Cancer : A Survivor’s Tale

I met Anjali(name changed) during my two months job related training in Bhubaneswar. She was a jovial and friendly person who made me laugh at the drop of a hat. I still chuckle when I remember her imitating Salman while dancing to “Just Chill” during the Diwali Party. After our training got over, she went to her hometown, Mumbai while I went to Chennai. We were in touch by phone calls and emails. 

A few months later, Anjali gave me a news which shocked me beyond limits. I could not imagine a bubbly person like her to go through this trauma.

This is her story in her own words. Thanks Anjali for doing this Guest Post.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was a recurring nightmare that I always had, an innate fear of losing my parents. I would wake up crying every time I had that nightmare.

 When my mother casually remarked regarding a lump in her breast, I was taken aback. She had it for almost a year now and had not taken the pains to get a mammography done. Every time I thought about it and urged my mother to come for a mammography scan, I kept saying that it might not be cancer. But inside I had a feeling that something really bad was going to happen. It was as if God had been giving me signs all along and preparing me for the most difficult phase in the 25 years of my life.

My heart always skipped a beat whenever I saw the ‘CanCure’ clinic on my way back from office. Reading stories published in newspapers always gave me sleepless nights. That compared with my nightmares were taking a toll on my mind.

Then one day, my worst fear came true…

It was the month of November in 2006. My parents came from the doctor’s office with pale, white faces. Yes, the mammogram and the fine-needle biopsy results were positive. My mother was diagnosed with Grade 3, Stage 3 Invasive ductal carcinoma. In common words, she had a highly invasive breast cancer, which had a high possibility to spread into different parts of the body, through the lymphatic system. We could not believe it. Nobody in our family had ever had a history of cancer. My mother had no major risk factors. Its human nature that makes us think that we have been dealt a death sentence when we’re told we have the “C” word.

 After the diagnosis, it was a roller coaster nightmare. Since the cancer was of an invasive nature, surgery had to done as soon as possible to remove the tumor and limit the seepage of cancerous cells into the body. Things happened so fast; we didn’t have a moment for self-pity. I had to put a brave front in front of my parents reassuring them, keeping cheerful all the time. However, every moment that I was alone, be it on my way to office or sleeping at night…. tears would just roll out (as are rolling now) and every time I had just one question from God…why her?

 My mother got operated in December 2006. She was operated in Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai, one of the best cancer hospital and research centres in the country. The doctors really helped infuse positivism in her whenever she went for consultation. The surgery usually takes 2-3 hours. However, she was taken inside the operation theater at nine in the morning, and came out in the ICU at seven in the evening. All this while my dad and I were perched outside the O.T., fearing that the worst had happened, since it was almost ten hours since my mother was taken for the surgery. It was after my mother came out of the ICU two days later when we came to know that although she was taken inside the O.T., the actual surgery started at three in the afternoon and she was in queue!! The doctor who operated on her had 29 surgeries lined up only for that particular day!! It is such incidents that infused a little humor into our otherwise ‘super-stressed’ lives. One must applaud the sheer dedication of the team of doctors who perform such a mammoth number of surgeries three days a week and still have a smile on their face, reassuring every patient who comes to them with hope.

The basic line of treatment for any cancer is surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The drugs and its amounts administered depend on case-to-case and the type of cancer. Cancer treatment differs from person to person and very few people suffering from the same type of cancer would have similar line of treatment. As is the case of breast cancer, the size of the tumor and if the cells are highly malignant, is the deciding factor whether the patient will be given chemotherapy prior to surgery or post-surgery.

Amongst the diagnostic tests done prior to the surgery, a number of biopsies are done, wherein a sample of the tumor is aspirated with the help of a fine needle and examined thoroughly by cytologists for the extent of cancerous cells in the tissue sample. However, these are just indicative tests. The most accurate test is performed on the removed tumor and adjoining tissues after the surgery. It is during the surgery, and after the biopsy tests are available, that the exact line of further treatment is decided.

Before my mother underwent lumpectomy surgery (wherein the tumor and adjoining tissues and lymph nodes are removed surgically), the doctors said that she would have to undergo only surgery and radiation therapy and not chemotherapy. But after her biopsy results were out the doctors said that since the cancer was of malignant nature, we needed undergo chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy is used to treat cancer by killing cells that divide rapidly, which is one of the main properties of cancer cells. This means that it also harms cells that divide rapidly under normal circumstances like the cells in hair follicles, those in the digestive tract and in bone marrow. The type of chemotherapy treatment you are given depends on many things like, the type of cancer you have, where the cancer started in your body, what the cancer cells look like under the microscope and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body. The side effects of chemotherapy are what made us really scared. We had heard that people not succumbing to the disease; have succumbed to the rigorous sessions of chemotherapy.

