Cancer will not take me out. I will take cancer out, says Cape Town mom diagnosed with cancer after 14 years in remission

Felecia Lever from Muizenberg has refused to let cancer get her down. Picture: Supplied

Felecia Lever from Muizenberg has refused to let cancer get her down. Picture: Supplied

Published Oct 19, 2023


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and IOL has spoken to a warrior woman from Cape Town who is currently going through this journey for the second time around.

Felecia Lever, 45, from Muizenberg, is the epitome of strength and positivity.

The mother of two was in remission for 14 years before she heard those fateful words: “the cancer is back”.

“I was 30 years old when I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. It was terrifying. I was living on my own. I wasn’t married, but the support of my late parents was everything. They stood by me, and I fought it. I was told my immune system was low and I would not be able to have children. I had five miscarriages due to my low immune system,” Lever said.

Felecia Lever from Muizenberg earlier this weekend during treatment. Picture: Supplied

At the time, she had to endure seven months of chemotherapy, she had a one-month break, and then six weeks of radiation.

Today, she is married; her son is 11 years old, and her daughter is three.

“I had a tough time the first time. I was so happy when I beat it. But, on October 20, 2022, 14 years to the day I was told the cancer is back.

“I felt depressed. I felt like, 'God, why is it happening to me again?’ Why, God, why? After speaking to my oncologist from Vincent Palotti Hospital (the same oncologist I had 14 years ago), he told me cancer was not a death sentence. He told me I am a survivor; I am a fighter. I conquered it, and I am a warrior,” Lever explained.

Felecia Lever from Muizenberg has refused to let cancer get her down. Picture: Supplied

This gave her motivation to fight, and her husband and children are the steam behind her pushing to fight as hard as she can.

Lever lost her mother on February 14, 2021, due to cancer.

“I believe I am going to walk my son down the aisle one day. I am going to see my grandchildren. I refuse to give up. I cannot not. I refuse to quit, and I refuse to have this cancer take my life. I strive to live a healthy and wonderful life again, and I will.

“Cancer will not take me out. I will take cancer out,” Lever told IOL.

The mother of two who works at Grassy Park SAPS said they currently have seven members at the station diagnosed with cancer.

While she has been attending to her treatments as she should, she has since lost a significant amount of weight. But she plans on living her life “thankful and grateful” each day.

In 2008, she had a lumpectomy on her left breast, where the cancer was spotted.

A lumpectomy is a type of breast cancer surgery in which the tumour and a small amount of surrounding tissue called the margin are removed.

However, when the cancer came back, it returned to nearly the same spot, and Lever made a big decision.

“I had to remove both of my breasts to be safe. Losing both breasts as a woman, I felt less of a woman. In November 2022, I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror.

“On May 3, 2023, I had my breast reconstructed. After the operation, it was the first time I looked at myself, and I felt beautiful. I looked good and felt great.

“I stopped swimming in November because I was so conscious after my surgery.

“Earlier this month, I bought myself a new swimming costume, and I went swimming in a pool. It felt so good,” she said with pride.

Lever also told IOL she received some good news earlier this week.

“On Monday, I went for my scans, and the doctors told me my body was clear. There is no cancer. God came through for me again. I will still be on treatment for five years,” she said.

Lever said she still has dreams and will continue to dream.

“I am still dreaming. I still have many things to do, and I am going to do them with my family.

“I am going to celebrate my life now that I am alive and not while I am dead,” she told IOL.