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Meera Raj (Breast Cancer Survivor)

Meera Raj (Breast Cancer Survivor)

Symptoms and diagnosis

I'm Mira Raj, 72 years old, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. When I went for a routine examination, I felt hardness in my breast. There was no lump. I did my test and was confident that it would not be cancer. When I saw the result, it was so shocking. While coming down the stairs, I stopped and sat on the steps. Fortunately, I had a close friend who lived close to me and was a clinical psychologist. So I spoke with her, and she calmed me down. 

Treatments underwent

I had six chemos twice a week and then once in three weeks for about five months. I had all the difficulties of chemotherapy, first of all, the hair fall. My son came with the wick, but I didn't want to wear much. Initially, I wore them when I went out. Then, when my hair grew about an inch, I stopped wearing it. 

Helping other cancer patients

I moved to Site Care to help other cancer patients. I tell them it's not the end of the world. It's just a pause, not a complete stop. Do your best, give your best, and get back the best. After I recovered, I went to Doctor Pies. I asked him to let me speak and help all the patients. He agreed and said that I would be India's first navigator. I have gone about six times abroad to help other cancer patients. Wherever I go, whoever I speak to, I tell them I'm a cancer survivor. 

My support system

We need a lot of family support and encouragement for your family. For me, more than family, it was friends because I have a lot of friends. They would stay for days when nobody was around and things like that. Friends are family.

Positive changes in me

I'm a retired professor of English, and I've enjoyed it thoroughly. My surgeon always says that I can put a smile on anybody's face. I always try to do that with all my cancer patients. To a large extent, I would succeed because it's all about being with them and telling them that it's okay and you can get over it. 

There are two individuals whose stories I feel compelled to share. One woman once inquired whether I had regained my health. She didn't know much about my situation. Another was a young mother with two daughters. While caring for her third child, she discovered she had cancer, despite being in her mid-20s or early twenties. Throughout her chemotherapy sessions, I would visit her and offer support. Initially, she believed her prognosis was dire because of cancer, but I reminded her that life's uncertainties extend beyond illness; she could walk out of the hospital, cross the road, and encounter an accident. Despite the uncertainty, she cherished the time she had with her children, however long or short. Witnessing her recovery and subsequent checkups before I left the hospital was heartening.

The life lesson that I have learned

The first lesson is self-prioritization—physically, mentally, and emotionally. Don't postpone taking care of yourself, whether it's through diet or exercise. My lifestyle has undergone a significant transformation; I now prioritize regular exercise and limit my intake of sweets. Keeping both mind and body active is crucial; avoid prolonged periods of inactivity and negative influences. Surround yourself with positivity and distance yourself from friends who bring negativity. Giving to others brings immense satisfaction and happiness. Remember, regardless of the illness, seek support and encouragement. For breast cancer survivors, reassure them that hair grows back and breast reconstruction is possible. Stay positive and focus on self-care, physically and emotionally, striving to maintain well-being.

Secondly, emphasize the importance of seeking support during challenging times. Encourage individuals to reach out and share their burdens with others. Offer reassurance to breast cancer survivors facing hair loss or mastectomy, reminding them that recovery is possible. Encourage self-care practices to uplift spirits and promote emotional healing. Although circumstances may change, maintaining a positive outlook and maximizing personal well-being is essential. Emphasize the significance of staying connected with supportive networks and seeking assistance when needed. By fostering resilience and finding strength in the community, individuals can navigate difficulties with greater confidence and perseverance.

How the cancer journey changed me

It was initially a difficult journey when I was going through treatment. It opened up my life, gave me a new profession, and put me in touch with thousands of people. I have a thousand stories, and everyone has met and blessed me. I wonder how many people's blessings have I got? Even now, I keep getting that feedback, so it's been an incredible journey after my cancer. I can say it was much better than earlier also. I could influence and interact with so many people you see on TV on paper. Initially, journalists used to interview me. I used to go to General Gods. They didn't know anything about the disease.

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