I remember the time when my father called me from the hospital after the biopsy results were out, that my mother would need to undergo chemotherapy, I was in office and could not stop my tears in the meeting I was in. I then went out and had a walk around the office trying to console myself that if this is what God wants us to go through, let it be.

My main concern while mom was undergoing chemo, was that she will loose all her appetite with all the nausea and vomiting, when this is the time to put in all the nutrients possible to help fight the disease. On the other hand my mother was worried about losing her hair and how will she look bald…

My mother had this feeling that everyone was watching her with pity. I recently went to a breast cancer clinic wherein survivors meet people undergoing treatment and share their experiences. A woman, who had a mastectomy a few weeks earlier, was so conscious that she wrapped a shawl around her. On being questioned by a social worker on why you are trying to hide it, she broke into tears pitying herself and the situation she was in. That is when I realized how crippling this disease is. It not only cripples the person physically, but also leaves a deep gash mentally and leaves all the family emotionally drained. A woman’s self-esteem goes down the drain after being diagnosed.

Although my father having worked for the Central Government, received the entire medical amount (which ran in lakhs) reimbursed, one must think about the not so privileged who also face a huge loss financially. I’ve heard stories from people in Tata Memorial hospitals general ward. They have only one refrigerator to keep the chemotherapy medicines. There have been instances wherein someone who couldn’t afford it has stolen people’s medicines from that refrigerator. I still shudder when I think about this.

Then came the day I almost lost my mother….

The chemotherapy started one month after the surgery. She was to undergo six cycles, each cycle after three weeks, to give the body some time to recuperate from the side effects. After the first cycle of chemotherapy was complete, we came home as usual and tried to get mother to eat little meals in forms of soups and porridge. But whatever we gave her, she was not able to eat and would throw up at the slightest food odour. She once joked that I’m feeling pregnant again …coz that’s how she felt back then, with all the nausea. One evening she complained of feeling cold. By nine in the night she was shivering while we were feeling hot. We called the doctor, who prescribed some medicines to control the fever. By next day morning, the fever rose to 104 degrees and she was rushed to the hospital. A quick blood test revealed that she was suffering from a condition called Neutropenia or Low White Blood Cell Count. White blood cells help the body to fight infections. In an average human body, the WBC count is usually in the range of 4,000 – 11,000 per mm3 of blood. In Neutropenia, it is less than 1000. In my mother’s case it was 300; which implied that even a sneeze caused a life-threatening infection. She was kept in an isolated room where only doctors and nurses were allowed to go.  She was kept on round the clock antibiotics to help lower the infection. We could see her only through a small window and wave and pray that she was fine. By God’s grace and the doctor’s concoctions of heavy doses of antibiotics, she was fine. She stayed in the hospital for 2 weeks after that, till her next chemo cycle was done.

I used to be in the hospital for nights. My sister, my mother’s friends and I would take turns staying at the hospital. A good support cycle really helps during trying times.

She came home after a while and was feeling very relieved. And then, she started loosing hair by bunches. She was totally bald in a few days. She stopped looking into the mirror for quite sometime after that. I would try to cheer her up by buying beautiful scarves matching with all her sarees. I had thought of getting my hair cut very short, in order to accompany her. But she laughed, thanked me for the thought and advised me against it.

I also remember another incident. It was the day of the Hindu festival Holi. Due to her ill health, my mother was required to be administered an injection. I remember I had such a tough time going out in the empty streets with 90% of the shops closed; braving hooligans who wanted to throw water and color on me. Eventually at one of the hospital pharmacies, I was able to get the required injection and a doctor who stayed in our building administered the medicine.

I was also amused by how people of different faiths come and try to preach their faith in order to get rid of the disease. One person talked about how Baba Ramdev had ‘cured’ people of cancer. Another one claimed that Jesus is the savior and told the story of a person who started praying to him (and later converted to Christianity) and within days his cancer was gone. Yet another person told that in the foothills of the Himalayas there is a saint who gives ayurvedic medicines that removes the root cause of the disease. There are various other alternative therapies claiming the heavens. In order to maintain our sanity, we tried all possible ways to stop people from meeting her. It usually happens that during suffering, we tend to believe anything to get rid of the situation we are in.

