Let’s start with a brief introduction of mine. I am a 32 year old female residing in Mumbai with my lovely family. There are 6 of us- My husband, 2 yr. old son, father in law (67), mother in law (65) and Bua in law (my father in law’s sister- 75 yrs. old). My parents reside in Delhi.
By profession, I am an HR working with an FMCG company.
In June’19, when the life was moving as usual, I detected a tiny lump in my left breast. I conveniently ignored the lump when I first felt, thinking that it isn’t anything serious and may dissolve on its own. Afterall, I can’t be the one having ‘that’ lump which we generally read about in Breast Cancer (BC) related news. Further, I am just 32, while even the voluntary mammogram tests (in India) are suggested to be done only after the age of 40.
Little did I know, that this tiny lump had the potential to change my life forever.
Few weeks later, the lump was persisting and I discussed about it with my Husband, who suggested of discussing the same with doctor. In one of the visits to my regular dermatologist (on 15th Sep’19), I mentioned about the presence of this lump which has increased in size by now. The doctor checked and asked me to immediately get a ‘sono-mammogram’ done. The concern in her voice made me rush immediately to a nearby hospital. The test was done. While my radiologist was working on the report, I kept on looking at her face to find any signs of concern. Finally, the report which mentioned the presence of a ‘malignant tumor’ was handed over to me and I was asked to meet an oncologist. On my way back to home, I was thinking and hoping as well for the report to be wrong; further how the hell would I find an oncologist?
I reached home & disclosed the diagnosis to my family and we unanimously agreed that the report can be wrong 😊.
However, since, I had already delayed the matter by a few months and there was a visible concern in the voice of my dermatologist & radiologist, my family decided to get an opinion from an oncologist as well to rule out chances of cancer. With no family history of Cancer and not having come across any cancer patients earlier there were a lot of thoughts running in my head. What if the diagnosis is not wrong? Am I gonna die because of cancer? How much time is left with me? However, what I was sure of is, even if it is cancer, from this day onwards I am going to give it my best fight till I am alive.
Online searches and reaching out to local communities helped us zero down an Onco-surgeon in Mumbai for Breast Cancer. Fate made us meet one of the BC survivors residing in our apartments itself. In our first meeting with them, the survivor family (husband & wife) opened up for a hearty chat and shared their entire 7-8 mths cancer journey with us. The way they had fought cancer was really encouraging & instilled a new hope in us that survival is possible if the battle is fought with complete positivity & mental strength. We learnt about the line of treatment from them and settled our anxiety. Infact, they were the ones who recommended one of the best Onco-surgeons to us and helped get an immediate appointment.
So, the next day we went to see the doc. We were being positive and hence, while waiting outside the doctor’s room, we were still praying for the diagnosis to be wrong. Our turn came & we met one of the most chilled out doctors (much needed for a doc dealing with cancer patients). Biopsy & PETScan followed. Results came and on 19th Sep’19 and I was informed that I have Stage-2 Breast cancer. However, the good news was that while cancer had spread to my lymph nodes it had not metastasized to any other organ. Hence, was a better case of being CURABLE.
‘CURABLE’, this was the most precious word I had heard in past 6 days and gave me courage to prepare better for the battles which are going to come during my treatment.
These 6 days taught me a lot & looking back I now feel grateful to Cancer (yes, I am crazy) for making me experience these days & many more which tested my confidence, determination and ability to fight. Few lessons I learnt:
- While fate is decided by the superpower, our destiny is decided by the choices & decisions we make. In these 6 days of uncertainty, when I didn’t know where my fate is taking me – I chose not to spend time worrying & giving up on LIFE here & now. I chose not to cry when day by day the diagnosis of cancer in my body was getting firmed up by each diagnostic test. I chose to lead the life with happiness at home and at work and I feel proud of these choices that I made which became the bedrock of my journey henceforth.
- When calamity strikes, it’s not only you but your entire family fights. Battles which are fought together give the toughest fight to the opponent. Hence, Love & Respect your family unconditionally.
- In case of cancer, Early detection does save life. When unsure of the reason for something unusual you are experiencing in your body, DO NOT IGNORE it. Show to the doctor. In case of breast or armpit symptoms like lump or a secretion – your gynecologist can advise for a mammogram if needed.
The life & my perspective towards life have changed dramatically post this diagnosis. I will keep penning down the journey as it unfolds and my feelings & learnings during the same.
Coming up next- Breaking the news to near & dear ones- Oh..It’s Cancer!