In February 2019, I felt a lump in my breast, and I consulted a gynaecologist. The doctor said that the lump was benign, and I was advised to go to a general surgeon to remove the lump. When the Surgery was done and biopsy reports came, it was revealed that I had Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) grade 3, which is a very aggressive type of Breast Cancer. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, I knew I had to do whatever it took to become a survivor. Since my diagnosis, I have survived, thrived and helped others on similar cancer journeys.
It came as a shock
When my cancer was diagnosed, it came as a shock. I was not ready to accept it. No one in my family believed it. My father said that we would go for another biopsy and test. As per my understanding, I was a very fit person. I did not have any other health issues. I delivered my baby in 2015. I was as active as anyone else. Being diagnosed with cancer was a sudden shock for me. Finally, I accepted it and decided to move ahead and fight it. Now I see my life in two parts. One is the pre-cancer diagnosis phase, and the second is the post-cancer diagnosis phase.
My surgical oncologist told me that a second surgery was required to ensure that no part of the cancerous lump remained in my body. A few more tests were done, and I was found HER2-positive. Then the treatment was outlined, and I underwent a second surgery. Eight cycles of chemotherapy, 15 sessions of radiation, and 17 doses of targeted therapy were administered to me as part of the treatment. I completed my breast cancer treatment in March 2020, which was a difficult phase. It was challenging to stay positive, but I had the support of my family throughout the journey, and my doctors and nurses were also very motivating.
After breast cancer, a lot of things changed. There were so many side effects associated with it. There were many challenges I went through daily, but my family helped me. I had severe nausea during chemotherapy. Whenever I used to go to the hospital, that smell caused me nausea. It had a very negative impact on my mental status also. Sometimes, due to side effects, people leave their treatment incomplete. My advice to them is, please complete your treatment. If there are any side effects, get them treated. There is a treatment for everything.
It is a mental battle
Cancer is more of a mental battle than a physical battle. The diagnosis of cancer and its treatment both are challenging to handle. But keep yourself strong. Medicine can break your body, but it can not break your mind. Try to read motivational books or talk to someone close to you. Try a different way to keep depression away. During treatment, your body becomes weak, and during that time, the chances of becoming mentally fragile are high. So, keep a check on it. Try to do some physical activity. Keep yourself engaged in various activities. Remember that the best treatment does not work if you take stress or are mentally not fit.
Eating well and exercising is a way of life for me. It is essential to keep a sense of yourself, a sense of your lifestyle, and not have that be altered too much because of cancer. There is no excuse for ignoring yourself and not caring for yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will do it. Even after getting a cure, follow a routine life. This will help in future. It is not only about cancer. If you do not follow a healthy lifestyle. You can have some other health issues also.
Follow your doctor
People will be full of advice on what to do, what to eat and a bunch of remedies but do what you feel is good for you. Most importantly, follow your doctor’s advice. Come out of questions like “why me” and keep yourself positive and motivated because life after cancer is much more beautiful than life before cancer.
Message for others
Cancer is projected as a deadly disease, but this is not the reality. If treated on time and followed all the protocols, it is a curable disease. There are many happy and successful stories we should focus on. I met many older people who had survived stage 4 cancer during my cancer journey. ZenOnco is doing a tremendous job in this direction. It is praiseworthy.