Breast Cancer Diagnosis
I consulted a doctor initially as I was feeling some tightening in my breast. He conducted some tests, and thus at a very young age, I was diagnosed with stage 2 Breast Cancer.
I was very devastated by the diagnosis as my brother had been diagnosed with malignant melanoma, and just after 12 weeks of his diagnosis, he had passed away.
Breast Cancer Treatment
Things transpired quite quickly. The doctor planned the treatment procedure; to do the Surgery first, then Chemotherapy and radiation, and then Hormone therapy. I underwent a mastectomy and then reconstruction too. Then I had six cycles of Chemotherapy and 25 Radiation therapy cycles.
The journey was devastating, but I never asked any questions. I just wanted to keep my head up and keep going. I was so tired of everything, but I was determined to get through it.
I met and mingled with some women who were diagnosed with breast cancer, and one of them, sadly died two years later. But on the other hand, some women were still doing good, so I took inspiration from women like them, and it always used to give me hope.
Hear only what you feel is right for you
I feel it's important that you decide how much you want to know about your disease and try to hear only what you feel is right for you. One of the oncologists I spoke to, told me that he was going to tell me everything about my Breast Cancer treatment. I said that I don't want to know, so don't tell me anything. I trust you, and the treatment so far has been fabulous, so you just do what you need to do.
He told me that this treatment is going to give you another 5-10 years maximum, but I didn't want to hear that because hearing something like that could take away your hope of a long life, which may not be psychologically good for you.
During my treatment, I used to meet other people and form a bond with them. I had my family's support, and I got much closer to my family at that time. It was thanks to my mother's and sister's support that I could successfully get through it all. I was blessed that I got the best treatment from one of the best hospitals in the country. I listened to music, read the bible, and my belief system helped me a lot. I used to do Yoga four times a week and go on long walks regularly.
I appreciate everything so much more now, and I am much calmer and much more relaxed. I thank God every day and don't complain, because, at the end of the day, you don't have much to complain about. You are walking, and you are talking, you are healthy; you just have to enjoy your life.
I also try to help people who are shocked by the initial diagnosis. I share my story with them and immediately see how much I lift their spirits, just by telling them how I defeated Breast Cancer through my treatment.
I have now entered my 21st year of survival. I just want to let other newly diagnosed women know that diagnosing with Breast Cancer is not the end of the world. Never lose your hope, keep going, take charge of your journey, and never give up. Always be focused on the good things that life provides you and keep following a healthy lifestyle.
The most important thing is to continue with the diet and exercise even after defeating cancer. Nutrition is essential, so be mindful of what you eat. I haven't eaten meat for 25 years, and do weight training, high-intensity cardio, Yoga and go for walks. These measures help to maintain a healthy physical and mental state. It also allows you to maintain weight which is vital to avoid recurrence.
Key points from Cath Sheridan's Healing Journey
- I was feeling some tightening in my breast, so I consulted a doctor, and at a very young age, I was diagnosed with stage 2 Breast Cancer.
- I underwent a mastectomy and then reconstruction too. Then I had six cycles of Chemotherapy and 25 cycles of Radiation therapy.
- I try to help people who are shocked by the initial diagnosis. I share my story with them and immediately see how much I uplift their spirits.
- Never lose hope, keep going, take charge of your journey and never give up. Keep focusing on the good things.