I knew I had breast cancer when I initially discovered a lump in my right breast. I learned how cancer worked and knew my medical history, so I did not think much about it and ignored it for two weeks. When the lump was still there, I discussed it with my husband, who told me it was better to see a doctor about it than wait. We decided to consult the issue in a nearby hospital, and they confirmed a lump in my breast, but it was not malignant.
Once the centre confirmed that the lump was not malignant, I was convinced I did not have cancer. We, as a family, never really believed in allopathic medicines. Since this was not a severe issue, we contacted an Ayurveda doctor near my home who prescribed medication for four months.
The lump was not cured even after I took the ayurvedic medicines, and my husband consulted one of his friends, who was a doctor, who suggested that we get a biopsy done as soon as possible. Since the lump was not cured, we decided to take his advice, and the biopsy showed that I had breast cancer.
Consultation and diagnosis of my cancer
Since this happened during the pandemic, we were not allowed to consult doctors in person; at that time, my son, who was living in California, contacted a few of his friends and came in touch with a doctor in Bangalore who was willing to consult with us. So through this contact, we set up an online appointment with him.
The doctor in Bangalore confirmed that it was cancer but assured us it was curable since it was in its initial stages. The doctor asked me to take some tests and suggested that surgery was the best option. I was determined to complete the operation as soon as possible because I was eager to return home and to my everyday healthy life. I had also received news that my daughter-in-law was pregnant, which was another motivation for me to recover as quickly as possible.
The emotional support I had from my family
Except for my husband and my children, I made sure I did not disclose the news to anyone in my family. I had all the support I could receive from them, and I did not want to involve everyone in the process and worry them unnecessarily. My brothers and sisters would call me regularly, and I still did not tell them the news. I underwent surgery successfully, recovered quickly, and was discharged in two days.
The news of the disease affected my children, and they were concerned for me, but my husband, even though he was very worried, made sure he stayed strong for me. That motivated me to stay strong and get through the treatment too.
The only time I felt the weight of the issue was when I started chemotherapy. After the surgery, the doctors conducted some tests to ensure the cancer was eradicated. Seeing the results, they suggested that it was safer for me to undergo chemotherapy. I went through the treatment, and when my hair started falling when I felt the lowest.
Effects that the treatment had on my body
The determination to beat cancer pulled me through the process. The doctor suggested I drink water and walk as much as possible. By the time I was done with the first cycle of chemotherapy, I had all the symptoms that a patient could have. I was getting very sick when I asked my son to admit me to the hospital. As I moved to the second and third cycles of chemotherapy, my determination became stronger, and I motivated myself with the fact that I needed to be there for the birth of my grandchild.
Lifestyle changes that helped me with the cancer treatment
I had been practising yoga for a long time, and even after the surgery, I continued my practice. The surgery made moving my right arm and back a bit difficult, but I made sure that did not set me back.
Apart from this, I also made a lot of dietary changes. I included a lot of fruits and vegetables into my food and made sure I took a lot of liquids as I went through the remaining cycles of chemotherapy. I cut out rice, sugar and oil from my diet to maintain weight. Twenty days after the chemotherapy was complete, I was already feeling better and back to my usual self in no time.
My mental and emotional well-being during the journey
My husband was my pillar of support throughout the journey. I had asked him to live in denial about the whole situation, especially when it came to our relatives. My response to all the treatments was good, so we were not too worried about the disease. I was at a point where I had lived life to the fullest and had no regrets, so I was ready to face anything my way.
Not telling anyone about the disease helped me a lot. It saved me the time and energy of keeping them up to date on my condition and constantly being in touch with them. I realised that involving so many people would have been counterproductive, and only having five people in my life who supported me worked for me.
Lessons that cancer taught me and my advice to other patients
A positive mindset and looking at the disease will help you the best above all the other remedies. I believe that I could get through this process because I was ready to face anything that was to happen to me. I started believing that cancer was something that was happening to me and not something that I had. I learned not to make the disease a part of me, which gave me the confidence I needed to get through it.
If there is one thing I would tell people going through a similar journey, it would be to look for the positives in the negatives. Everyone will follow the doctor’s advice and keep up with the treatment, but if you don’t have the positivity to keep you motivated, there is no use. Whatever happened, accept it and move forward and put up a strong fight.