Dimple Raj (Ovarian Cancer): I had Cancer, but Cancer did not have me

Introduction: 

I am a normal girl next door. I was happy and enjoying my life when the word,’’ Cancer’’ struck me. It took me some time to digest it, although I had a family history. I lost my Mom quite early. I come from a background where my brother and sister-in-law are doctors. I have been leading a very active life. I have been working for the past 26 years. I am married with one son, who has completed his Engineering and joined L&T. It was a normal life. 

Symptoms and Diagnosis: 

I did not have any symptoms at first. I was a little uncomfortable. I was having heaviness in the right-hand side of my stomach. I realized that it was something abnormal. I was very active and during that time, I put my running on hold. I am a Marathon Runner. I decided to go for a checkup. I would advise women above 35 years to be active. Please have your Mammogram, Pap Smear and CA 125 test done at least once a year. It hardly takes 10-15 minutes. Ovarian Cancer doesn’t start with symptoms and it spreads before you know it. Timely check-ups would help. 

Treatment: 

The doctor asked me to do an abdomen scan and a blood test (CA 125). It is a report which shows the level of cancer cells. The report was not good. I did the CT scan to check if the tumor has spread or not. They removed the tumor which was more than 2 kgs. I was  advised adjuvant 3 to 6 sessions of chemotherapy.

Its experience and Side-effects: 

I had around 48 stitches. My stomach was cut into two halves. I was advised to have bed rest for 3-4 weeks. Other than that, I was okay. I managed the surgery part. Chemotherapy had taken a toll on me. One was the physical appearance. I had lost my hair and the texture of my skin. It affected me mentally and psychologically. You need to have your family members or people who spread positivity around you. This helps you to recover fast. My entire body used to ache and I did not have any appetite. Chemotherapy has different side effects on different people.  I had my husband and my son with me 24/7. I managed the pain. I was out of fear. I was able to handle and manage it. I can say “I had cancer, Cancer did not have me”. 

Mental health: 

Keep yourself busy. I am a working woman and my company supported me. My emails and messages helped me to keep myself occupied. After every session of Chemo, I would go through the pain, weakness and nausea for nearly a week.  During such periods, my bosses allowed me to take it light and resume work once I felt better. I started listening to pleasant music. Do what makes you feel good. Yoga asanas, and breathing exercises can help to recover and overcome cancer faster. It took me two months to talk about Cancer outside my family. Yoga and having positive people around me helped a lot. 

Lessons:

Keep yourself busy. Listen to your body and be proactive. Please have your regular checkups done and have positive affirmations. Be on a healthy diet. Adapt some form of exercise into your lifestyle. Make yourself active and be proactive. It can be cycling, running, or whatever you feel comfortable with. Think positive and talk to people. I had an article written within my company regarding cancer and I have shared it with over 15000 associates. Many people called me after reading the article. They took my Doctor’s number for the treatment. Some of them didn’t know how to deal with it. I felt happy helping people. I continue to try helping as much as possible. Last, but not least, keep yourself covered. This is an expensive treatment, so make sure you have your insurance.These are the lessons I learned from my journey. 

Follow-Ups Post Treatment:

I still have my regular check-ups, blood reports, and scanning done. I do this on a quarterly basis, though initially it was every month. I would also suggest even if you are healthy, once you cross an age, women are prone to have cancer. I suggest women get their cervical and ovarian cancer check-ups done regularly. I am not on any medications at present. On an average I walk 5kms a day. I keep myself active and do yoga every morning. I keep myself busy and have always been working. Thanks to the lockdown and the Work from Home culture, which was  really a blessing in disguise.  It was business as usual for me. 

Alternative and Complementary Therapies:

You are supposed to follow a strict diet with more protein and less spicy and oily food. Avoid carbohydrates. There is a chance of relapse. You are prone to grow cancer cells in your body if you put on weight. Get your weight checked, and control your diet. Be physically active. Do meet up with your Doctors, it helps you. I am completely off sweets. I had lost around 18kgs during my Surgery and have managed to put on 8 kgs. Keeping yourself active and eating right is the MANTRA to overcome the weight problem.

Life after Cancer:

 When I talk to my friends or relatives, I know that they have a soft corner for me. I am happy that they have empathy. They don’t need sympathy but love and affection. I feel like I am a better person now. Life is short. . Enjoy every moment of your life. Think as if today is the last day to live. Be good and kind to people. Once I started sharing the experience with people, I could feel their pain. Just continue saying,’’ All is well.’’ We can do it.

Helping Hand:

There is an association in California and Chennai. They treat Cancer patients cheaper and the Doctors offer their helping hand. I was working with them, and when the Cancer patients see the survivors, they are motivated to recover and get better. I have also worked with the Apollo Hospital in spreading the awareness. I also met the Staff, Doctors, and others who have helped me during the surgery to convey my gratitude and appreciation. Recently, we had cancer patient survivors day. I had collaborated with “Help Age India” and shared my experience,  fitness, food, and health related topics. 

Bucket-list:

In 2019, I did parasailing. For 2021, I could not take up Skydiving.  I propose to do it in 2022 once life returns to normalcy, globally.

Turning Point: 

You should not take life for granted. Be good, and do good. Keep your karma clean and in some form, it will come back. Those little things make the difference. Enjoy every minute of your life and make everyone happy. 

Message:

Be aware and read a lot. Please study and don’t let that fear overcome you. Stay positive and I am sure you will overcome it. 

Short description: 

This story is about Dimple Raj, a Working Professional, a Home Maker and a Fitness Freak who runs Marathon  and has fought and was cured of Ovarian Cancer. She is from a family of Doctors. A wife, a mother, an employee, and a social worker who urges cancer patients and survivors to be positive, healthy and to live in the present moment, as much as possible. She also urges women above 35 years of age to go for regular health check-ups, as Ovarian Cancer doesn’t have any symptoms at first. Cancer has not stopped her from dreaming about Skydiving, which she plans to do in 2022. Dimple had Cancer, but Cancer did not have her. She joined many associations to help cancer patients and survivors with her experience and advice. However, surrounding herself with positive people, diet, yoga, and music and having her husband and her son actively supporting and cheering her 24/7 helped her recover fast. 

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