Real Life Stories
Faith in Almighty
The word “Cancer” is deadly and scary. That’s what people say and I believe it’s true. That’s why I would like to share my story because if I can survive this, anyone can. A person like me, who never smoked, drank alcohol, took any drugs, had no family history of cancer, a vegetarian whole life, even then a few cancerous cells can be born and show up suddenly in form of a breast lump and takes you by surprise. One can be a happy cancer survivor like me. I did not think like this when I was diagnosed with solitary bone metastatic breast cancer. (spread to single bone, rib in my case).
It was February 2018 when I felt a lump in my left breast. I went to a big hospital near my home, where my scans and FNAC was done. I was informed that I had cancer limited to breast so they can do surgery for it and asked me to get admitted. That small lump completely shattered me and my family. My life changed drastically; it was unbelievable as I was just 33 years old and my kids who were just 18 months and 8 years old. At first, my assumption that there are no chances of survival made me ask my husband to save money children and let me go.
I had no hope for survival and that’s when my mother-in-law came to my rescue. She sat beside and said “Even if you don’t want to live and your life seems unfair, you have to live. Not for me or your husband, but for your kids. Don’t think that you are troubling the family. We are here with you. You just fight for your kids.” This completely changed my perspective and gave me the strength to fight back and have a wonderful life ahead. Now that I look back, that moment seems funny and stupid because who would not want to live and wish for death.
My mother-in-law and husband were my pillars of strength. She did everything to keep the environment of the house positive and cheerful. She is very old and had some back issues. Still, she do everything for my kids. As we decided for a second opinion, we went to Indraprastha Apollo hospital and met Dr Rajinder Kaur Saggu, she listened very patiently, assured and counselled me with her gentle smile that best of treatments are available to get rid of breast cancer now a days and there is nothing to afraid of and I should put my faith on Waheguru ji.
I underwent PET MRI scan and my cancer was declared metastatic due to a spot in my rib bone which had to be treated too. Even then Dr. Saggu motivated me to fight this battle together with my strength and help of family. First I was given 6 cycles of Chemotherapy with Herceptin over six months and repeat PET MRI scan was done to see the response to treatment.
Next, Breast conservation surgery was done where the tumor and surrounding tissues were removed. To my relief, there was minimum discomfort during or after the surgery. Next came 12 cycles of targeted therapy with Herceptin and radiation to the breast as well as solitary bone disease which went on for over 12 months. The normal cells got affected during chemo. I was prepared for side effects as Dr. Saggu had informed me about how to fight them with a smile.
A few changes in lifestyle as well as diet and my husband’s faith in Waheguru gave me strength. Before every chemotherapy session, I used to visit Bangla Sahib Gurudwara and seek blessings. My husband and brother inspired me to do so. I thought that Waheguru Ji is testing my faith and if He has put me in this situation, then Waheguru Ji will only help me to get out of this.
I included lots of fluid to keep myself hydrated. Also I adopted Yoga exercises and meditation which made me more physically as well as mentally strong. Before chemotherapy, I had prepared my son as he was at an impressionable age. I knew he would be scared to watch my baldness and would be embarrassed too. I told him that I am unwell, but it will be fine after a few months and my hair would grow back. I started covering my head with “dastaar” (a kind of turban that Sikhs wear) so that he doesn’t have to see me that way.
The other bothering issue was the seroma bag attached to my body. After the operation, a plastic drainage tube attached to a bottle called seroma bag is put to collect the fluid from the wound. This bag had to be carried all the time and while sleeping, it was difficult to sleep on one side. Another issue was to hide the bag from my kids. It would have been horrifying for them to see the blood and fluid collected in the bag. So, I had to hide the bag in a pouch like purse and carry it without being noticed.
Though the cancer cells were finally out of my body, there is a negative residue left ie Lymphedema. It is extra fluid builds up in tissues when lymphatic system isn’t working well, usually because lymph nodes were damaged or removed. It’s often a side effect of cancer treatment and can show up years later. Due to spot in my bone ( metastatic cancer) , Dr. Saggu suggested me surgery for removal of ovaries. So, I got laparoscopic surgery done for same. I was put on the hormone therapy which helps to eliminate the chance of relapse. Finally, my treatment is over, apart from some bone strengthening Injections and hormonal treatment.
Today, together with Waheguru ji blessings, my inner strength, and support from family, I am not only living a normal life but a better one. I have an amazing yoga teacher who also supported me in every way. To those who are fighting the same battle, I would like to say that one should not be scared of the treatment. Never should we lose hope. Not getting the treatment is like losing the battle even before the fight is started. At last, I would like to thank Waheguru Ji as he blessed me with a wonderful doctor, who extended all her help whenever I needed her.
I am also fond of writing poems and stories. I dedicated a beautiful poem to Dr. Rajinder Kaur. She is truly a blessing for her patients.
“You are not just a DOCTOR
but a friend, supporter and a mentor
“You are a doctor so sincere
that helped me overcome all my fear.
You are in everyway so fine
that no words from me can define
I was assured by your sweet smile
because I knew to treat me you
always went an extra mile.
You are so perfect in everything you do
I will in my whole life pray for you.”