My name is Anita Singh, a primary school teacher. I am a breast cancer survivor. I was 40 in 2013 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After treatment of surgery, multiple sessions of chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, today I am perfectly alright.
Around January of 2013…
I felt a lump in my breast. I became suspicious and went to the gynecologist. The first question the doctor asked me was how was I aware that it was a lump. I told her that I can sense if there is something wrong with my body. After the physical examination, the doctor has suggested a mammography test to confirm the suspicion regarding the lump.
But due to some circumstances, I was not able to get the diagnostic test. After a month I felt the size of the lump has increased. I went to the doctor again and she questioned me for not getting the diagnostic test done. I immediately got the mammography and sonography done, both of them showed a negative result. But the doctor suggested undergoing surgery to remove the lumps. Before the surgery, I was asked to get an FNAC test to proceed further, which showed negative results as in previous tests. But still, the doctors decided to go through the surgery to remove the lumps.
It took a few months to decide and be prepared for the surgery. Surgery was done and the lumps were removed. The biopsy is done on the removed lumps, which showed the positive result of early-stage cancer.
The time that I got to know about my Breast cancer diagnosis I was shaken to the core. I was physically strong enough but not mentally. The doctor that we consulted for the Breast cancer treatment has given us his time even when he had a long line of patients. The words he told me are “ Cry your heart while you’re in this room, and once you step out of the room you should not cry but have to be strong”. He also told me not to discuss the surgery. At first, I was confused about not discussing it. But later I understood that people will start pitying and sympathizing to a point where you start feeling scared of your condition and something bad is happening with you. I am very grateful to the doctor for being a great support. My treatment included six sessions of chemotherapy and twenty-five sessions of radiotherapy.
‘Why is it happening to me?’. I was so upset despite all the positive people around me. I could not fall asleep. One thought that gave me will and energy till today and will stay for the rest of my life is ‘Being a woman I had to fight many outsiders and stand strong in many situations, I fought and I won, why can’t I fight something that is inside me, I can and will do it.
I looked at my mother for positivity as she stayed strong when my father passed away at a young age and looked after her children and fulfilled her responsibilities. Throughout the Breast cancer treatment, she radiated positive energy even while we were bickering at each other as a daughter and mother. My whole family supported me throughout. Other than my family, my childhood friend who is a doctor, my oncologist, my colleagues, members of the cancer community, all supported me one or another way by diverting my mind from negative thoughts.
In the operation room, I was awake but not self-conscious while the doctors were doing stitches. I went into a phantasm which was the darkest time of the journey. My thoughts revolved around my son who was in eighth grade at that time, to whom I was not able to say a proper goodbye. I was seeing my dead self at that moment but I wasn’t able to do anything. A doctor in the surgery room pulled me out of the bottomless pit I was falling into. Even today I am scared to go to that hospital.
After Breast Cancer
I lead a normal life like any other person. But after recovering from Breast cancer, I started considering life with a positive outlook.
I joined cancer care groups like Sanghini(for breast cancer), Indradhanush (for all cancer types), and also have a social group of our own Ansh foundation. We did social activities for awareness, to support other cancer fighters and survivors. My ideology after cancer is to help, support, and stand for others in any possible way that I can.
I used to do physical activities like exercise, yoga, or walk regularly even before cancer, and even after cancer I try to maintain the streak of physical activity without fail. But there is a lot of change in my diet, due to chemotherapy I had to remove spicy foods as I am not able to tolerate them anymore.
I rejoined as the primary school teacher. Spending time with children for four to five hours would fill me with positivity, energy, and support for the whole twenty-four hours. The children lift up the mood instantly. I would like to suggest that one should not leave their source and objective of happiness.
I gained so much positivity after surviving cancer so that If cancer is to recur again, I would fight it mirthfully.
My husband passed away a few months ago. But this is the life we have to carry on living and fighting every struggle thrown our way.
Thoughts about Breast cancer treatment
Many people try to avoid cancer treatment due to various reasons. But once cancer is diagnosed it can be overwhelming, and confusing but talking to a doctor for the available options regarding their cancer type and cancer treatments or therapies can help to make a better decision regarding the choice of treatment. Everyone has their perspective of viewing things but one should never delay the treatment, or should never consider it as a pain and hard way. Even though coping with cancer treatment can be a challenge, it is necessary.
Always understand your body changes, and do regular self-examination of your breasts.
Never neglect or ignore follow-ups, diet, and self-care.
We all have survived our past and moving forward is the best way to survive.