A Wake-Up Call: My Breast Cancer Journey
Let me share a personal experience that taught me a valuable lesson about being vigilant with our bodies. It all started back in 2018 when I began experiencing a piercing sensation on my right breast, near the areolar region. I brushed it off, assuming it was nothing serious, but as time passed, it developed into a pimple-sized protrusion. The sudden piercing pains persisted, but I still didn’t pay much attention to it, foolishly avoiding a check-up.
In 2019, a concerned friend urged me to visit a lady gynecologist. Upon examination, she recommended mammography, USG, and FNAC. I underwent all the tests, and the diagnosis was fibroadenoma – a benign tumor. I felt relieved after researching on Google, which confirmed that such tumors are usually harmless and rarely turn malignant. The doctor suggested I could either keep the tumor or have it removed, leaving the decision up to me. Naturally, I chose not to undergo surgery, hoping it would resolve on its own.
Then, the pandemic struck, and hospital visits became a daunting prospect. My right breast started showing different symptoms – cracked nipples, occasional oozing of blood and pus – and yet, I continued to treat myself with basic remedies like boroplus cream.
In October 2021, while consulting Ayurvedic doctors for weight management, I casually mentioned the inflammation on my breast. The lady doctor, who was also a Sahaja Yogi, became deeply concerned. She insisted I immediately undergo mammography and biopsy, her voice filled with urgency. I was taken aback by her intensity but decided to follow her advice.
The results were alarming. The doctor who saw the condition of my breast had a look of shock in her eyes and said, “This is most likely cancer.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, and to confirm the diagnosis, I sought opinions from multiple doctors, all of whom had a similar reaction.
My worst fears were realized – it was cancer. Had I been alert in 2019 and sought further investigation, I could have opted for a lumpectomy and hormone therapy, avoiding the arduous process of cancer treatment that lay ahead. Regretfully, I had to go through chemotherapy, radical mastectomy, radiation, and the subsequent side effects like peeling skin and hair loss.
Looking back, I realized that the lady gynecologist should have referred me to an oncologist in 2019. In the waiting room of the cancer center, I learned that for similar cases, doctors were performing surgeries and providing hormone therapy based on PET scans and blood tests. I could have spared myself the trauma, grief, and an entire year of battling cancer if only I had acted sooner.
I consider myself fortunate that the cancer was not aggressive and had not spread to other organs. God was kind to me in that regard, but I can’t help but think of what could have been had I taken my symptoms seriously earlier. I urge all women not to rely solely on Google for medical advice. When your body exhibits any abnormal symptoms, don’t hesitate to see a doctor immediately. Early detection and timely intervention can make all the difference. I hope my story serves as a wake-up call for everyone to prioritize their health and seek medical attention when needed, rather than relying on assumptions or home remedies. After all, we only have one body, and we must take care of it with utmost diligence and care.