When I was diagnosed with cancer of the breast in February 2009, I was shocked but was positive that I was going to beat it.
Surgery for breast cancer can either be a mastectomy or a lumpectomy. My surgeon suggested a lumpectomy for me (removal of just the lump as against removing the entire breast), which meant my right breast would be smaller than my left. Fittings for bras and blouses were going to be difficult in the future. That was going to be the last of my worries. Being around to wear those with beautiful sarees was priority.
My surgeon at Apollo Hospitals was very understanding, patient and friendly and that is very important especially when you are undergoing a major surgery. He explained the entire procedure and put me at ease.
The surgery took around 2-3 hours during which the lump from my right breast was removed along with the lymph nodes and sent for biopsy.
Then started consultations with oncologists regarding the course of treatment. They were emphatic that I needed 6 cycles of chemotherapy followed by 28 sittings of radiation to the area. We took three independent opinions on the treatment.
The treatment for cancer is a nightmare in itself. It drains you and your near ones out physically, emotionally and financially.
Chemotherapy drugs, cycles, dosages, methods differ from person to person, type of cancer, stages of cancer, location of cancer.
The oncologist explained the side effects of chemotherapy, some of which were going to be temporary. Each cycle would be 3 weeks apart.
I decided to go hep and get a boy cut done before my first chemo. (This was the first short hairdo for me!!!) I was anyway going to lose all my hair during the treatment. I lost all my hair two days before my second cycle. I did not get a wig but just used colourful scarves to cover my shining bald pate. I saved on shampoos and conditioners for 6 months… J Surprisingly I did not lose my eyebrows and eyelashes. My nails turned black.
The chemo drugs induced nausea and acidity. The first two days after the chemotherapy were not very comfortable…nausea, mouth ulcers, acidity and a general tiredness. The key to counter all these was to eat right. It was important to keep the blood count up and remain healthy.
After the 6 cycles were completed we started with 28 sittings of radiation which were relatively pain free. All these were completed by the first week of September and we breathed a sigh of relief.
I was advised a PET CT scan in December to ensure that no rogue cancer cells were left behind in my body.
The entire journey was, to be honest, painful but I consider myself truly blessed that I won that battle.
I forgot the entire nightmare when I saw my daughter graduate as a lawyer, get married to a good person, blessed with a wonderful family. The pain was forgotten when I held my little grandson in my arms immediately after his birth. Every moment of those 7 months are worth it when I share a cup of coffee with my husband and chat.
I go for my annual check-up without fail, meet my oncologist for a physical examination every 6 months and am always alert to any changes in my body.
It was exactly on 27th of Feb 2009 that I went into Apollo Hospitals to meet the doctor and set the ball rolling. It has been 7 years now. And I am cancer free.
I can proudly say I AM A SURVIVOR!!!