September 9, 2019
When the high-flying chartered accountant Saraswathi, felt a lump in her armpit during a self-examination, she was shaken but knew she had to see her doctor immediately. Having been a caregiver to her mother who passed away due to throat cancer and her sister in law who passed away due to breast cancer, Saraswathi knew the drill.
She did her scans at another hospital and clearly remembers picking up the report on her way back from work – the report that confirmed the lump was cancer. As she grappled with the news, she also knew she had to be composed before reaching home. Her mother in law had already gone through a lot while seeing her daughter suffer, so Saraswathi put forward an action-oriented approach.
When she met the doctor in the hospital she visited earlier and asked if what she had was life threatening, the response she got was a vague and philosophical one. What she was looking for was statistics and a technically strong answer which she did not get. They also proposed mastectomy as the only option. As she and her husband stepped out of the hospital, they looked at each other and concluded that she wouldn’t get treated here.
At HCG, Saraswathi met with Dr. Gopinath who after listening to her and going through all the diagnostics said a reassuring “just don’t worry”. He was certain the tumor was small and in the early stages and she would not need a mastectomy. Saraswathi had an upcoming official trip to Singapore and an annual family trip to France and the team at HCG encouraged her to take both. They readjusted her treatment in such a way that the it would not interfere with the important occasions of her life. HCG’s holistic approach also took into account the husband’s role though this period and ensured that he got the right counsel so that together they could win over cancer stronger.
“They insulate you from the illness” she says. “They reassure you to the fullest, they treat you like a mature adult and share information with you with complete transparency and they give you hope. They don’t really talk stages with you. My husband would google a lot and ask questions. My doctor asked him not to read too much because it may confuse us. Every case is different because everybody is different. I never looked up anything after this and trusted in what the doctors advised.”
Saraswathi believes that cancer is not a death sentence, but an opportunity to relook at life. She now pays more attention to eating and exercising right. She and her husband completed a trek to Kailash Manasasarovar (though she knew that radiation had affected her lungs mildly and it was not working as per its full capacity).
Saraswathi is an active member of the PinkHope Survivor group and actively provides reassurance and confidence to others in the same journey. HCG for her is an institute that truly lives by its promise of adding life to years from the minute you enter the campus. HCG for her has been her guardian angel who came together like family to help her win over cancer.