Fighting Stage 4 Cancer When You Have Children
- Zoleka Mandela, 42, recently announced that her breast cancer has now unfortunately spread to her lungs and liver.
- The two-time breast cancer survivor, who is the granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, was enjoying life in remission with her children until her recent bone metastasis diagnosis in early August, and now has received even more bad news.
- There is a stigma with cancer that if the disease spreads at all, it can be very detrimental. However, it’s important to remember that there are multiple lines of defense in managing breast cancer that has metastasized, including participation in a clinical trial.
The two-time breast cancer survivor, who is the granddaughter of Winnie and Nelson Mandela, was celebrating life in remission until her recent bone metastasis diagnosis in early August, and now has received even more bad news.Read More
Tragically, she lost two of her other children. Baby Zenawe died in 2011 when he was born three months prematurely, and her 13-year-old daughter Zenani died in a car accident in South Africa just one year prior.
The When Hope Whispers author recently posted a photo of her and her babies, saying, “Live in the moment!” – Unknown … Peace. Passion. Positivity.”
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Zoleka’s Devastating Breast Cancer Recurrence
Zoleka announced her latest breast cancer news to her 565,000 followers on Instagram late last week.
“The CT scan has revealed cancer both in my liver and lungs,” she announced. “I am yet to receive feedback regarding my bone scan, to establish whether I have cancer beyond my ribs. I am hanging on by a thread. Thanking you all for your outpouring of love, prayer and support.”
“Peace. Passion. Positivity,” she added once again—seemingly the cancer warrior’s mantra.
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Early August in when Zoleka first heard of her bone metastasis, but hadn’t yet known about the disease spreading to her organs.
“… cancer in the bones cannot be eradicated, nor can it be cured. I have bone metastasis,” she wrote.
Breast cancer that has spread to the bone is often hormone receptor-positive. Women may think when this happens they need aggressive chemotherapy, but the first line of attack is hormone therapies, according to experts.
Hormone therapies are often combined with other medications to improve their efficacy. For example, CD4/CD6 inhibitors are a type of oral medications that are sometimes combined with hormonal therapies to help shrink breast cancers.
Traditionally, there’s a lot of stigmas that if cancer spreads at all, it can be very detrimental. However, it’s important to remember that there are multiple lines of defense in managing breast cancer that has spread to the bones, including participation in a clinical trial.
Talking to Your Kids About Cancer
Many patients say that telling their kids about cancer is the most terrifying element of the diagnosis.
“What do I tell my children? How do I tell them that this time around I may not get to live my life as a survivor? How do I tell them everything will be OK when it’s not? I’m dying … I don’t want to die,” Zoleka expressed, which is relatable for so many parents out there.
How do you keep strong for your kids when you’re simply not feeling strong?
Gina de Givenchy says she told her daughter, who was 12 at the time of her diagnosis, the day after she found out. “I really wanted her to know that I was going to be OK,” Gina told SurvivorNet. “I didn’t want her to see me weak and sickly. It is what it is, you can’t really hide it. But when it comes to your kids, I think you want to protect them.”
Needless to say, Zoleka has been through enough trauma, and we are wishing her every bit of strength as she navigates what feels right for her and her family.