Monday, June 27, 2022

I am Sudha Neupane, from Lumbini, Nepal. I am a breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019, and now all cured. I want to share my journey with other cancer fighters and survivors like me. Many people when they hear the word cancer, get alarmed and have negative thoughts to start to swarm their minds like the condition is deadly and there is no way out. But that is not the situation, cancer is treatable and curable. We have to follow the oncologist’s advice and receive the treatment.

The reports

When I first saw the reports my initial thoughts were I am going to die. My thoughts turned around that there are many people surviving cancer. I can survive without coming to conclusions. I believe in listening to the doctors and looking for the best treatment options available. 

My mother was ill and I was with her at the time of the diagnosis. Everyone in the family kept on saying it is just cancer, it can be treated. After three days of diagnosis, we moved to India temporarily for breast cancer treatment. We went to Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital, Delhi. We then rented a place and started the treatment. We encountered people from our community, who came to Delhi for their six-year-old daughter’s blood cancer treatment.

The treatment started with a Sudha Neupane, which confirmed carcinoma. The cancer was triple-negative breast cancer, which means it is not hormonal and it has less targeted treatment options, with low survival rates. The treatment plan for me was surgery followed by eight chemotherapy sessions and twenty radiation therapy sessions which lasted for eight months. 

Support system

The person who supported me the most was my Father-in-law. My husband had to work hard to support the cancer treatment financially and my Father-in-law supported me emotionally. I feel very lucky to have all people that care for me during the hard times. My father-in-law always used to tell me that “we will fight this together”. Whenever I feel emotionally down, I remember my children, I am their mother. I relieve the memories with my children, which helped me a lot. 

The acceptance 

The biggest emotional distress is acceptance. I found it hard to accept the reality that I was diagnosed with breast cancer even during the treatment. Slowly I changed my thoughts and accepted that this is the new normal, I have to live through this phase to pass through this phase of life. 

My appearance took a toll on me with all the hair loss and weight loss. I stopped looking at the mirror for six months. 

I always had the thought of ‘Why me’. I am young, have a happy family, I never had a bad lifestyle. I realized age is just a number. I was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer at the age of twenty-seven. Also later I found out that the statistics show that out of every 10 women 8 are affected by breast cancer. I eventually told myself that it can be anyone that is affected by cancer, not only me, I have to fight cancer and get back to my normal life like before cancer.

With all the support from the loved ones, best treatment from the doctors I was cured well and back to my life before cancer. 

Treatment suggestions

Many people try to avoid cancer treatment due to various reasons. But once cancer is diagnosed it can be overwhelming, and confusing but talking to a doctor for the available options regarding their cancer type and cancer treatments or therapies can help to make a better decision regarding the choice of treatment. Everyone has their perspective of viewing things but one should never delay the treatment, or should never consider it as a pain and hard way. Even though coping with cancer treatment can be a challenge, it is necessary.

After cancer

There are small changes in diet like I completely avoided eating outside food, I take regular walks now. I regularly get follow-up checkups every three months without fail. 

Life lessons

Your body tells you everything, you have to listen to your body when there is something not normal, don’t ignore the signs. Self-care is very important. 

After the age of 25, every woman should get a regular mammogram, as a part of self-care. 

Cancer is not the end, it is just a phase. It can be treated and cured. 

Listen to your doctors and follow the treatment options provided. Never avoid or delay mainstream cancer therapies. The alternative and complementary therapies aid the mainstream therapies and help to cope with cancer treatments but cannot treat or cure cancer. 

Parting message

Every woman after the age of twenty-five should do self-examination, never ignore any signs given by the body and get a mammogram done regularly. 

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