Time flew by during the entire cycle of chemotherapy treatment, which lasted for 6 months. Post chemotherapy, the radiation treatment was to be started. Radiation therapy is the medical use of radiation as part of cancer treatment to control cancerous cells. She was to be given radiation treatment for 31 days, 5 days a week. Only hospitals specializing in cancer treatment provide radiation therapy; in my mother’s case it was Tata Memorial Centre. The side effects of radiation therapy are in some cases fewer than that of chemotherapy. However, in my mother’s case, side effects of the two were almost similar. During her radiotherapy treatment, one day I wasn’t feeling well and went to the doctor complaining of vomiting and an upset stomach. The doctor told me that it was gastroenteritis infection and I stayed in the hospital for 2 days due to weakness. I always remember how helpless my mother felt when she came t visit me in the hospital. Her tears were telling me that she’s feeling sorry to see me in pain and helpless for the fact that she can’t take care of me. I put up a brave front and managed to get discharged in a day. During the entire time, my father was rock solid, even though his face showed the stress.

Finally by August 2007, her entire treatment was completed. She was then put on a hormone-blocking medicine called Arimidex, which has to be taken for 5 years. The usual period for declaring a patient cancer-free is five years. Before that, she has to make regular visits to the doctor every three months, till five years. After that period, an annual visit along with diagnostic test is the usual procedure.

Currently my mother is keeping fine. It’s my nephew that is keeping her busy and taking her mind off the usual aches and pains that she faces. I would say that it was the sheer positivism and will power of my mother that made her come out of this phase of her life.

Our only flaw was that even after being educated and having information about how lumps in the breast need to be checked for breast cancer, we did not take immediate action. If we had taken so, at least the grade and stage of cancer would have been less.

Also regarding cancer, people have this general thought that it can’t happen to them. Or, I’m not old enough to have this disease. This is a major misconception amongst people. Cancer is such a disease that can strike anywhere and in any form. The only hope is to be forearmed. With respect to breast cancer, the most important strategy in improving survival is breast cancer screening and early detection. Currently, mammography and breast examinations serve as the foundation for screening for breast cancer. It is extremely important for a woman to have regular breast examinations as well as mammograms to detect early breast cancer. There are two important aspects in breast-cancer prevention: early detection and risk reduction. Screening may identify early noninvasive cancers and allow treatment before they become invasive or identify invasive cancers at an early treatable stage. All females should get regular screening done. All males should encourage their mothers and sisters to get timely screening done. Remember that cancer is curable, if detected early.

 

64 comments on “Cancer : A Survivor’s Tale

  1. Very touching post Amit. Thanks to Anjali for sharing it. I’ve always been scared of the “C” word. I wouldn’t wish even my enemy to go through this ordeal.

    • Thanks Ruhi. I was apprehensive about asking Anjali to write this because that meant reliving the whole ordeal. But she was really brave and immediately took it up.

  2. Very nice post, thanks for writing this Anjali and publishing it Amit. I have had lots of experience dealing with people suffering from various kinds of cancer and HIV/AIDS, and each story is unique and painful…

    • Were you in some organization who meet up with people suffering from such diseases? I think you must share some of your experiences. It increases the awareness.

  3. Very touching. I think people are actually avoid checkups because they are scared of what will come out, this writer included. Sigh.. I guess you just have to walk into a clinic with a positive attitude, rather than this ajeeb notion.

    • Well, I think its generally because of our mentality that “it’s nothing” and “I’ll take care of it later”. Most of the late detections happen because of that.

  4. Amit thanks a tonne for sharing this here…

    And we must commend Anjali for showing the strength that is visible in this post.

    She is so right, we ignore our ailments and half the time we become docs ourselves and take the OTC medicines.

    I had a senior in school who was diagnosed with cancer she dropped out of the school fought the whole thing and joined back. I loved her for grit….

    • Yes, she is very strong. I don’t know how she went through this. I had tears in my eyes when I read the post for the first time. I would have broken down completely.

  5. Thanks Anjali for sharing this with us! Life is a bitch!

    You know, i would wish that IF some Female had to have a cancer, let it be a breast cancer as in early stages, if diagnosed in early stage, it has the best prognosis!

    I wish females are more aware of the bodily changes, especially after 35 years of age!

    God bless!

