About the Healing Circle
The Healing Circle at Love Heals Cancer and ZenOnco.io aim to give cancer patients, caregivers, and winners a safe space to share their feelings or experiences. This circle is built on the foundation of kindness and respect. It is a sacred space where everyone listens with compassion and treats each other with honour. All the stories are confidential, and we believe that we have the guidance we need within us, and we rely on the power of silence to access it.
About the speaker
Around January of 2013, she felt a lump in her breast. She went to the gynaecologist. Though the tests could not confirm the diagnosis, surgery confirmed breast cancer. Her treatment also included six sessions of chemotherapy and twenty-five sessions of radiotherapy. Her initial thoughts were Why is it happening to her. She was so upset despite all the positive people around me. She could not fall asleep. The belief that gave her will and energy till today and will stay for the rest of her life is ‘Being a woman, I had to fight many outsiders and stand firm in many situations, I fought, and I won, why can’t I fight something that is inside me, I can and will do it.
Anita Singh’s journey
Signs and symptoms
I am a pre-primary teacher. One fine morning, I found a small lump in my breast. It felt like a pimple. I went to the doctor who is close to me. She told me not to worry as it could be nothing. But I wasn’t convinced. So, I went for a mammogram. Even though the reports were negative, I was worried. My doctor suggested I go for FNAC. The first test again came with negative results. If it was simple, it could have gone. So, I had it removed. The biopsy results revealed it was cancer.
Treatments underwent and side effects
After the biopsy report, I had to go through surgery. Doctors removed my left breast. I was afraid of surgery because of my prior experience with the operation. During my operation, I woke up when they were stitching me up. But everything went well. My doctors helped me a lot. They were optimistic and also spiritual. I asked them why it was me. He counselled me for an hour and asked us to cry no more. He asked us to let out our emotions and not call again because I would get well. I wasn’t able to sleep and was worried all the time. I realised that being a woman, you have to fight a lot. If I have fought so many things, I can fight this too. I was filled with positivity. I was able to deal with the side effects better. I had no weight loss and significantly less blood count drop. I had difficulty eating and didn’t want to take any food. My inlaws helped me a lot. They pushed me to eat. Finally, I got through everything.
What kept me motivated
My mother inspired me a lot. She said that nothing would happen to me. Her positivity surrounded me. I also had to live for my son, who was in the eighth standard. It all helped me to keep going.
People saw me like I had done something wrong. I ask other women to do a self-examination. I help the women around me to do the examination. As a member of Sangini, I help other women get all the information. I even share my stories so that they can learn from them.
I stress self-examination. It would help if you always did the self-examination and regular checkups. You should be aware and gather information about breast cancer as a woman. It can happen to anyone, so you should not hide it. Hiding won’t be helpful, but the consultation will.
Thoughts on alternative treatments
First, they should go for treatment if diagnosed with breast cancer. Some people opt for other treatments instead of allopathic. They might go for homoeopathy or Ayurveda. I don’t say these treatments are not efficient or wrong. But cancer spreads rapidly, and other therapies might not be able to treat it. I believe allopathy can treat cancer. I feel that other treatments can be supplementary. The standard treatment should be approached when you know the cure is available. You need to find the best approach. You can find a combination to treat cancer as it works the best. An integrative approach can help deal with side effects and make the treatments more effective.
The daily routine during the treatment
I didn’t want to take a rest during the treatment. I used to read the stories. If I could not read, I used to listen to the stories. My mother was a member of Brahmakumari. She taught me how to do meditation. I used to do meditation with her. I used to go for walks outside my house to get my daily workout without exertions. I even went out and helped with the household chores. But I avoided any tiring work. There were no significant changes in my daily routine. I only took a year’s sabbatical from work because of safety issues.
Being a caregiver and a patient
When my mother-in-law was sick, I used to take care of her. I insisted she take any particular diet. If she denied it, then I didn’t force her. But in my case, if I refused any food or supplement, my family members would not let it slip. They would keep asking me repetitively. So, it was better to take their advice to get out of the situation.
To whom I am grateful
I am thankful to my family and friends. My friends used to call and check on me. They wanted to spend time with me. At that time, I felt like not talking to them. But now, I am grateful to them for calling and talking to me. I also thank the doctors who were with me through this journey.
Message to other cancer patients
They should always get the proper treatment. It is vital to do so. It would help if you never neglected what doctors say. They know about so many things. You should follow their advice. It would be best if you took a proper meal. Change your lifestyle as much as you can. You should do it even if you don’t feel like doing it. Treatments themselves bring a lot of changes in your lifestyle. Balancing and making your lifestyle healthy will be beneficial for you.
Life is precious, and you should not spend it carelessly. We only know this after going through something like cancer.
An integrated approach
There is no definite solution to treat or deal with cancer. It would help if you connected with others to know more. You cannot delay in case of cancer. You should find out what the best approach for you is. Often, the path is a combination of more than one treatment. For example, allopathy combined with Ayurveda or naturopathy can reduce the side effects and even make the treatment more effective. Not only the physical aspect, but you should consider the mental aspect or mental wellbeing. Practising mindfulness can help you to cope with stress.