I am Rekha, a lawyer by profession, 65 years of age, from Chennai. One fine morning, while busy preparing for my oncoming visit to the United States in the summer of 2005, thrilled and excited, I went for a mandatory medical checkup prior to it.
My world came crashing down when the doctor detected a lump in my left breast, after what seemed to be a routine physical check up. I was 51 years old then. This was followed by a battery of investigations, the diagnosis was confirmed and I landed up for surgery by Dr Hemant Raj at Apollo Hospital, Chennai in consultation with my family doctor.
This was followed up with chemotherapy and radiotherapy and the complete treatment took me about a year. I had to cancel all my travel plans.
I had been working as a volunteer in an NGO called CANSTOP (Cancer Support Therapy to Overcome Pain) and did not panic or get depressed after my own diagnosis as I knew that if the disease is treated in time, it is completely curable and I would fight it out.
With strong family support and my own positive attitude, I could pass through that phase easily. As there was no medical insurance then, finances were taken care of by my husband. After the complete cycle of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, I had taken hormonal tablets for 5 years on my doctor’s advice and I am completely fine now.
I took great care of my diet and included lots of green vegetables and fruits in it. With a positive attitude and regular meditation and exercise, I could tide through it and I am back to my love of dancing and enjoying life to the fullest.
Early diagnosis and treatment is very important here so people at high risk should regularly get their medical checkup done. My advice to other breast cancer patients is that they should keep a positive attitude and must not lose hope.
I am ready to help anyone seeking help from me. Post a comment here and I shall get back to you.
If you have an inspiring patient story to share, submit your details here
To join breast cancer patient community, click here
To read this article in Hindi, click here