  6. Kudos To Anjali and her Family.

    Having lost a dear one to cancer, I’m aware of what the family and friends go through in each stage…

    careers being compromised, kids growing up way too fast, heart – ache, fear, breaking down of faith, struggles to find a single footing…

    It’s wonderful to see you all surface…

    Having said that, It’s very important that we be aware of the changes our bodies go through and actually take it seriously.

    It’s like wearing a helmet… you never know how important it is, until there’s a close shave… Man! We ought to wake up and take notice!

  7. Having lost two family members two cancer I know hard it can be. ONe was my grandma (I was having 10th boards the!) and the other my uncle I was in 5th standard then. It was really hard for the family not only because of the knowledge that we were gonna lose them (it was diognised pretty late) but also the fact that people who were once jovial hardly wanted to talk with you (happens in brain tumour). =(

    • Oh! I am sorry to hear that. Even my grandparents had a very slow death(not by Cancer though). It was hard for us to see the degradation everyday. When my Grandpa passed away, I was in the middle of my first year exams of college. I almost failed in one subject.

  8. Thanks Amit for this timely post. Our family is actually going through a rough phase now because of this C word. I really dont know how to put it here, but one of my cousins, hardly 17 years of age, has been diagnosed and doctors arent giving a positive reply. Treatment, prayers, and hopes, thats all with us now !

    Anjali, everything would be just fine !

    • OMG! Have you had a second opinion? I am not sure which is the best hospital in Chennai. Tata Memorial is good, but its in Mumbai.
      It must be really hard for your cousins parents. I’ll pray for him but please don’t lose hope and knock on all the doors.

  9. Thanks for this post Amit and Kudos to Anjali.

    You are right. People need to be vigilant. Early detection can save a lot of lives.

    I had a scare last year when my platelets were reducing without a reason. Somehow it was controlled and the tests done came negative. Something only the other half and I know and no one else.

  10. Kudos to Anjali’s courage to write such a post. Not only that she has explained the entire phenomenon with reasoning and logic.

    I am happy to know her mother is doing well. My prayers to Anjali and her family.

    @Solilo: I am glad you are healthy. Take care!

  11. Yes, she has explained everything quite rationally. After she wrote it, she told me that she has become a stronger person after writing the post.
    I am glad that happiness has returned in the family. A new born nephew is keeping everyone on their toes. 🙂

  12. I consider Cancer as the biggest scourge of humanity because of it’s unpredictability ( it can happen to anybody without any obvious reason) and the fact that many a times it’s not treatable. All of us have known somebody dear who was either lost to Cancer or struggled with it. I was reading the other day that among all fears in the minds of an average Britisher, Cancer tops all fears.

    God bless Anjali and her mother.

  13. Here is a post i never imagined i would read… Quite like my own life a decade ago…

    Yes.. cancer is curable if detected early…. And it is important to take control of your own body and observe the changes within…

  14. There seems to be a small technical discrepancy in the otherwise awesome post. Anjali says her mother, who was diagnosed with ‘Grade 3, Stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma’ underwent ‘Lumpectomy Surgery’ at TMC, Mumbai. Now, Grade3, Stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma is a fairly advanced stage of malignancy of the breast, usually involving a lot of ‘positive’ lymph nodes in the axilla (armpit) region. Such a condition usually warrants an extensive surgical procedure called ‘Modified Radical Mastectomy’ wherein the whole of the breast tissue and a sizeable amount of the fat and lymph nodes of the axilla are removed in order to ensure that no ‘positive margins’ or metastatic (cancer seeded) nodes remain. Merely doing a ‘lumpectomy’ (a far more conservative procedure reserved for fairly ‘early’ types of tumours having no ‘positive’ axillary nodes) is fraught with the danger of early recurrence.

    Otherwise, as I remarked earlier, kudos to both you and Anjali for bringing this up in the most informative way possible.

  15. very touching post Amit.. thanks for you and Anjali for sharing with us. it will be helpful for many who are shying to go to doctor to checkup… in the last she conveyed what needs to be done… very nice..

  16. Parents have a tendency of procrastinating medical tests. I don’t know exactly why..probably because they don’t want to look vulnerable in front of their kids!!
    I am glad your friend could save her parent and I couldn’t.

    God bless her and her family!

    And here I go hating and blaming myself….

    • I think its not because of that. They just think that its not important. They just put that on the back burner and concentrate on their children.
      And please stop blaming yourself. Nobody do such things intentionally. It just happens. There are certain things which are not meant to be, no matter how hard we try.
      And “what if” is a very dangerous way to start a thought. It can ruin your mental peace completely.

