My family’s journey with cancer began when I was just nine years old. My mother was diagnosed with cancer for the very first time. My mother found a lump in her left breast and decided to consult a doctor, who asked her to take PET and CT scan. It was through those test results that we came to know that she had stage 1 breast cancer.
The whole family felt numb when they heard the news, except for me, because I was too young even to understand the term “cancer”, and all that I remember from those times is that there were a few tubes inserted in her back and blood used to flow from them. Every time I saw the pipes and the blood, I used to feel terrible. The doctors suggested that she undergo surgery with chemotherapy and radiation. My mother went through all these treatments and was cured, and we went back to our regular life.
The second encounter with cancer
But, five years later, she again felt another lump in her left breast and consulted her oncologist about what she should do. We were again asked to take the same tests, and this time she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. We went through the same process of surgery with chemotherapy and radiation, and she was once again cured, and life was back on track.
Third relapse of cancer
We thought we were done with cancer and that life would be every day again. Five years later, when my mom and I had gone shopping, she experienced breathlessness and fell unconscious at the shop. I took her home, and she rested for a while and was fine after that, so we didn’t think much about it. But, a few days later, her voice became very dull, and her throat choked up, so we consulted a doctor who told us that there was a throat infection and prescribed some antibiotics and steroids.
She completed the course of medicines but was still not feeling better. We just had a thought to consult her oncologist, and when we visited him and told him the symptoms, he pressed around her throat area and said to us that he felt a lump.
We ran a few tests and found that the cancer had returned in a very aggressive form. She was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that had metastasised to her brain, throat region and bones. The doctor gave us a prognosis of four months, and if we were lucky, she would live for six months.
Alternative treatments that she took
The doctor also told us that it was our choice about whether or not we wanted to go through the treatment process, and that it was not going to help in any way and that it was too late. But my dad wasn’t ready to give up. He tried all alternative treatments that he could. We first tried radiation and chemotherapy, but as doctors had said before, it got us no positive results. After that, we opted for oral chemotherapy along with ayurvedic treatment, which also failed to show any results.
She was a fighter
But my mom was a fighter. She wanted to put up a fight, and one thing that she told me was no matter how this journey ended, there would never be an opinion that I gave up. Every time we took a scan and came to know that her cancer had progressed, the whole family would be discouraged, but she always had hope and told us that this too should pass.
We continued with different treatments and had regular tests and check-ups, and a year went by with the cancer progressing and treatments not working on her. When we visited the oncologist for a routine consultation, he was shocked to know that she was still alive despite the progress in the disease. It made us all understand that her willpower was the only medicine that kept her alive and increased her life expectancy.
Our search for hope
Meanwhile, my dad, on one side, was on a constant search for any doctor or treatment that would help her. He mailed her reports to different countries, and all of them replied that the cancer was too advanced to be treated.
Two years passed, and my mother was still doing pretty well without any treatment. Our oncologist spoke to us about a new targeted drug that was in the US and told us to give it a try. We imported the medication, and she went through a whole cycle of chemotherapy, but that drug also failed to show results.
Her fight till death
Even a combination of immunotherapy with homoeopathy did not help her three years went by, and the doctors were in disbelief about how she still survived. At that point, we had exhausted all the treatments and therapies that she could try, and there were no medicines for her stage and type of cancer. After struggling with the disease for four long years, she finally took her last breath.
Practices she followed through the journey.
One thing that she did throughout her journey was practice a lot of yoga and meditation. She also followed an alkaline diet, which we believe increased her life expectancy even though the cancer was progressing. I would highly recommend it to anyone going through cancer treatment.
Message to cancer patients
Although this story has a sad ending, one thing it taught me is no matter what God has planned for us. We should always have the courage to fight battles with solid willpower and never give up. I believe that having such an attitude will move the odds in your favour. My mother, who was given a prognosis of three months, survived for almost four years because she had the willpower to stay, which is inspiring.