Symptoms & Diagnosis
My name is Dilpreet Kaur, and I’m a breast cancer survivor. I first noticed a lump in my breast while I was breastfeeding my son, but for a few months, I pushed it out of my mind, hoping it would go away in time. Eventually, the lump became painful and sore, so I decided to get it checked out. It was hard to get an appointment without health insurance, but thankfully, I had some relatives in the medical field who made me a priority. The lump turned out to be malignant—Stage 3A breast cancer.
After my diagnosis, I underwent 16 cycles of chemotherapy and 25 cycles of radiation therapy to treat the cancer. Radiation therapy left me feeling like someone had poured concrete into my veins—I just felt completely drained all the time—and chemotherapy caused a lot of hair loss. They also put me on some medications to help manage the side effects of treatment and reduce pain from the surgery. Now that I’ve finished treatment for Stage 3A breast cancer, it’s important for me to stay on top of things like regular check-ups and blood tests to make sure everything is still going well!
Side Effects & Challenges
One of the hardest parts of my breast cancer diagnosis was coming to terms with the treatment options. Each one brought up a new set of questions. When you’re dealing with breast cancer, you have so many questions. Each one is scary: How long will the treatment take? What should I do about my family? What’s going to happen to my hair? But one question many women don’t ask, until they need to know the answer: what will happen to your sex life? How will it be affected by your treatment options, and how can you make sure you’re not sacrificing your intimacy for your health?
The answers depend on a lot of factors. The type of cancer you have, whether or not you’re menopausal, and which treatment option you choose all play a part in how your sex life might be affected. For example, certain treatments can cause a sudden drop in estrogen levels, triggering irregular periods or even stopping your cycle altogether. This can lead to hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and loss of bone density—typical menopausal symptoms. In order to avoid these side effects, my doctors recommended hormone therapy before surgery and during radiation therapy.
Support System & Caregiver
I realize that I have been fortunate to have a very supportive family, friends, and community throughout my cancer journey. There were a couple of times when I was ready to give up. When the side effects of my treatment were too much to bear, or I felt like I couldn’t take one more minute of pain or want normalcy.
Cancer is something that most of us know to be scary. I fought it and won, but I couldn’t have done it without my family’s support. My family, friends, and community were there for me every step of the way. They helped me gain strength during the darkest times and reminded me when I felt like giving up that I was worth fighting for. It helped me to have loved ones who cheered me on and reminded me that I wasn’t alone. I continue to thank God for the support and encouragement I received, which helped me overcome the tremendous challenges I faced.
Post Cancer & Future Goals
I’ve been through a lot of challenges. In the end, it was worth the fight. I’m happy to say that I survived breast cancer. Now, I’ll be taking better care of myself and doing more things that make me happy and courageous. I don’t have any special preferences, but I will do whatever life presents me with.
I do feel like missing out on some fun things with friends and family. However, I am not afraid of exploring new things and meeting new people because I know that’s the best way to broaden your horizon. I know it’s hard to face this reality, but on the other hand, you should also try to look at it from a different angle: Are there any other ways you could have spent your time?
I think we all have regrets about choices we made in the past or present day; however, when we reflect on them later on in life it becomes clear how much those choices affected us positively or negatively. Also try to keep an open mind when making decisions because there are always multiple possibilities out there!
Some Lessons That I Learned
I learned so much throughout my experience with cancer, but the lessons that struck me most were the ones about what it means to be a part of a family. I was raised to know that love is unconditional, but this experience took that belief to a whole new level. Cancer had me going through chemo treatments, radiation, and surgeries. It was hard at first to admit I needed help, but once I let go and realized the family could take care of me, our relationship deepened in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
I’ll never forget the day my family told me they’d do anything for me. The look on their faces made clear that the words weren’t just for show. They meant it. And soon enough I realized they were ready and willing to do whatever it took to help me get through this difficult time—to give me the best chance at survival possible.
I’m a breast cancer survivor, and I know it can be scary. But you don’t have to fight alone! As a cancer survivor, I’ve learned to stay proactive and stay on top of my health. Every year, I get my mammogram done. If anything feels off, I call my doctor. That’s how I found out about the lump in my breast—and that’s also how we caught it early, before it became a problem! Being proactive means taking control of your health, so you can feel confident that your body is getting the best care possible. It’s important to remember that not all lumps are cancerous: Some are benign (that is, noncancerous). But if you have any reason to suspect something is off with your breasts—whether it’s unusual pain or a new lump—it never hurts to get checked out by your doctor.
I have fought breast cancer successfully. Each time the treatment was different, but the one thing that remained constant was my family. My family has been my rock, my source of strength and my inspiration to keep fighting. When I was too weak to go on, they encouraged me to keep going. To make sure I did not give up!
My advice to women battling cancer is: Take care of yourself first! Do what you need to do to get through your treatments. If you need rest – take it! If you need a shoulder to cry on – find it! If you need help with household responsibilities – ask for it! Let your responsibilities not define you and don’t let them weigh you down. Be kind to yourself and know that things will be okay! You are stronger than you think!
I am so grateful I have made it through all fights with cancer and am now in remission. It can be a lonely road but there are many people who understand. Find your people, find your support group, and remember, Things will be okay! So, take action today! If anything about your breasts seems different or unusual, call your doctor and make an appointment for a check-up. Taking charge of your health is the first step toward feeling better and living longer!