  17. A colleague of mine (one of my best friend) here in Singapore was diagnosed with colon cancer. By the time he was diagnosed, it was already the final stage. Over the next 2 years, i saw him wither away from a healthy chubby man into a thin scrawny person.

    I visited him at the hospital, at his home and everytime i saw that he was losing his weight, his hair and turning pale. The chemo didnt work well as by then the cancer had taken full control of his body and spread all inside him.

    The docs gave up. And when the pain was unbearable, he was hospitalised and put on morphine. The last night, I stood beside him and saw him sedated but breathing with great difficulty. That was his last night. He passed away early next morning. I broke down at his wake and all my colleagues were so surprised to see me cry when i was asked to deliver his eulogy as i was his closest co-worker.

    I was always afraid of death. I dunno why, that final moments of my friend made me numb. That fear has subsided a lot now. You realise that for all the hype, life is so fickle. A fully healthy human being can be stuck down so ruthlessly by something that is beyond our control. So, i count my blessings daily.

    • Its moments like these when you understand how fragile life is and how lucky we are that we have not gone through the pain. I have seen my grand parents wither away and completely in pain before they died. They would have gone quietly but they had to go through all the pain.

      I really can’t understand God at times.

  18. While reading this post I almost wept. This post remembered me nearly 2 years worst phase of my life. In consecutive years (2003 & 2004), I lost my father and grand father to this disease. My father suffered 1 year because of it and last 15 days he saw hell in this world itself. Since my father also central government employee, there is no financial problem but the state he is in is the worst. He has to cliam for his own medical expenses although he knows the survival rate is very less by himself. Like Anjali said many people told us many things and we did everything except one (getting converted to christianity).

    While reading, I thought of expressing a lot in this but I dont know why I am not able to. Sorry man 😦

    One thing I want to say is: Cancer can be found in the first stage itself as it will give lot of symptoms before itself. Surely there will be a very big change when the cancer attacks us first. That will be curable easily with a best treatment but the cancer cells wont die and they will spread inside and it will come out suddenly and there wont be any cure afterwards.
    My dad lost his hair (fully became bald) 2 years before we got the report of cancer finally. We thought various reasons for his hair fall and took general medicines and after 3 months he got his hair back and we never thought of it again. Once we came to know about the disease, that specialized doctor enquired his previous diseases in last 2 years and he told that this is the symptom of it and if we took care at that time itself, I might have my dad still.

    By lack of knowledge, I lost the most valuable person in my life. By negligence, nobody should not miss anybody.

    Please dont neglect even slightest differences in your body because it may lead to biggest loss to your near and dears.

    I wish Anjali’s mother should recover fully and live happy with her children and grand children.

    • Bharat, I had no idea. Its strange that we were together for such a long time and we never talked about our families.
      What can I say? In such a short span you have seen so much in your life. It changes you completely, doesn’t it?You are not the same person anymore and you can never go back.
      I just hope and pray that your life ahead should be full of happiness and you may always be surrounded by people whom you love. 🙂

  19. Excellent post. Anjali, it takes a lot of courage to live this and write about it. Not everyone has it; you’re a very brave woman.

    Amit, thanks for publishing this. My sincere wishes to the Anjali and her family.

    g

    • Hmmm…very cruel and without a reason. Its like someone slaps you hard and walks away without telling you why he did that and you keep on wondering all your life about that incidence.

  20. Thanks Anjali. That was very courageous of you. We need more people like you to come out and share experiences. It is very true that so much misinformation and miracle cures exist, even among the relatively educated. While some of them like faith are relatively harmless, most have serious consequences, either directly or in terms of delayed medical care. As a doctor, I come across such instances quite frequently. Also upsetting is the chain e-mails I get from friends advocating one fancy theory or another about health, most of them with not good consequences.
    Working in UK and Australia, I see the stark reality of many options non-existent to vast majority of Indians. Especially in Cancer, where newer drugs have made huge advances in survival, but are highly expensive and out of reach of most even middle class Indians. Unfortunately all we can do is to wait until our leadership takes health seriously and establishes a decent health care system for all people.

    One thing I would urge everyone reading this post is to take your health seriously and get information only from reputable sources, plenty of which exist online. A widely used resource for cancer is nccn.com, guidelines of which are followed by Oncologists world over.

  21. A very touching post Amit.
    Thanks Anjali for sharing your experience with us. My own sister-in-law suffered from breast cancer. Timely detection saved her life. She is absolutely fine now.

