.  That was when my cousin came to visit me and saw the state I was in. I was struggling to cope with it all and especially communicating with people. I bottled everything up and my cousin saw that. She then spoke to me about Chatsworth hospice and told me she will make a plan for one of the sisters to come and visit me.

A couple of days later the sister at the hospice visited me and she encouraged me to come to the hospice, so I managed to build up the courage to go and what an amazing experience it was. I was so welcomed and loved from the offset. What really made me feel good was that I was not alone, I was surrounded by patients, who like me, also had breast cancer and were experiencing the same emotions I was feeling. It was a space in which I was able to talk about how I was feeling, and it would be completely understood.  Hospice is a place where I could share my experiences and the person next to me would relate to them because they were going through the same.

20 years later and I still come to this hospice, completely grateful and appreciative of everything they have done for me. They have made a huge impact on my life, Chatsworth Hospice was truly my home away from home and I could not be more grateful for them.

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