Breast Cancer Diagnosis / Detection:
I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer twice. I noticed various symptoms. I had severe pain in one of my breasts. First I thought it was hormonal changes & some general infection. Of late, after visiting a cancer hospital the doctor cleared that this might be something serious. After doing a biopsy, I was declared affected with breast cancer.
Everything started suddenly one fine afternoon, when I came back from work, I felt severe pain in one of my breasts. It was so severe that I panicked. I visited the hospital as I couldn’t bear that pain. I booked an appointment with the gynecologist as I didn’t know where else to go. After visiting her, I was normally treated with some antibiotics. Some tests were done. I had another symptom of secretion. This made me scared. But for about a one month I was being treated with antibiotics which showed no improvement. I started doing some research and found out it might be something serious. I asked my doctors if there was a need to consult an oncologist. They said no, it’s all good. But I could not stop worrying. That’s when I decided to go to a cancer hospital.
I visited Tata cancer hospital in Kolkata. I was lucky that on the 1st visit itself the doctor told me it was something serious. They wanted to do a biopsy to be cleared. I visited alone as my husband used to live in Delhi. I wanted to know what was happening and if anything was there I wanted to get it cured for my family and my daughters.
The doctor said, someone from the family should be there, so I called my husband. He straightaway came from Delhi. We did a panoogram. It was identified as Paget Disease and that is nothing but stage 0 for breast cancer. Then I went for the surgery.
Cancer struck again after 6 months. I was leading a normal life, but one fine morning, I started feeling pain and that was the 2nd time. But due to coronavirus, I delayed. Then finally after a video call with the doctor, I was told to visit the hospital. I visited the hospital in July and the doctors scolded me as it was late. There were tests done and this time it was stage 3 invasive carcinoma.
At 1st I thought how could it happen again, have I done anything wrong? Then I started reading about the various journeys that made me conclude that all of this is normal. Then my treatment started as the doctors said it was already too late so we must not delay further.
We started with sessions of chemotherapy. Total 8 chemotherapy sessions took place. The 1st four sessions were Epirubicin and the other four were Paclitaxel. Then the surgery happened. I decided to go for a double mastectomy as I did not want to take any chances in the future. The doctor was confused at first but looking at my willpower, he got convinced. After that, I had undergone 15 radiations. My biopsy report post surgery came very good as they did not find any such thing as a tumor. My last radiation took place in April 2021. After that, the doctors declared me free from Breast cancer.
Revealing the News:
Initially, during the 1st time when I got cancer, only my husband knew about it. We did not reveal anything in the family. They all just knew that I had some sort of infection. But every morning my elder daughter called me as she lives abroad. She felt something was not right. She had an intuition. That’s when we thought it is not okay to hide it anymore.
So when I came back from my 1st breast cancer surgery, I disclosed the news of the treatment, disease and everything. I told them everything is fine now, it has been taken care of. That time my younger daughter felt very bad that we hid the news and didn’t tell her anything.
It was a horrible and scary experience. In the 1st two chemotherapy sessions, I had thoughts that kept on telling me I will be unable to take the journey. I started thinking about how I will ever be able to touch the finishing line of this journey. I was so drained out that I could barely stand up. My husband was very supportive throughout the journey, he held me when I was unable to stand up. In the total journey, I had 8 chemotherapy sessions.
My whole family was my support system throughout the journey, they motivated me, and they supported me. My husband has been so positive in this journey. He stood by me like a strong pillar of support, joy and happiness. His patience made me feel that what’s going on is normal and nothing to worry about. I feel blessed to enjoy the togetherness throughout my journey! He moved to Kolkata from Delhi to take care of me. My 82 year old mother and 75 year old mother in law have been so strong as they never cried in front of me. They stood by me every time. My daughters even said they would shave their hair when I was losing my hair in therapy. Everyone supported me including my friends. I used to receive morning wishes everyday from some of my very close friends and relatives. I am grateful to them for their support. It was the love and support that encouraged me, motivated me to fight this battle. This treatment requires a strong support system no doubt to make one come back with a big smile on their face.
There is no specific song that I would prefer calling my favourite. Every type of song whether Hindi films or classics are my favourites. I used to record these songs in the hospital. I love singing. It somehow boosted my mood. I do not have any particular preference as every song is lovely to me.
Complementary Therapy / Integrated Treatment:
I did not take any alternative treatment or therapy in my entire journey. I have taken ZenOnco’s dietitian consultation only. From that, I got a diet chart and a very comprehensive package that gives me guidance for yoga, meditation, lifestyle changes. I did not take any other medical treatment but from this guidance only, I built my routine.
There were changes in my diet. I followed the diet chart that was allotted to me. Before the diagnosis, I was not a person who went for morning walks, yoga and meditation. But after the diagnosis, I started doing morning walks daily, I also did yoga.
This Breast cancer diagnosis has completely changed my life. After passing out from my college, for the last 27 years, I was just running after my job and career. I was so engrossed in my job that I did not have much of a social life back then. But after this disease, I understand the importance of life, how to enjoy every second of it, and how to make memories. I am able to learn the value of life.
One must not give up easily. Have faith in yourself and GOD. If you have faith, it gives you strong self-belief and strength which is very important. With strength and belief, one will be able to overcome this disease.