Vidya had immense support from her friends and family which made her more confident
I was fully aware about breast cancer and had done a regular breast self exam ever since I turned 30. It was November 2002 and it had been two years since my mammogram screening; I was busy with my house renovation and even missed my regular breast self exams. Then one day while looking in the mirror, I noticed the skin on my breast hanging unusually.
I quickly went to my husband, who is a cancer surgeon and showed him what I discovered. He told me it looked like a lump and that I should get it tested as soon as possible. After a mammogram and an ultrasound, the reports said I had stage 3 breast cancer and 10 out of 20 lymph nodes were positive. Even with no family history of breast cancer and 10 years of regular breast self exams I was diagnosed with an aggressive tumor. In life, we face many ups and downs; I guess this was one of those downs I had to deal with.
My family was shocked but to everyone’s surprise I was the one who remained tough and counselled them. I was diagnosed on Monday and by Thursday I had a modified radical mastectomy surgery. I also opted for a breast implant as part of my procedure. Breast cancer is just another disease and why should anything change after it.
Now when I think about it, the only bad memory of the whole experience was the chemotherapy sessions. I remember being nauseated and exhausted for a long time during my chemo sessions. I also had bad reactions and blisters around my mouth. Those six chemo sessions were the worst part of the disease. The other reality of chemo is that you lose your hair. I took a while to accept it as I watched my hair and eyebrows shed. But then a friend told me it was no big deal; even Mona Lisa had no eyebrows and she is considered an artistic masterpiece. :)
My husband is a cancer surgeon, so I’ve been around cancer patients and I always knew it was curable. I was never really scared of it because I believed I could beat it. I had immense support from my friends and family, which made me more confident. It’s been 10 years now and I can say I have beaten breast cancer; that‘s all in the past but I will never forget it. Today I go for regular check ups; it’s part of my life now.
Many women feel embarrassed about it but I don’t. I have written about it and have always lent my shoulder and advice to women who are fighting it. I want them to remember that this too shall pass. In the end this is your own battle and you have to be tough and fight it. Many people like me have made it through, but you have to take care of yourself.
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