25 Jan, 2022
I was just 42 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My life was brought to a screeching halt. While cancer attacked my body, negative thoughts attacked my mind. One moment I felt hopeful, and the next moment everything was dark, and I felt helpless.
During times like these, people around you play a pivotal role in your life. In my case, there were many among my family and friends who did everything they could – to help me overcome the fear of treatment and my life after cancer. But there were also people, who occasionally scared me out of my wits saying things like “cancer is the end of life”, reminding me of my unmarried daughters, etc.
My kids, who were always around, helped me brush off all my negative thoughts and encouraged me to narrow my focus on what really mattered.
Now, is cancer the end of life? The answer is no. With early diagnosis and right medical intervention, cancer is treatable.
Awareness, too, is one of the most crucial weapons you’ll need when you are fighting cancer. The more aware you are, the more confident you are in beating cancer and emerging a cancer winner.
Of the many challenges my life has thrown at me, my breast cancer diagnosis still remains the most taxing one. When the caretaker of the home falls sick, everything goes haywire, and that is exactly what happened in my case – at least in the beginning.
It was in April 2018, I learnt about my breast cancer diagnosis. Initially, it was a small tumour. Upon biopsy, the doctor confirmed that it was cancer, indeed.
The doctor advised that I immediately travel to Kolkata for a surgery to remove the tumour – which I did without wasting any time.
After my surgery, I was referred to HCG Abdur Razzaque Ansari Cancer Hospital, Ranchi for further treatment, which involved chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
I found the specialists and nursing staff at HCG to be extremely kind and understanding. During every session, they made sure I felt comfortable. My progress was discussed regularly, which helped me learn how my treatment was working. With cancer, it is always one step at a time, and these regular updates on the treatment progress show you where you stand and how much more to go.
The temporary after-effects from chemotherapy did drain me a little. I started experiencing loss of appetite, hair fall and darkness of skin. Nevertheless, the fact that my treatment was working, kept me going throughout the treatment.
As I was undergoing my cancer treatment and coping with the after-effects, there were other things like the upcoming marriage of my elder daughter, my 2nd daughter’s health problems, etc., that I had to look into. In between all these, the last thing I wanted to be was a helpless person who cannot take care of herself or be a part of her children’s lives.
As days passed, I became more and more courageous. I knew my treatment was working. I knew all these would not last long, and most importantly, I knew my cancer was beatable.
During the treatment, I did something I had ignored for years – taking care of myself. I started practising mindful eating, yoga and exercising, which positively impacted my recovery during and after the treatment.
Today, I am leading a cancer-free, normal life. I have learnt the importance of self-care. Even in the case of breast cancer, a simple self-examination is enough to catch cancer in its early stage. Early detection is proven to be the key to a promising outcome as well.
If you still haven’t started self-examining your breasts, now is a good time – because ignoring your health could be the costliest mistake you’ll ever make.