The first time I suspected something wrong was on the day of Karwachauth last year. You know, there are some dates which will always stay with you and this is one of those. I was tired and could feel the pain in my breast. I knew something wasn’t right. This was not normal to me. The next day I took a Mirror test (self-test). I felt a lump on my right breast. My husband and I immediately rushed to our gynecologist. We didn’t know this was the beginning of a long and painful journey which was followed by various tests. Unfortunately, biopsy report was not in my favor and I was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. To add this was TNBC (Triple Negative) which spreads aggressively.
My first reaction was complete terror. I thought I was going to die, followed by loads of self-pity. I was not prepared for the shock of my life. My heart raced, and the tears streamed down my face. My husband held me close to him as tears streamed down his face, too. Later that day, we told our families.
It was difficult for me to break this news to my 12 year old son. When I told him, I have breast cancer, he was shocked. Grabbed and hugged me and kept crying. Both of us couldn’t stop weeping. He kept saying, “Mumma, apko kuch hoga toh nahi na.” that was the moment I realized I need to fight and wipe out cancer from our lives. Crying does not cure cancer.
I’ve had 6 rounds of chemo, one surgery and 21 radiation treatments. TNBC is most aggressive type and when doctor saw the reports, he was happy and surprised to see that we took timely action. As per the doctor, if the diagnosis was delayed by 3-4 months it would have reached probably Stage III and could reach up to bones.
It was a heavy dose of reality when I discovered how scary painful emotional and tough the journey would be during active treatment. I was not entirely prepared for the side effects of Chemotherapy. Apart from losing hair from my head, I lost my eyelashes, eyebrows, arm hair, leg hair and lost hair on my other body parts. I felt unattractive but my husband gave me unconditional love and made me feel beautiful inside out. True beauty lies in who you are, not what you look like. My coworkers at my salon knew about my diagnosis. I have been always open about it. They kept motivating me constantly. Friends and family came together to help in any way they could.
Over the time I diverted my mind with my salon work. I also listened to a lot of music to ease the stress. “Remember, take one day at a time, live the moment and never give up.
Here I want to mention explicitly that all oncologists asked me, if I had consumed contraceptive pills for a long time and my answer was…. ‘Yes’ for continuous 6 months ( I had severe acne 2 years back on my jaw line and dermatologist prescribed me pills that helped me to cure my acne completely). This may be one of the reasons.
Also before starting my chemotherapy, doctor suggested 3 things:
#STOP Sugar (Use Jaggery),
#STOP Refined Oil (Use Cold Pressed oil)
#STOP Iodized salt (Use Rock Salt).
And we have been following this routine past one year.
The most important thing I have learned on my breast cancer journey is keeping ‘Right Attitude.’
Now I am cancer free. Back to normal life, thanking god.
A small request, Cancer doesn’t discriminate. It can affect anyone at any age, of any culture, of any education level and economic status. We all need to be proactive about our health. It’s so important to arm ourselves with knowledge, keep doing mirror test at home every month, eliminate unhealthy habits from our lives, and listen to our bodies.
After all, it’s our lives on the line. We matter.