Dimple Raj (Ovarian Cancer Survivor) I am a normal girl next door. I was happy and enjoying my life when the word, ’’ Cancer’’ struck me. It took me some time to digest it, although I had a family history. I lost my Mom quite early. I come from a background where my brother and sister-in-law were doctors. I have been leading a very active life. I have been working for the past 22 years. I am married with one son, who has just joined Engineering. It was a normal life.
Symptoms and Diagnosis:
I did not have any Ovarian cancer symptoms at first. I was a little uncomfortable. I was having heaviness in the right-hand side of my stomach. I realized that it was something abnormal. I was very active and during that time, I put my running on hold. I am a Marathon Runner. I decided to go for a checkup. I would advise women above 35 years to be active. Please have your Mammogram and Pap smear done at least once a year. It hardly takes 10-15 minutes.
Ovarian Cancer doesn’t start with symptoms and it spreads before you know it. Timely check-ups would help.
The doctor asked me to do an abdomen scan and a blood test report done. It is a report which shows the margin of body and Ovarian cancer cells. The report was bad. I did the CT scan to check if the tumor has spread or not. They removed the tumor which was around 2.1 kgs. I have advised for 6 to 7 sessions of chemotherapy.
Its experience and Side-effects:
I did not feel any bloat. I felt the pain later. I had around 48 stitches. My stomach was cut into two halves. I was advised to have bed rest for 3-4 weeks. Other than that, I was okay. I managed the Surgery part. Chemotherapy had taken a toll on me. One was the physical appearance. I had lost my hair and the texture of my skin. It affected me mentally and psychologically. You need to have your family members or people who spread positivity around you. This helps you to recover fast. I had a lack of appetite and pain. I had my husband and my son with me 24/7. I managed the pain. I was out of fear. I was able to handle and manage it. I had cancer, but cancer did not have me.
Keep yourself busy. I was a working woman, my company supported me. My emails and messages helped me to keep myself occupied. I used to get my Chemo and for a week and I used to be not well. After a week, I used to go back to work.
You can start listening to pleasant music. Do what makes you feel good. Yoga, asanas, and breathing exercises can help to recover and overcome cancer faster. It took me two months to talk about Cancer outside my family. Yoga and having positive people around me helped a lot.
keep yourself busy. Listen to your body and be proactive. Please have your regular checkups done and have positive affirmations. Be on a healthy diet. Adapt some form of exercise into your lifestyle. Make yourself active and be proactive. It can be cycling, running, or whatever you feel comfortable
Think positive and talk to people. I had an article written within my company regarding cancer and I have shared it with 1500 people. So many people called me after reading the article. They took my Doctor’s number for the treatment. Some of them didn’t know how to deal with it. They were very thankful. I felt happy when I tried helping people. I tried to help as much as possible. Last, but not least, keep yourself covered. This is an expensive treatment, so make sure you have your insurance.
These are the lessons I learned from my journey.
Follow-Ups Post Treatment:
I still have my regular check-ups, blood reports, and scanning done. I do this quarterly every year. I would also suggest even if you are healthy, once you cross an age, women are bound to have cancer. I suggest women get their cervical and ovarian cancer check-ups done regularly. I am not on any medications at present. I walk 5kms. I keep myself active. I do yoga every morning. I keep myself busy. I am back to work and my business as usual.
Alternative and Complementary Therapies:
You are supposed to follow a strict diet with more protein and less spicy and oily food. Avoid carbohydrates. There is a chance of relapse. You are more prone to grow cancer cells in your body if you put on weight. Get your weight checked, and control your diet. Be physically very active. Do meet up with your Doctors. It helps you. I was completely off sweets. I had lost around 18kgs during my Ovarian cancer Surgery.
I have managed to put on 8 kgs. I am continuing to be off sweets.
Life after Cancer:
When I talk to my friends or relatives, I know that they have a soft corner for me. I am happy that they have empathy. They shouldn’t be sympathetic because cancer patients can fight the disease. I was strong enough to handle it. I feel like I am a better person now. Life is short. . Enjoy every moment of your life. Think as if today is the last day to live. Be good and kind to people. Once I started sharing the experience with people, I could feel their pain.
Just continue saying,’’ All is well.’’ We can do it.
There is an association in California and Chennai. They treat Cancer patients cheaper and the Doctors offer their helping hand. I was working with them, and when the Cancer patients see the survivors, they are motivated to recover and get better.
I was also working with the Apollo Hospital. I have also met the Staff, Doctors, and others who have helped me during the surgery. Recently, we had cancer patient survivors day. We had discussed fitness, food, and health as a part of it.
In 2019, I did parasailing. In 2022, I want to do skydiving.
You should not take life for granted. Be good, and do good. Keep your karma clean and in some form, it will come back, and make everyone happy.
Be aware and read a lot. Please study and don’t let that fear overcome you. Stay positive and I am sure you will overcome it.