East London-born writer and columnist Kazeka Kuse shared her journey on living with stage three breast cancer, at Luthari Health Centre in Mdantsane on Saturday.
The visit formed part of her “Back to Roots” tour which is dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer while also re-launching her book, Brave Heart with Red Lipstick.
The book reflects Kuse’s journey since her cancer diagnosis after finding a lump in her right breast in 2016.
“When I was diagnosed with the disease, I was told I had to have a mastectomy. I was in denial because I wasn’t ready for removing this part of my body,” said Kuse.
“As a self-confessed feminist, I used to believe that a breast is just a breast. But once I lost my breast, I knew that consciousness came from a place of inexperience. I really felt less of a woman. I felt deeply isolated and lonely.”
Kuse explained the inspiration behind the title of the book.
“On the day of my operation, I was instructed to wear nothing but the hospital gown, but instead, I applied the brightest red lipstick I could find in my bag. It became the joke of the ward. An anaesthetist at the hospital would come in every morning and say: ‘Hello brave heart, did you sleep with red lipstick on?’”
Kuse’s mother died three weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer. also suffered from lung cancer and died three weeks after being diagnosed.
“I had watched the disease take my mother, so being diagnosed with cancer spoke to a fear of death. It was a horrific, confusing and nerve-racking time.
“Cancer for me is spiritual warfare. You have to take a mess and turn in it into a message, and a test into a testimony.”
Kuse advised those who have cancer are suffering with the disease to take their medication. ,as it won’t be an easy journey.
“Cancer knows no race, age and religion. It just doesn’t discriminate. People must follow the medical procedures, and build a good relationship with their doctors, as they know what they are doing.”