Ovarian cancer occurs when abnormal cells start growing and multiplying uncontrollably in the ovary. The cells eventually form a tumor and may destroy surrounding healthy tissues. The female uterus has one ovary on each side. Both ovaries are found in the pelvis. Ovaries are the organs that produce female hormones and eggs for reproduction. Abnormal multiplication of cells in the ovaries leads to ovarian cancer.
One of the cancer warriors is Poornima Sardana, who courageously and successfully fought this battle after being diagnosed with Ovarian and Endometrial cancer in November 2018. The ovarian cancer diagnosis happened during one of the most important and happiest phases in her life. She was about to get married and embark on a new journey. Also, her career was looking so bright. When cancer occurred, everything came to a halt in Poornima’s life.
Identifying the Signs & Symptoms
Cancer treatment works best when diagnosed at an early stage. Ovarian cancer generally causes symptoms, so you must pay attention to your body and identify any unusual signs. It proved true in Poornima’s case. Among the several ovarian cancer symptoms, she experienced some symptoms like extreme pain and severe digestive problems for several months. In fact, from May to November, she was misdiagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), which delayed her diagnosis.
She realized that she was not taking enough care of her body and tried her best to make amends. She had allopathic treatment as doctors suggested. Furthermore, she changed her diet significantly, which helped her cope up with the side effects of chemotherapy.
Ovarian Cancer Treatment
Poornima was detected with a tumor in her ovary, for which she had to undergo surgery. But the tumor was large and broke during the procedure. Unfortunately, this accelerated the stage of cancer. The doctors recommended a biopsy as a part of an ovarian cancer diagnosis. The results confirmed that it was cancerous. After this, she had to undergo another procedure in which the cancer surgeons had to remove one of her ovaries. After this surgery, the doctors started her chemotherapy.
She was initially treated in Meerut, whereas her second surgery and chemotherapy were conducted at the Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Center in Rohini, New Delhi. She is extremely grateful to her oncologists and other doctors, who supervised her ovarian cancer treatment and guided her appropriately.
Poornima dedicatedly followed what the doctors advised her. According to her, there are a few things, which eased her journey.
- Shifting to a rice-based diet and keeping away from wheat and sugar.
- Ensuring the intake of eggs daily.
- Avoiding the intake of spicy foods.
- Having a diet that included a lot of fruit juices (specifically, pomegranate and celery juice). It helped her fight the problem of acidity.
- Consuming a lot of coconut water, nuts, and seeds.
She says that oncologists might not recommend having fruits during treatment to prevent infections. But, if you wash and clean the fruits properly, it should not cause any concerns.
A few precautionary measures that she incorporated into her routine are:
- Adding a special toilet seat helped her during diarrhea or constipation.
- Taking good care of her scalp to control hair fall.
- Placing a call bell in her room.
- Keeping a chair in the bathroom to sit while taking a bath. It was when she found it difficult to stand due to the excruciating pain in her legs.
- Using an antifungal powder called candid for the frequently occurring fungal infections at this time.
- Also, her doctors recommended a non-alcoholic mouthwash to treat mouth ulcers, which troubled her often. She would also rinse her mouth with coconut oil.
The Aftercare of Ovarian Cancer
“The actual journey of recovery begins after the treatment” – this is what Poornima feels. For her, yoga and meditation proved to be blessings. Simple asanas, neck and finger exercises, and stretching, aided her in handling the pain associated with ovarian cancer.
Today, she has overcome this tremendously challenging health concern. However, she feels that the lifestyle changes she brought into her life post-diagnosis, she did not maintain post-recovery. She started having spicy foods, sweets, etc. that resulted in weight gain, specifically during the pandemic. But now, she has again taken the command of her health and practices the earlier food habits and exercises devotedly.
Few Lessons that Poornima Learned
There are many ovarian cancer causes, but Poornima is uncertain which one triggered this in her case. But, she firmly mentions never to ignore your health. You must love your body and take utmost care. On being asked how this entire experience has transformed her life, the first thing that Poornima says is that she has become more reflective about her life. Additionally, she has learned to put her foot down and prioritize her health.
She says that it is all about being positive, and she decided to approach life as a fighter. This optimism of hers not only helped her but boosted the morale of everyone around her.
The Bottom Line
Poornima says people try to be empathetic towards the cancer survivors or the cancer warriors. But the caregivers should be given equal support and consideration because they too are fighting a battle. Also, believe in yourself and do not let cancer win!
CTA If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer recently and are looking for step-wise guidance on treatment, we are here to help you. To get all your queries answered, please connect with ZenOnco.io on +91 99 30 70 90 00.