  22. Thanks for your wish man.

    I cant think of losing people from my side. If any known person loses or misses something just because I didnt tell them about it, I feel for it a lot. Thats why I advice people a lot which bothers them a lot.

    I some how trying to change that habit but it is very had for me to do so.

  23. I didn’t know Breast cancer has such a terrible treatment if not diagnosed earlier. Iam still in shock. This is really a wake up call for all Women who are not aware of it. Thanks Amit and Anjali.

  24. Thank you Anjali for sharing this….I cannot even begin to imagine what your mom must have gone through and what you and your father must have gone through as well..

    and the courage it took for you to write this here…must have been gut wrenching…I know….

    ((((hugs))take care
    god bless

  25. Great post Amit. We do need more awareness about such deadly diseases. My mother is part of the “mahila mandal” in our colony. 4 years back, this group started organizing yearly check ups for Cancer at Tata Memorial. My mother has been visiting regularly along with the other women. Last year, my aunt also accompanied them. In the tests they found there was fibroid in aunt’s uterus. However it wasn’t malignant. Early detection helped us and she had to go through a minor surgical procedure to get it removed. I hope all women after the age of 35 get their check ups done regularly.

    • Thanks! What happened with your Aunt was another incidence where timely detection helped. The awareness can make a huge difference.

  26. well, a bow to Anjali for doing the guest post as it meant reliving the past ordeal and for putting up such a brave fight to support her mother. what touched me was that the way she wanted to comfort her mother by getting her hair short . i guess through this post she has perfectly conveyed the message to all cancer patients out there that the disease is curable and doesnt means an end of life. i pray that her mother has a speedy recovery and gets well soon 🙂

  27. Hello everyone,

    Thanks a lot for all the wishes for my mom….currently she’s doing well and is very busy being a granny to a very naughty 7 month old kiddo….

    I really appreciate all your wishes and prayers and hope that with this post I’ve been able to create a lil awareness regarding this disease…rather an epidemic in current scenarios…Request you all to continue generating awareness and encouraging all ladies to get their regular check-up’s done on time.

    May god bless u all!!!

  28. Another reason why I wanted to write this post is that, whatever literature I reffered to , while my mom was undergoing treatment, were all survivors tales. I couldn’t find anything which tells me how do I take care of the situation without losing myself. There was nothing that told the behind-the-scenes of an ordeal and how to cope up with that.

    I hope we continue creating awareness and fighting this disease by prevention…

    God Bless!! :-)))

  29. The Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield has a whole book dedicated to Cancer survivors. Their stories are truly inspiring. I believe they have come up with new series as well.

  30. My uncle has Lymphoma, a cancer of the Lymph gland, which was detected in stage 3. My uncle’s disease was diagnosed because he had persistent cough. A doctor recommended a blood test where his lymphocyte level was shockingly low. Within a week, his worst fears had come true.

    Since the lymph system is distributed through the human body, he was under a great risk of the cancer spreading to far-fetched areas of the body like throat, testicles, lungs and even the brain. After his surgery, the initial year was just spread in containing the spread of the disease. He had both radio and chemo therapies too. His chemo therapy went on till almost two years till the cancer was cured. But winning against cancer is not quite a victory. By the end of it, apart from losing hair, he had lost his immunity, muscle strength, fertility, skin texture and his teeth had become brittle. My uncle said treatment was like dying everyday.

    Age was on his side since he was only 30 when the disease was diagnosed. 10 years later, he sees it as the best learning curve of his life. He knows it his second chance to live.

    Though breast cancer is more widespread, awareness about breast cancer is relatively more. Besides, it has visible symptoms. Cancers of the bone, blood, lymph and brain often go undetected even after the person’s death. It is important to not ignore even the slightest of symptoms.

    I felt like doing my bit by sharing his story. You have been bold in writing about something which is so personal Anjali. Kudos.

    • Thanks Illuminator for sharing the story here. After I have read all the stories, I have realized that the treatment after the operation is much more demanding and painful.
      Its disheartening to see how once a perfectly normal person has to go through so much of trauma all of a sudden.

  31. My maternal uncle died recently due to cancer which was detected quite late. the last months were so painful for him and the family.
    Kudos to Anjali and thanks for a good post.

    • Oh! I am sorry. Its strange how after this post, I have come to know about so many people who have gone through similar experiences.
      I am glad that you liked the post. 🙂

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