It was the end of 2004 when I discovered a lump in my left breast. Even while I was praying and hoping it would disappear, it never once crossed my mind that this could be Breast Cancer. It's just not something I expected to happen to me. When the lump persisted, I decided to visit my family doctor who recommended I do an FNAC (Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology), a procedure used to investigate lumps such as this. The reports showed that it was malignant.
My husband and I were in shock initially but we soon decided that I would go through the treatment and come out victorious and well! It was at this point that I began to actively confess that I would not die but live to declare the works of God!
So we sat our girls down who were 13, nine and four at the time, and briefly explained to them about the sickness as well as the treatment and its side effects. All three of them took it better than we had expected and went about their responsibilities so well, taking a major load off me. They would eat on their own and study without us having to remind them. That was such a blessing!
Breaking the news to my parents, however, was not as easy. I could see that my mum was moved but she and my dad really stood by us. My mother was a big help too. Even our friends and family, though shocked, were a big support. Having a good support system during a trying time like this is so important. My husband did a wonderful job of managing the home while working. However, as his job required him to to be away from home every now and then, it was really great to have people who helped take me to the doctor and even some who supported us financially.
The worst of my apprehensions were about losing my hair or a breast. I didn't know how I would cope with that. So I was more than grateful that the doctor managed to remove the lump and the surrounding tissue with a lumpectomy, preserving my breast. I decided, however, to wear a wig for my children. They didn't mind seeing me without hair at home but they didn't want people outside to see me like that. Thankfully, my sister arrived from Australia just in time to help me buy the wig.
I underwent six cycles of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation; the treatment weakened my immune system, made me lose my appetite et al. But every time I found myself weak, crying or depressed because of the drugs, I would remind myself of the people who were standing by me, believing I would be healed. It motivated me to get up and go! Also, I calculated when my seven and a half month treatment was to get over ie the beginning of October 2005 and began to get excited about my parents' golden wedding anniversary at the end of October 2005. It gave me something to look forward to.
During this time, I didn't tell too many people about the sickness because the last thing I needed was a pity party. I wanted to get through it strong and I didn't want people to feel sorry for me. Going through Breast Cancer was like going through the valley of the shadow of death, but I knew God was with me. I felt His love and comfort for me like never before.
I am so thankful to God for this new lease of life. With every yearly check up I find myself rejoicing over the clear report. I believe that what the devil meant for my harm God turned around for my good. After going through Breast Cancer, I am able to be a blessing to many people. When I meet people who are suffering from dreadful illnesses, I understand how real and genuine their fears are and I am able to offer counsel and encouragement to them. What's more, because I've experienced this, they are more responsive to my counsel.
Breast cancer has made me wiser. It made me realise how fragile life really is; that at any moment your life could change forever. It makes me treasure this life I have and thank God for my days on earth!
More stories from idiva.com:
Breast Cancer Hero: Priya Shanbag
Breast Cancer Hero: R Savithri
Breast Cancer Hero: Sadhana Sarkar