My dad went through cancer in 1992, my sister was diagnosed with cancer in 1994, and I found the lump in 1996. I thought that if two people from a family had got cancer, then what are the chances of me getting it, because three people in a family cannot have cancer in just six years.
Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Twenty-five years ago, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at the age of 29. I was breastfeeding my daughter when I saw a small lump in my breast. I thought it was because of breastfeeding, and I did not give much attention to it.
When I was having a bath, I saw that the lump looked a little different, so I consulted the doctor, and I was diagnosed with stage 3 Breast Cancer. It was shocking, and there was a question of why me, but that was for a short duration of time. I had two children, one was eleven years old, and another was four years old, so I had more determination to overcome Breast Cancer rather than give up. I wanted to survive because I didn't have any other option.
Breast Cancer Treatment
I underwent a radical mastectomy followed by Chemotherapy. I lost my hair, the body's symmetry was lost, I had a backache, and there was a problem with teeth also. I went through many side effects, but my focus was on coming out of it and being there with my children.
The lowest point in this journey came when I lost my sister to cancer. She was in the last stage of cancer when I was diagnosed with cancer. It was a very harsh blow for me. My parents were severely affected by my sister's demise, and I did not want them to go through that again. I knew that if they lose two daughters to the same illness in a short span, then that would be unbearable for them.
I wanted to be there for my children and parents. I had also lost my mother to cancer in 2006. Having been a caregiver, I feel that caregiving is challenging. There is a series of emotions, such as anger and frustration that you may lose your loved one. This journey is emotionally very draining for the caregivers too.
Our whole family was in a big dilemma. My parents were very much hurt by my sister's diagnosis and the way she passed away. My dad also got diagnosed with cancer, and it was financially a hole in the pocket. My brother and sister were too young, and they were also very much affected by this. My child had special needs, and all of a sudden, there was a lot of chaos. It was too much to handle for all of us.
I started going to the counselor. I sought professional help because I didn't want to damage whatever good memories I wanted to create. I got dependent on the counselor's guidance so that I don't mess things up. Going to counseling has given me a new perception of my life too.
I spent a lot of time with my children. My daughter is a special child, and she looks at things in a very simple way. Children bring a lot of positivity to me. I started reaching out to people and talking to people. I also started writing about how I feel, and in the end, I used to feel a lot relaxed.
I found that, no matter what I go through, I will be independent, so I started making soft toys and selling them. In 1996, soft toys were a craze, and I could sell them very easily. Later, I began stitching clothes too because I could not go outside for work. Financially, I became independent. I feel that if I could come out of that phase, then nothing more could affect me because nothing more could come to that mark. I feel proud of myself that I did not break down.
From being a very introverted person, I started reaching out to people who could help me. I never thought I would survive for 25 years. I felt a need to be in the memories of my loved ones very positively.
Happiness became an important factor. I even say to my children that no matter what marks they score in school, always be happy. Cancer made me very empathetic. I used to be judgmental, but now I have changed completely and am much more at peace with myself and my life.
Give unconditional love and support to your loved ones. Focus more on something other than cancer; do what makes you happy. Have small goals. Don't let cancer be the main thing in your life. If you are feeling low, then ask for help. Talking openly about your feelings makes a huge difference.