I'm going to find a job
MAVIS*, who had abnormally large breasts, was finally discharged from the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital last Friday after undergoing a bilateral breast reduction.
The excited Mavis could not contain herself when she got home. Unfortunately none of her relatives were there to welcome her because they were still at work.
"It feels good to be home," Mavis said. "I have missed watching kids play in the streets. I missed visiting my friends and living a normal life, I feel like a different person now.
"My life is taking a new direction. I am going to look for a job and I am putting the past behind me.
"It's been hard but I have learnt that keeping quiet when help is needed won't help me.
"The hospitals had been turning me down but that never stopped me from looking for help. Its amazing how many people out there are willing to help."
Mavis said the operation had also helped improve her self-esteem.
"The operation was scary but it was worth it. Now I have a better self-image.
"The breasts were so big that I did not notice that the drugs were also affecting my stomach. Now I need to deal with that."
Mavis, who was forced to leave her job as a result of her condition, said she finally had a reason to smile.
"Its been hard for the past five years. My life was just a shambles and now I feel confident and ready to live my life the way it should be. I am ready to turn the lost five years into something positive."
The 29-year-old from Ekurhuleni was diagnosed with HIV in 2006 and developed ARV-related side effects when her breasts started to grow abnormally big in 2008.
The condition is known as lipodostrophy and is recognised through changes in fat reduction or redistribution - often in one area - leading to abnormal body shape changes.
It affected Mavis' mobility and she could not walk for two years. Prior to the latest intervention, Mavis was turned away from the Charlotte Maxeke and the Chris Hani-Baragwanath public hospitals in Johannesburg.
She was originally given a date for treatment, but this appointment was postponed more than twice because of staff shortages.
Early in June she was admitted to Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg after the Sowetan highlighted her plight.
After the report Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi ordered that she be assisted. - email@example.com
Mavis* Not her real name