Supriya Goel (Breast Cancer Survivor)- Cancer is another term for “Can Survive”

I am really thankful to god that he has given me the strength so that I can share my experience with others and everybody can be benefited through my journey. 

I am from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, and I have always been a tomboy and a sportsperson since childhood. I was also involved in martial arts, skating, and yoga. 

I wanted to join the defence, but being in a small town, people have a different mentality due to which my father did not allow me to join the defense. So I became an Interior designer and started working. But I kept a choice in front of my father that I want to get married to a Defence Officer to which he agreed. 

Now I’m a Naval Officer’s wife and my dream indirectly came true. My choice of getting married to a defence officer was only because I could stay active lifelong. My husband always supported me after marriage and I continued sports as my hobby. After a few years, I was blessed with a son and life got busy. After marriage, there are a lot of responsibilities with family and relatives. Also, as soon as a child comes, you become overloaded with work. You will not be able to give time for yourself and do what you actually love to do since you are preoccupied with so many activities. I think this can build up your frustration. I became a cleanliness freak and started cribbing for not finding something in the right place. I also started overthinking and became very short-tempered. I kept on imagining all the negative things in my life. There was a lot of negativity in my thinking because of which I started developing depression. My life was very good, it was as I always wanted it to be, but I couldn’t see it. 

There are so many things to be happy about but we neglect it and keep on clinging to things which are not even important. 

Diagnosis and Treatment-

In October 2017, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. It was a shock for me and my family. Being a sportsperson, I rarely used to get ill. My friends said that if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone because I used to run 5 kms, went to the gym, practiced yoga and had a very systematic routine. I was particular about my eating habits as well.

One day while taking shower, I noticed a lump in my breast. I told my husband about it and we decided to get it checked. Initially, the test came negative but we still decided to get the lump removed. When the lump was tested in the lab after removal, it was malignant.

Initially, when I got to know about it, I couldn’t accept it. Till date, I haven’t really accepted that I have a serious disease called cancer and that has helped me keep myself positive throughout the treatment. I let the doctors do their duty, but I always reassure myself that nothing has happened and I will be able to get past this. From then, my mindset and outlook towards life has changed. I am not immortal, everyone has to die someday but I do not want to die with regrets. As my medical journey started, my journey towards positivity also started. 

My first surgery was done in Naval Hospital, Mumbai after which we shifted to Tata Memorial Hospital for further treatment. Luckily, I did not have to go through Chemotherapy because I got diagnosed in the early stage. I underwent Radiation for 25 days followed by injections. I had a lot of reactions on my face and watery eyes due to the injections which made me very conscious to come out in public. But now I feel that those were very petty things to worry about. I am ready to face the world as I am. 

Nothing can break you if you are mentally strong- 

If you think that nothing is wrong, you will stay positive and the treatment will be successful. Trust your doctors and reach out to them for any doubts or issues that you might have. 

After my first surgery, I was having a pipe attached to my underarm and a box connected to it for fluid to accumulate. I started going out for a walk within 4-5 days of my surgery with the bag attached to my body. I started doing all my work and even went to the market without anyone knowing that I had just been operated on. I kept myself mentally strong and decided that I will not let cancer and surgery change my life. I will live actively the way I used to. Nothing can break you if you are mentally strong.

After my treatment, I got to know about Pinkathon in Mumbai through a friend. I was skeptical about running because I had just gone through the surgery and Radiation. But a voice inside me said that I should run. I should give it a chance. So I went ahead and registered for the 3 km run. My husband, mother and a friend ran along with me to support me. I felt so proud of myself because I did that after 1 month of my treatment. Doing this brought a lot of confidence and motivation within me. 

After a few months of cancer treatment, my mother asked me the one thing that I would love to do. I thought for some time and realised that I love riding bikes. I used to do it in my college days and also rode my husband’s bike after marriage but only for short distances. I got this inspiration from a lady on facebook who has ridden bikes for long trips. I admired her a lot and realised that I would love to have my own bike and go for a long trip. So in December 2018, I gifted myself a motorcycle. After about 6-7 months, I met a lady biker in Visakhapatnam. I am now connected to 25 women bikers in my city and we all ride for the cause of Cancer Awareness. 

I went for a 23 day ride from Visakhapatnam to Goa via Kanyakumari and it was my longest ride ever. That bike ride changed my view towards life. We also gave this ride a name- Ride, Rise and Rediscover. That ride has changed my life and I found my happiness. It felt good to break the taboo. If men can ride, why can’t I? The key is to find things that make you happy and eliminate negativity from life. 

Change in Lifestyle after Cancer-

I started eating healthier food and quit junk food for almost 2 years. I started doing Yoga and Meditation. According to the doctor, I should not lift more than 2 kgs of weight. I suggest every cancer patient and survivor do  things that keep you happy. My eyesight has decreased and I also put on some weight after cancer but I am working on it. I’m sure I’ll be a winner in the end.

The most important thing is support and care from your family. Cancer actually breaks you mentally. So if you are surrounded by your family who are constantly looking after you then nothing else matters. 

Parting message-

You have survived the biggest problem in your life. Cancer can be also seen as “Can Survive”. If you are sitting and reading this, then you have survived it. Now, enjoy your life and do things that make you happy. 

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