Real Life Stories
From Fear To Freedom
“If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages , then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally, “Give up or fight back”.
It is difficult to come across people who are willing to expose their most vulnerable selves to the world, so that the world can benefit from their experience. Especially when it comes to breast cancer, most women prefer to be guarded about their disease, not wanting to share details, fearing judgement and unwanted sympathy for a woman. For a woman, her breasts are not just that define her femininity, they are very personal and sensitive to her.
In such circumstances it is rare to hear a patient introducing herself as follows: My name is KANIKA ARORA . I am 34 years old now, a teacher by profession. I am not just a cancer survivor; I am a cancer conqueror. If my story can help others, then it is worth sharing every detail. This is the journey of my triumph over cancer.”
When I heard the heart rendering words, “It’s cancer””. I was 32 years old, a happily married woman with 2 children, I was totally busy in studying bachelor in education [B.Ed] at that time. I can proudly say that I have completed my B.Ed during my treatment. I used to complete my assignmnets on the bed of the hospital and sat for my exams after the 3rd day of my chemotherapy.
One unfortunate day, I noticed a lump in my left side breast, I was confused as to what it was? I informed my husband about this and he promptly said that we should not waste time and he immediately took an appointment with one of the surgeons we knew very well. Next day we both visited the surgeon and he prescribed for an ultrasound. I got it done on the very next day. I got the report in the evening, I immediately went back to the surgeon, he said it’s nothing but only a lump and will be removed through surgery. I was much relaxed and thought it was only a surgery, but still wanted to take a second opinion.
Then I searched DR. RAJINDER KAUR SAGGU from Apollo Hospital on Internet, I took an appointment with her . She guided me for an FNAC test. I got it done and came back home because my reports were supposed to come in the evening. In the evening I got to know that my reports were complicated and I was advised for further investigations, an MRI and biopsy. I was shocked at that time. Next day again I went to the hospital for my tests.
During the MRI test, I continuously chanted and prayed to God for better results. The doctor asked me for biopsy and it also got done and the reports came after two days. Waiting for my biopsy results was absolutely scary. After two days of nervous anticipation, I finally received my biopsy reports which confirmed CANCER, the lump was malignant. It was Invasive Duct Carcinoma. I was devastated and cried continuously. My entire world had turned upside down within one second. I thought God was extremely unfair to me. . I remember, when I was returning home, unable to stop my tears from flowing. My family was trying really hard to support me and to convince me that I was going to be alright.
Nevertheless, I was thankful that my breast cancer was caught early. My family was the outmost support at that time but my biggest supporters were my mother in law, father in law, husband, and my younger sister . As I embarked upon this journey, it gave me plenty of knowledge about cancer. To start with my treatment, I was hospitalized for two days for whole body PET scan (for Staging of disease), Chemoport implantation for easy intake of chemotherapy medicine, and my first chemotherapy cycle.
I cannot forget my first chemo as it was horrible, I still remember after that I could not eat anything for three days. On the third day when I felt better I sat with my kids, played with them and chatted with them. It was so much relieving when your lovely kids are around with you. I forgot my pain and just wanted to be with my kids. The one highlighted side effect is that every patient has a lot of trouble coming to terms with loss of hair.
About two weeks after my first chemotherapy, I started losing my hair, discovering bunch of them on my pillow each time I couldn’t swallow the drastic change in my appearance, and it broke me down a little. I was devastated with my baldness, but I pulled myself up, and decided to focus on the positive aspects. “For me chemotherapy had worked” as Dr. Saggu explained me that if your hair falls after 2nd chemotherapy that means the medication is working.
I experienced minimal physical pain as opposed to the painful stigma one usually associates with the term “CANCER”. My emotional pain gradually reduced as I could see myself growing better. Although I lost my eyelashes and eyebrows, and I was completely bald, I did not care as I started searching for caps and scarves and I ordered some beautiful caps online . I initially got four chemotherapy cycles , then breast conserve surgery [BCS] and after it continued with four more chemotherapy cycles and 25 sittings of radiation. It took 6 months to complete my treatment with full support and love of my family.
Dr. Rajinder kaur was the biggest support as she was very positive and really helpful and explained the entire treatment to me very patiently and nicely. She gave me hope that despite difficulties in the journey of breast cancer treatment, the destination was going to be beautiful and worth it with my life being saved. Most importantly, it is important to have a good doctor , whom you can believe in for most suitable treatment and good quality of life in later years.
Now, that I am done with my treatment. I started my life on a healthier note. My hair began to grow back and my personal and social life is as normal as ever. On 3rd may 2018 I started working as a teacher in a school. Cancer could not take away my physical attributes and strength. I have learnt to live by trusting God for his ways, I cannot live in fear of the future or keep thinking of the past.
Now, I am completely, one hundred percent living my life to the fullest in the present. I love people even more deeply as life is finite. I strive to take the best care of my spiritual, physical and emotional health. I am more observant, always prioritizing what is necessary and more thankful for what I have. But this journey does not define me I’m not identified as somebody who had breast cancer I’m identified as somebody who conquered it and is so much more than just an ex-patient.
This journey wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my family , my doctor Dr. Rajinder Kaur Saggu and every single person who has fully supported me. I would always be eternally grateful to them. Finally, I would like to say, “DEAR CANCER, I WIN,”