Breast Cancer Diagnosis
It was in 2014 when I felt a lump in my left breast. I got my mammogram done, but the results were negative. The lab technician said that it is benign, so do not touch it or get it operated. But my brother in law, who is a surgeon, suggested that if you have a tumour, you should get it operated. But I didn't get it operated since it didn't give me any trouble.
In February, my daughter was leaving for America, and when she went for her medical check-up, I remember, asking my sister in law, who was a gynaecologist, to have a look at the tumour. At that time, it was very small and caused no problem. Those two months were very hectic, and I took a lot of Stress because I was busy packing things for her, and as I am a little perfectionist, I was busy making sure that everything was being done in the right way.
After two months, I detected a swelling in my breast, and I had an intuition that something was wrong this time. I detected it one day at night, and the very next day, I showed it at my family hospital. When my sister and brother in law saw it, they felt that something was wrong. So, the routine tests were conducted, and I got the tumour removed on 5th May.
The Biopsy reports were supposed to come after 15 days, and that was a very traumatic period for my family and me. I was in a dilemma thinking about what will happen; will it be positive or negative. That was a very crucial period, waiting for those results.
But finally, when the results came positive, and I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I clearly remember; we were in the car, and the initial reaction was that of disappointment and shock, but soon I felt relieved that the period of waiting was over. I decided that okay, I will fight this and win the battle.
Breast Cancer Treatment
I had my second operation done in which my breast was removed, and after 21 days, I underwent four Chemotherapy cycles. It was supposed to be eight cycles of 21 days each, but after the first four cycles of chemotherapy, I was suggested to go for the seven days one, which would be less taxing on my health because it was a diluted form of Chemotherapy. I went for that Chemotherapy cycles, and then finally, I underwent radiation too. It took almost a year to complete the treatment cycles for my Breast Cancer.
My Pillar of Support
Both my children were abroad, but my husband and my entire family was my pillar of support throughout my journey against Breast Cancer. Many factors kept me calm, and it was only in the initial days I was a little disturbed. But after the entire thing had sunk in, I decided to fight it out.
My daughter was abroad, and she had talked to her friend, whose mother had advanced-stage cancer. She sent me a very detailed letter about how I should follow my diet, and what other steps I should take so that I could manage the side effects of Chemotherapy well. I followed everything, and that helped me immensely.
There was a renowned urologist Dr Prateek, whose wife was also going through Breast Cancer. We started talking, and he would guide me and inform me in advance about the problems that I would face after the first chemotherapy, and how to manage those problems. My daughter also did meticulous research to find more about the specific nutrition that Ishould follow, and some of her friends helped me immensely on that part.
The two major sources of guidance for me was my daughter and Dr Prateek. For example, during chemotherapy, we are supposed to have a lot of water, and my husband used to stay awake the whole night for at least 2-3 days. We would set the alarm; I would get up, have water, and go to the toilet so that the harmful effects of Chemotherapy are released.But it was not my doctor who told me to do this, but my daughter. She had advised doing that for at least the first three days, and due to that, I never had much burning sensation in my body.
A Healthy Lifestyle
I started taking Wheatgrass in the morning, which I continued for five years. Then, I had soaked Nuts regularly, that included almonds, walnuts, raisins, and fig. Fruits were supposed to be taken in the morning fairly on an empty stomach, so around 9 o'clock, I had sweet fruits, and after half an hour, I had citrus fruits, and again after half an hour, I had watery fruits. After I had my share of fruits, I used to take almost two glasses of vegetable juice, which included bottle guard, green apple, raw turmeric, ginger, lemon, raw tomatoes, and any leafy greens like spinach, Mint or coriander. The whole idea of having fruits is to give you nutrition, but they are acidic, so to remove the effect, you need to have vegetable juice, which is highly alkaline.
After taking the vegetable juice, I would have my lunch. I altogether avoided wheat flour because of the Gluten and used multi-grain flour or bajra more. Then after lunch, I used to have lemon juice to make my body alkaline. I used to take eight lemons a day. In the evening, I used to have a very light dinner, followed by almond powdered milk.
Besides this, I did a lot of exercises; it was tough for me initially because when you have your lymph nodes removed, that specific area gets swelled. My younger brother was very stubborn in making me do exercise, and it helped me a lot. My elder brother is a Vipassana teacher, and for him, the world is his family. But when I got breast cancer, he took two months off to be with me and would take me for long walks. He would guide me in meditation, talk to me about spiritual things, and helped me immensely to pass through all these.
I used to write down my emotions in my diary; it was a beautiful journey. I was confined to a room; I was with myself, so I started looking into the world of words.
During my treatment, I learned paper quilling, which kept me so occupied that it was like a meditation for me. Life after Breast Cancer has changed beautifully, and cancer has helped me to improve and grow.
Don't take cancer as a very dreadful disease; it may be a bit painful, but treat it like a normal disease. Use it as an opportunity to understand who you are. Try to focus on the physical and mental aspects by following a good diet and doing meditation. Do the things you love; enjoy what you do and be mindful of what you do. Try to come out of it and lead a better life and help others.
Key points from Usha Jain's healing journey
- It was in 2014 when I felt a lump in my right breast, so I got it operated and had my Biopsy done. When the reports came, it was revealed that I had Breast Cancer. It was a huge shock, but I made up my mind to fight against it.
- I underwent a mastectomy and four Chemotherapy cycles. After the Chemotherapy cycles, I underwent radiation too. It took almost a year to complete everything.
- I made many lifestyle changes; I started eating healthy food, doing exercises, and meditation. I started doing things I love, including paper quilling. I started being mindful of everything around me. The journey is tough, but the support of my entire family kept me going.
- Don't take cancer as a very dreadful disease; it may be a little painful, but treat it like a normal disease. Use it as an opportunity to understand what you are. Try to focus on the physical and mental aspects by following a good diet and doing meditation. Do the things you love, enjoy what you do and be mindful of what you do.