Srimukhi Iyer (Ovarian Cancer): “All I need is mother & belief.”

Srimukhi Iyer Ovarian Cancer Survivor

I had no health issues when diagnosed with cancer, which is why it was a very sudden thing that happened to me. Ever since I was a kid, I used to sleep on my stomach. As far as I remember, the only time when I did not sleep on my stomach was during pregnancy. But one evening, I felt remarkably bloated. Initially, I thought it must be general gas and tried to ease it. But when the pain refused to subside, I decided to straight head for sonography. The doctor doing my sonography identified a black patch behind my ovary and recommended me to go to my GP immediately. My GP, who is more like a family member to us, told me to meet a specialist. Within a week of my diagnosis, my operation was done, and I proceeded for the chemotherapy sessions.

For my chemo cycles, I went to the same doctor who had treated my mother when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2000. Sharing the treatment history with the doctor was reassuring because I knew that I am in safe custody, and I had full faith in winning the battle against cancer. Trust and belief play a vital role in the entire treatment process.

Though I am originally a South Indian, I had moved to Mumbai, the City of Dreams, when I was four months old. My mother has a similar case of cancer, and she is a proud cancer survivor who looked after me when I needed her the most. My mother’s diagnosis took place when she was unable to urinate, even when she had the urge to. Prolonger discomfort took us to a doctor, and when my mother started bleeding during the checkup, we knew something was amiss. She underwent 9 chemotherapy sessions before the doctors declared her cancer-free.

In both my mother and my cases, chemotherapy was more of a preventive measure than a cure. We were blessed to diagnose cancer at a very initial stage. So we were assured that we did not delay in starting the treatment. Early healing is very important because the body is in a sensitive position, and every day matters. This is the main reason why we did not waste time in my operation either.

The biggest side-effect that I faced was depression. I took time to accept myself, what I was going through, and the multiple possibilities. My mother prepared coriander stalk soup to ease my constipation, and it worked wonders for me. Due to the removal of my fallopian tubes, I experienced major muscle cramps during the chemo sessions. I had tonic water every seven or ten days, and it helped me a lot. It is common to lose appetite because the body faces so much stress and loses cell-strength. My mother prepared the heartiest meals for me and got me everything that I liked. What was diagnosed in July, ended in December 2017.

Srimukhi-after-treatment-pic

If I have to talk about a challenge that I faced in my personal life during my struggle with cancer was the loss of a job. Though it seems a professional affair, it had a direct impact on my morale. Though the doctor had waved the green flag and allowed me to continue with work, my school’s management felt that it would be best to keep me away. It was a time when I needed to distract myself from my problems and earn for myself, but I felt helpless in front of their decision. Today, I work at a better school where my services and I are genuinely valued. The bright side here, I feel, is that I had never taken a holiday from work, so I got that eventually. Here, I would like to mention the names of Poonam Pawar, Usha Ramchandran, Sucheta, Jaina, and Neeraj, who motivated me each day. Poonam, who was working in Tree House pre-primary school, invited me to be with the kids in an attempt to drive away my depression.

I did not opt for an alternative treatment because I have immense faith and trust in my doctor. Being one of the best in the field, the same doctor has treated my mother. That was more than reassuring! Different people experiment with integrative cancer treatment because they are unsure of what will work best for them. But in my case, I had a clear idea of what I want to do and how I wish to go about it. Your belief is your biggest weapon that can help you to fight against cancer. If you believe in God, he will undoubtedly guide you through the tough time.

By now, you must have understood that my mother has been my biggest support throughout this journey. It was a complete roller-coaster ride for her because she had experienced a similar situation and had to relive through it. I am her only child, and it must have been so painful for her to see me suffer, but she did not let that reflect on her face for a moment. She was my most significant support system and stood like a rock that I could fall back on. She is the one who has made me what I am today!