Breast Cancer Diagnosis
I am Anafe Gutierrez, a 48 years old breast cancer survivor. In 2007, I found out that I have a lump on my left breast, but I never told it to anyone, even my family, for ten years. In 2018, I started having excruciating back pain, and even pain killers could not relieve me of the problem. And when I told my family about it, we went to the doctor immediately. So, I decided to consult my family doctor, who examined me thoroughly. After the breast cancer screening tests, we finally discovered that I had stage 4 breast cancer and bone and lung metastasis. My family and I were all shocked after my doctor informed us of the scary disease. But even though my family cried a lot after listening to the news, I mustered up my courage to be strong enough. I bolstered myself to be emotionally balanced because I knew that I would have to fight this disease with all my strength. There was no way for me to break down at this moment! I was headed for a long journey ahead, and so I had to be mentally prepared.
Breast Cancer Treatment
Treatments always follow diagnosis, and soon after my breast cancer diagnosis, my stage 4 breast cancer treatment began. I had to undergo a total of six cycles of chemotherapy. The processes were then followed by twenty-one days of radiation therapy. Although I did have hair fall, which is one of the side effects of chemotherapy for breast cancer, I did not have any other side effects from the treatments. I believe that it is because I have a robust immune system. In my case, going under the knife was not a necessity, and I credit God for not letting me go through the pain of breast cancer removal surgery. I understand how painful that can be, and I am utterly grateful to God for helping me always. Currently, I am undergoing maintenance therapy that requires me to take oral chemotherapy drugs for breast cancer.
The various cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy manage to take a toll on the patient’s body. So, I try to stay indoors as much as possible. I only step out whenever it is mandatory. For example, I need to visit the hospitals and pathological laboratories to get my blood tests for breast cancer done once every two weeks. I also have my CT scans scheduled once in three months. Every six months, I need to have my bone scans done. I also need to visit my doctors at least once a month for the monthly check-ups. These are the activities that require me to step out mandatorily.
I am blessed with a family, friends, and doctors who have never failed to provide me with robust support. My breast cancer doctor advised me to live my life like a normal human being and enjoy it to the fullest. Every time I visit my doctor, he makes me happy, and I firmly believe that I recovered with such ease due to his efforts. The journey of defeating breast cancer also takes a toll on your mental health. Strong support from your doctors and near and dear ones is what keeps you going. But I also firmly believe that one must keep on trying as it is the only way to get through this painful hardship.
I have had a strong faith in God since I was a little child. I believe that it is God who resolutely remains with us even in the most challenging moments of our lives. God takes care of you whenever there is a need. I have never failed to offer my prayers to the Almighty, and I think that made me grow more substantial than before and helped me throughout my breast cancer treatment.
My Life Post-Cancer
The journey of battling 4th stage breast cancer has the potential of completely changing your life forever and the way you perceive your thoughts. I think that, after fighting with breast cancer, life will never be the same again. It will have its pros and cons. You will have a very different approach to life. On the one hand, life after cancer will seem to be more beautiful than before. You will have to make sure that you take extra care of your mind, body, and soul.
Life was very different before my breast cancer diagnosis. Earlier, I had the freedom to go out and enjoy everything without much worry. But I cannot freely do so anymore. My cancer journey has left me more sensitive, and so I need to take proper precautions every time I go out or do anything. I always need to take extra care of myself so that my breast cancer does not get a chance to relapse as the chances of breast cancer recurrence are common. Especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, a breast cancer patient or a survivor must take extra care as it is now crucial.
Sadly, some of my close friends left my side after my breast cancer diagnosis. But then, I happened to come in contact with many cancer patients during my cancer journey. They have now become my new friends, and as all my friends do, we now tirelessly support each other. We also openly share our feelings. This experience of the battle against breast cancer taught me a few lessons too. It taught me to have faith in God. It has made my thoughts more positive. I now believe that if you have a positive mind with complementary views, then nothing can ever go wrong. Your positivity will make sure that everything is alright.
Some Lessons that I learned
It was by God’s grace that I found the right doctor. My doctor was a constant source of support for me. He always cleared my doubts by fantastically explaining everything. I believe that you must keep on fighting, and God will take care of the rest.
I feel that the presence of gratitude in your life is of the utmost importance as well. It can change the way you look at things and make you more positive. So, I am grateful to God, my family, friends, doctors, nurses, and all the people around me who have showered me with their constant love and support all throughout my breast cancer journey. I am incredibly grateful to them for all their efforts to help me remain happy.
Always have faith in the Almighty and keep on fighting because there is, for sure, life after breast cancer. The journey of cancer does not end your life or happiness. Remember that cancer is not the end of your story. Instead, it is the beginning of a new you. Do not forget to live your life. Enjoying life and feeling happy is what stops you from feeling sick. So, enjoy life as much as possible.
It is crucial to remember that negative thoughts are evil for your health. So, always think positive. Keep yourself happy and believe in yourself and the doctors who are tirelessly trying to help you defeat breast cancer.
If I defeated cancer, then you can, too, because we are stronger than cancer!