It all began with a lump against my arm
I was chatting with a friend downstairs in my home and I felt a hard lump against my arm, something I had never felt before. Once my friend left I ran upstairs to my husband and made him feel it and he turned completely white. He looked at me with terrified eyes and said “make an appointment now”. I consoled myself, “I am only 36 and there is no way I have cancer.”
Diagnosis was extremely shocking
I met with my oncologist, She did the initial examination. After that everything sped up. I was moved from exam to mammogram and ultrasound all in the same day. After the radiologist reviewed my mammogram and ultrasound, he told me that I had 8 tumors total. I had 5 left. 1 in the breast and 4 in lymph nodes. I blacked out. I did everything I could to not break down and try in that room. They did a biopsy that day and then two days later the report came and my diagnosis was confirmed.
I was told that I had cancer on 2nd September, 2021. It was a huge blow and extreme shock to me. I could not believe this and all I could do was cry. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I received the news that no woman wants to hear, which is that she has breast cancer. As you can imagine this was extremely shocking being in her mid 30s. It is terrifying and life altering news. The next couple weeks were a blur of Dr appointments and so much information she could barely retain it all. Through all this I remained positive, confident and hopeful even though many tears were shed along the way.
Treatment was exhausive
Once I was diagnosed, everything moved at the speed of light speed. I had 10 appointments in 9 days. I could not take a breath to process it all. My first report showed undecided but it was indicating triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma. My oncologist decided to retest it and it came back as 2 positive. So I was officially diagnosed with stage 3 A 2 positive invasive ductal carcinoma.
Once I was diagnosed, my oncologist planned for my treatment. I had 12 rounds once a week of chemotherapy and then surgery and radiation there after. My radiologist let me know that I would lose my hair in the first 18-21 days and he was right. Literally the day before my third round I shaved my head.
Chemo was not easy
Chemo was not easy. I feel like I could win my Olympic medal for the amount of side effects I got. I got everything: nosebleeds, nausea, fatigue, mouth sores, constipation, diarrhea, rashes, headaches, body aches. I had the worst 12 week of my life. But I did it and I got through it. Today I feel proud of myself. Once I completed those 12 rounds I was given a 3 week break and then I began my new regimen of medicine every three weeks for 14 rounds.
My surgery was on 7th March 2022, I had decided on a double mastectomy with expanders. The surgery took around 5 hours. I had many complications during that time also but i am happy that i am able to do it.
Support system plays an important role in faster recovery. When I had surgery, my parents, my husband and friends were all there with me. That was a great time for me. In the immediate aftermath of the diagnosis, and throughout the entire treatment period, the support of my friends and husband was praiseworthy. It helped me regain a sense of normalcy, maintain emotional stability, and improve my chances of ensuring a positive clinical outcome.Having a strong support system helped me with positive benefits, such as higher levels of well-being, better coping skills, and a longer and healthier life.
I lived through trauma. It was such a situation that my mind, body and self were not my own. I felt disjointed, ripped from myself, safety and sanity. It was a moment, an experience where my trust was smashed, my worth was gone and all there was pain.
I am cancer free now
I was declared cancer free on 16th March 2022. When I got this news. I cried. I cried for hours and hours and it was tears of joy and happiness. Even though I have been declared cancer free the journey does not stop. I would have to have maintenance chemo till 2023 and 5 weeks of radiation to ensure they have gotten every single microscopic cell in there.
It is a journey and a long process and it is completely worth it to get the cancer out of my body. It is a hard struggle and there were days that I could not handle it physically or mentally but I was determined to do whatever it took to fight for my life. If I can do this you also can. I will never be the same woman again but that is okay. This new me is stronger than I ever thought I could be.
I had to make huge changes in my life. I have increased fluid intake, fruits and vegetables in my diet. I eat bananas. I loved spicy food very much but I have stopped eating. I keep myself away from fast food. I try to eat organic food as much as possible.
Message for others
DOnt get panic. You can do it. These are bad days of life which give us good lessons.
It is a difficult journey but success is very beautiful. My life after cancer is totally different and wonderful.