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Ivy Joy – Breast Cancer Survivor

Ivy Joy – Breast Cancer Survivor

I was diagnosed with ER+ Stage-2 Breast Cancer. I did not have any symptoms, and I was not someone who regularly did my breast checking, but one night, I had a nudge to do it and was surprised to feel a big lump on my left breast. That moment I felt the lump, I got scared, but it took me a month to finally get it checked. 

I consulted an OB-gyn doctor, who asked me whether I had family members who died of cancer. Her questions made me wonder if this was cancer. I had many questions in my mind like, “Is this cancer? Do I have cancer?” After that appointment, I cried. I really couldn’t help but cry.

Then later that week, God led me to the bible verse Joshua 1:9, Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” 

Treatments I underwent

After coming to terms with my conditions, I began with the treatment. I underwent Mastectomy and six rounds of chemo with Herceptin, plus another 12 rounds of Herceptin and radiation therapy. And since, in Dubai, I was relying on my medical insurance, which was limited to clinics/hospitals under their limit, I did not try any alternative treatments,

My emotional well-being during the treatment

 The main thing that helped me get through the treatment was surrendering everything to God. I prayed to God that if this is the cross I need to carry, I pray for my heart to accept it wholeheartedly. 

Prayer got me through the difficulty of the treatment, and my family, both at home and at church, were my support system who helped me carry myself through the journey. 

My experience with the doctors and the other medical staff

I praise God for my doctors, especially Dr Verushka. She conveyed the news in a very caring way. She didn’t say, “You have cancer”. She didn’t even want to mention the word “cancer” as she knows how the patients usually take it. She called it “bad cells” or “bad lumps”. 

And even when I asked her if I had cancer to make sure I understood it right, she still called them bad cells or lumps. That is the level of sensitivity they had while treating me; that was a source of great confidence and comfort.

Things that helped me through the journey and made me happy

Bible Reading and listening to Christian Podcasts about Faith, Hope while trusting God and listening to worship songs were the main things that helped me. I ran, walked, and ate healthy events throughout the treatment, and I still thank God for being able to run and slowly increase my levels even after my chemo.

I still go out with friends and live an everyday life while starting to be careful in what I eat. Psalms 21:7 For I trust the Lord, through the unfailing love of the Most High, I will not be shaken.

Lifestyle changes during and after the treatment? 

As much as possible, I am now trying to sleep 8 hours, and avoid red meat and more fish, processed and junk food. I eat more greens and fruits and drink more water while avoiding stress. I slowed down a bit from the fast-paced life in Dubai and took more time for solitude, healthier activities and conversations. 

 Life lessons that I got from the cancer journey

  • There is power in surrendering (to God)
  • Choose faith over fear
  • To find joy in the journey that God has set before me, even if it is against my will

Coping with the thoughts of “Why me?” 

Though I try not to question God why there are times that you can’t help but ask, in my lowest time, I asked God, “Why would you allow it to happen to me? It’s not that I am being righteous, but since I became a Christian, I have tried to live my life pleasing to you. Is this some sort of punishment for my sin?”

Then during my daily devotion, God led me to John 9:1-3- As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. And it was affirmed several times through Church sermons, podcasts and a book that I was reading at that time about “Raw Faith.”

Believing I could beat the disease

I always believe that my healing does not depend on how good my doctor is, if the hospital has a good reputation in treating cancer, or if the equipment/machines being used are the latest or high-end. I believe it’s Jesus Christ who has the final say in everything. I think that cancer is no match for Jesus Christ.

As the bible verse says in Jeremiah32:27, I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? 

But, He can also allow my cancer to get worse to the point of death. And if that is the case, I will also pray for my heart to accept it if that is what He sees will be good for me. Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 I thought of this journey as a joyful ride with Jesus, and my faith and God helped and healed me.

My message to cancer patients and caregivers

 Pray, pray and pray. Even if we can’t see how, be confident that God is with us, fighting the battle for us. Praying helps me not to worry about how things will work out. It gives peace to my heart because I know God is in control. Choose faith over fear and become all that God has called you to be.

My thoughts on ZenOnco.io

It’s significant work to do. It’s a big help to have someone with you throughout this journey who you can process your feelings with, someone that could help you feel better, more hopeful and make you think you are not alone. If given a chance and God willing, I would love to be part of this kind of group.

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