My Encounter with the Big ‘C’

25 Jan, 2022

There are two ways to deal with a cancer diagnosis. One way is to let your fear and negative thoughts take over, which may possibly lead to a miserable cancer journey. The other way is to be positive and practical about diagnosis and face it with a smile. The second approach helps you review your goals and priorities and most importantly, focus on what really matters.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my warrior mode was switched on. I did not let it have an upper hand on me, and guess what? I won over it. People call me a cancer winner today.

Diagnosis with Stage 1 Breast Cancer

One of my dear friend’s wife was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer sometime around August 2018. I was shocked to hear this, as she didnt have any signs or symptoms that pointed towards cancer. And, this was when I decided to get the much-advised mammography done.

At one of the screening centres in Mumbai, I underwent mammography. To my disbelief, the doctor detected an anomaly in my reports and advised for further investigation. Later, I underwent a biopsy, which wasn’t very helpful either. After all this, I decided to travel to Ahmedabad to meet an oncologist; my family lived in Ahmedabad, which made it a little easy for me to deal with the diagnosis and all the confusion around it. 

I was fortunate to consult Dr D G Vijay at HCG Cancer Centre, Ahmedabad. He confirmed that there was a 1 cm tumour in my right breast. However, we did not know whether or not it was a malignant one.

Dealing with the Malignant Tumour

After carefully going through my reports, Dr Vijay advised for a surgery to remove the tumour, which I decided to undergo immediately. The surgery went off well, and I returned to Mumbai.

A week later, I got a message from the hospital saying that my tumour was a malignant one. My next thought was – “Could it have spread anywhere else?”.

There was another surgery scheduled, during which some of my lymph nodes were removed and sent for a test. Perhaps, this was one time throughout my cancer journey, I was actually scared. However, luck was on my side; the lymph node reports came back negative.

Heaving a huge sigh of relief, I packed my bags to leave for Mumbai.

Back in Mumbai: New Job and Radiation Therapy 

After I returned to Mumbai, I took up a new job. Initially, the whole thing was a little overwhelming, as I had to go for my radiotherapy sessions in the early mornings and then go to work.

I underwent radiation therapy at HCG Cancer Centre, Borivali under Dr Upasna Saxena, who is an amazing doctor. We got along fabulously, and our interactions made my hospital visits so much more bearable.

The radiation department at this hospital is very well maintained, and staff members are kind and compassionate. There were days when I was a grouch and possibly the most hated patient at the centre, but the staff members were nice enough to put up with my crazy moods and ensure that I was comfortable throughout the treatment.

Being a Powerhouse of Optimism

New job, early morning treatment schedules, minor side effects from the treatment, etc. - yes, a lot happened in a short span of time. But, did that stop me from living my life to the fullest and dreaming about the future? Absolutely not.

My radiation treatment gave me burns and general weakness – but I considered them to be the tiny bumps on my road to complete recovery. I even had the last date of my radiation treatment marked on the calendar and focused only on the countdown to that magical date. At that time, nothing else mattered more than my recovery and the beautiful life that I would be having after that.

Final Thoughts

So, that’s my story.

At times, life can be unpredictable, and you could get struck by something as unpleasant as cancer. However, this shouldn’t stop you from leading your life to the fullest.

I believe it all comes down to the choice you make - you can either become a victim or pick yourself up and become a winner. In my case, from the beginning, I did what was right for me and my condition. I did not allow anything to stand in the way of my happiness or even my routine.

Someday, when I pen down my memoirs, the cancer I fought would just be nothing more than a chapter in my large kaleidoscope of experiences.

HCG’s Words: Ms Bela’s overall approach towards cancer and her unbending will to have the best life after it were commendable.

Having a positive outlook is not just good for your mind; it is good for your body too. Studies have shown that stress could have a direct impact on cancer management. HCG strongly recommends that anyone fighting cancer should take a page from Ms Bela’s book on positivity and do what it takes to win over cancer.

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