Today, I am honored to present the inspiring story of a breast cancer survivor in her own words.
My name is Divya, and I am a breast cancer survivor. Life had been pretty good until my 35th birthday. I am happily married to the love of my life Rajat, have a beautiful five-year-old daughter and enjoy my job in a leading IT firm.
My story with breast cancer began in November 2016 when I felt a slight burning sensation in my left breast. I ignored it, hoping the burning sensation would eventually go away on its own.
However, in the last week of November 2016, the pain became so severe that I had to schedule a mammogram. The report showed suspicious findings in my film, which needed further testing. My gynecologist advised a biopsy. Needless to say, I was frightened, not knowing what to do, and still hoped that everything would be normal. A few days later, my gynecologist called, asking me to come back. She told me, “I am sorry, Divya, you have breast cancer.”
The word “cancer” became a dark sea that towed me down, down and further down, until my husband brought me back to reality. Rajat told me that everything would be alright, giving me strength for the uphill journey.
We then met with a renowned oncologist who scheduled me for a pet scan, x-rays, and blood tests. My results showed that I had stage 2 breast cancer.
In late March, I had a lumpectomy on my left breast. It took me more than two weeks to recover. As the shock faded, the routines of scheduled chemotherapy and daily radiation cycles coated my life in a sense of calm.
No doubt, my life changed after cancer, my priorities shifted. I loved my job initially; I felt financially secure. But now, a new tide of fear lingered. I constantly worried.
“How will Rajat handle everything?”
“Who will take care of my daughter?”
“What about the household expenses, in addition to my cancer treatment cost?”
I needed to discuss these issues with Rajat.
One day, while I was staring blankly at the television screen, Rajat sensed that I was not just worried about my chemo the next day. When I told him about my worries, he laughed and gave me a comforting kiss on the forehead. I was confused at first, but his words reassured me. He said:
“Did you forget about the Cancer Insurance Plan that we bought from Max Life Insurance a few years back? Your husband may be forgetful, even lazy at times, but not when it comes to your health. The insurance company has released the promised payout amount. Why do you think I am relieved when it comes to your treatment costs? You just focus on fighting cancer, get well soon for our daughter and me.”
His words brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. The next day, I went for my chemo with a new sense of confidence. I was determined to be a breast cancer survivor!
On other days I learned to enjoy life more. I had romantic weekend dates with my husband, went to parents meetings at my daughter’s school. Even though I had lost my hair, my will power was still intact. I found cancer as an excuse to shop for hats of all shapes and sizes and flaunted them outdoors. I started my own blog and posted vital parts of each chemo experience. I also learned a lot about the experience of other patients whose stories were more shocking than mine. I realized that I was in a much better position to fight cancer, at least financially, thanks to my cancer insurance plan from Max Life Insurance.
Life Lessons learned
Cancer taught me two things: to have faith and keep on moving. It was the day of my final PET scan report. Maybe I would be the lucky one, I thought to myself. Maybe my cancer was gone and won’t come back. That’s precisely what happened.
Now two years have passed with no evidence of disease. Rajat’s words, “It will be alright” became a reality.
I still remember how on the days I felt the weakest, I would open my blog, read the comments that people left for me, asking me to be brave, and keep fighting. That’s what kept me going. Whenever I was physically able to get out of my house, I did. Sometimes all I needed was a change of scenery from my cancer treatment routine. When I was going through my chemo cycles, right after my second last chemo, my best friend invited me to go out for the weekend. I consulted my doctor and after he told me I could go ahead, I did go.
While feeling overwhelmed by chemotherapy, sitting on a porch, staring at the sunset, it was as if a divine voice spoke to me and I realized, “The sun is setting today only to rise again tomorrow.” That’s when I understood that I must not get too bogged down in my present situation. I need to look ahead, not let my vision be limited to cancer and recovering faster. And this attitude helped me become a breast cancer survivor.
Hopefully, what I have written in my diary is helpful. I am grateful for my two years of being cancer free and wish every person diagnosed with this dreaded disease success and strength in your treatment. May you achieve the things you desire as you move towards becoming another cancer survivor like me!
Cancer need not be overwhelming. The right support and attitude can help you lead a long and fulfilling life.
Names have been changed for obvious reasons.