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Komal Ramchandani (Breast Cancer): the Healing Starts After Acceptance

Komal Ramchandani (Breast Cancer): the Healing Starts After Acceptance

Breast Cancer Diagnosis

My breast cancer journey began in 2016 when my daughter was just four. I felt a lump in my breast along with a slight fever, prompting a visit to my gynecologist. At that time, my daughter had just stopped breastfeeding; hence, the doctor suggested the lump might be related to that. Despite not experiencing pain from the lump, I insisted on further examination. The gynecologist recommended an FNAC, which I had done in Indore. The results indicated no cancer. Relieved, we did not pursue further action. However, while in Thailand, the lump grew noticeably larger. Upon returning to India, further examinations, including an MRI, revealed stage 3 breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Treatment

My husband wanted the best treatment, we traveled to Mumbai, leaving our daughter with our joint family. The doctor advised that due to the size of the lump, I should start with chemotherapy cycles before surgery. He also found cancer cells in the axilla of my other arm, necessitating additional surgery. Initially, it was tough to believe I had breast cancer; felt like a nightmare. My daughter's presence and future pushed me to fight back. After four cycles of chemotherapy, I underwent surgery followed by radiation therapy. By March 2017, my breast cancer treatment was complete.

Spirituality

During chemotherapy, I fell into depression and experienced significant pain. A family member suggested maintaining a spiritual connection, so I joined the Brahma Kumaris. There, accepted as I was, even with a scarf covering my hair loss, I found solace. The spiritual sessions, tailored to my schedule, helped me connect deeply with the divine. Accepting my condition marked the beginning of my healing, shifting my focus from the problem to potential solutions.

My Support System

My family was incredibly supportive throughout my breast cancer journey. My husband was initially shocked, but I reassured him, constantly affirming that everything would be fine. My mother-in-law, sister, and brother-in-law were also very supportive. I could leave my daughter with them without any worries. My father was always by my side, accompanying me to every chemotherapy session. My mom was my pillar of strength—her prayers and the meals she sent while I was taking chemotherapy in the hospital, especially on Sundays, were something I looked forward to. Having something to look forward to made the journey much more bearable.

My daughter consistently motivated me. I was determined to provide her with a proper upbringing, so even when I felt broken or returned home exhausted from chemotherapy, I remembered her needs, like her art project due the next day, which required my help. Since it was her first year of school, I didn't want her teachers to think she was falling behind or to feel any emptiness, which kept me motivated. Even in pain, I found the strength to engage and do activities with her.

Life after Cancer

Cancer profoundly changed me. The Brahma Kumaris played a significant role in this transformation. Post-cancer, I became a different person, adopting a new perspective on life and recognizing the importance of happiness.

Life after cancer is beautiful; it has become a part of my articles, poems, or whatever I write. I always say that cancer has made me a better person, and I thank it for coming into my life because it has made me a better human being. I always feel I am blessed with much more than I deserve.

Breast Cancer Relapse

When my cancer recuured, I was able to accept it easily. It wasn’t as difficult for me this time around. During the first occurrence of breast cancer, I underwent a mastectomy. I had noticed tiny mosquito bite-type spots, but I was ignoring them. I usually take homeopathy treatment for normal coughs and colds. Thus, I consulted my homeopathic doctor, who suggested it was an allergy and prescribed a treatment. However, I felt I should consider it more seriously. I visited an oncologist in Indore where my mother-in-law was being checked every six months for breast fibroids. I decided to get myself checked as well. The doctor prescribed an anti-allergic medicine for three days and advised me to return if the symptoms did not recede.

I had assumed that if cancer recurred, it would be on the opposite side, since I had already had a mastectomy. However, I didn't realize it could also occur on the same side.

The subsequent surgery was massive. The doctors removed a flap from my back and placed it on my mastectomy side, and also performed an oophorectomy. This surgery was much more severe compared to the first one.

Following this, my surgeon recommended consulting with a doctor from Tata Memorial Hospital. I then started my targeted therapy, which involved a cycle of 21 days followed by a seven-day break, then another seven days break, and then the cycle resumed. I have undergone 15 cycles so far, and it continues. My doctor indicates that I will need to continue this treatment for a long time, perhaps at least two years, depending on how my recovery progresses. To keep my spirits up, I engage in writing and various art activities, as these pursuits bring me joy.

Cancer- A Blessing in Disguise

Shortly after my second surgery, I participated in an International Literature Festival and shared the stage with Nilotpal Mrinal, Rashmi Ramani and many other elite authors. There, I presented my poem again on cancer: "Jeevan me mere basant aaya hai, aur ye naya mausam mera cancer dost laya hai", in which I address cancer as a friend and a blessing in disguise.

Have faith in God

My relationship with God is straightforward and comforting; I feel like His favored child. This faith reassures me that I am cared for and that every challenge has a purpose. Even when medical procedures are complicated by my inability to have blood drawn from my arms, I find that assistance always arrives precisely when needed, affirming my belief in divine support.

Sangini Support Group

Sangini is a Breast Cancer support group in Indore. I met Anuradha Saxena for my lymphedema issues, and she is a gem of a woman. We arrange picnics where we connect with other cancer survivors, too. I could not make chapatis because of Lymphedema; I was scared it would increase. Still, seeing other survivors doing their routine chores and managing Lymphedema motivated me a lot. Anuradha Saxena was always there to guide and support me.

Parting Message

Don't ask 'why me,' because it is like questioning God. Have faith in God; he has reasons for everything he does. Face everything very happily and courageously. We are God's children; don't grudge upon things, count your blessings, and think about the solutions rather than crying. People should not get scared by hearing that it's cancer because there are treatments, and you can get cured. I want to motivate people and make them fearless.

Why wait for the storms to pass? Why not learn to dance in the rain?

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