More than Inspiration we need Awareness!
My name is Disha, a young mom of a two beautiful daughters, vegetarian diet, exercise, and yoga was part of my daily regimen to stay healthy life. I was in the seventh month of pregnancy with my second baby and was excited to share her birthday with my husband and first daughter on the same day. But who knows?
November 14th, 2014, something was unusual about that night, while taking a shower, I found a lump in my left breast. First thought came to my mind was frozen milk ducts as explained by mom but who would guess a bump with a lump, especially “when you are in your 20’s you think you are invisible”. However, I called my Gynecologist, the very next morning (Nov 17th,2014) and went for an ultrasound. I was told at that moment that everything looks beautiful however they referred me to a breast surgeon, Dr Pullock. I drove back happily calling my husband and mom on my way home informing about the results. Suddenly I took a ramp to nearby parking lot and stopped my car, ‘wait a minute,’ sometimes you have to listen to your instinct, yes I called the BS (breast surgeon) to schedule an appointment but was told to wait until my due date and then see her. I still remember my counter argument of getting the soonest time possible. I saw her next week on Tuesday, BS examined me and asked me to do a biopsy and ultrasound same day itself. Once done with the biopsy and ultrasound, I left the hospital with instructions stating that it would take couple weeks to get my biopsy result, but within 24 hours you should be expecting a call regarding your ultrasound result.
A bump with a lump!!!
Ignoring the fact ‘Anything is Possible’, I headed towards my husband’s office to pick him up, I was waiting in the parking lot and received a call from BS, her voice was in grief, ‘Disha, I am sorry, but you have a breast cancer.’ That moment I felt setback worrying for the baby I was carrying, suddenly tears rolled down my face, and my husband came asking me,” Are you okay.” I told him, “it is the ‘C’ word.” We both were utterly shocked by this news, just cannot accept it. “how is it possible? No! Not you baby” he replied in shocked. With a lot of COURAGE, we went back to see an oncologist, Dr. Naqvi; she explained in detailed about the size of the tumor increased from last week ultrasound I had with my gynecologist. On comparing, it was assured to be the most aggressive cancer with the third grade which crossed from stage 1 to stage 2. Pregnancy hormone is food for cancer and was asked to schedule a C-section by tomorrow to deliver the baby. I called home to inform about cancer but being frolicsome and prankster, they hung up on me saying. “what nonsense?”. I went back and showed report telling them the whole scenario, staring at me my mom and sister thought why I have to face all the odds of the human life… I called my dad and in-laws back in India that I am scared and just not ready to accept this situation. All of them flew to states in 2 days, meanwhile here I had a c section delivering my beautiful and healthy baby Reyna. All thanks to Almighty, who had shown the mercy on my child. Looking at her first sight, I felt some extravagant energy going through my body indeed the feeling was miracle and life savior. I took her in my arms and decided to knock down this fight just for my daughter. After that, I realized microchip devised inside my body, yup it was Port a Cath, not a tracking device, felt good for not poking me now and then.
Sick Strings Attached
I got discharged, and the very next day while doing CT scan of my body at West Houston hospital, I started shivering and shaking my whole body, director of the laboratory came watching me in the camera saying, “R u cold? Do you need a blanket?” My husband thought, I was playing one more prank and asked me to stop embarrassing him. I started shaking my whole body again and passed out in half an hour, Immediately I was rushed to hospital with 106-degree fever, they admitted in ICU until I diagnosed with sepsis, I had almost 15 cycles of shivering, fever spikes to 106-8 degree and black out. All this time caregiver told my husband, “she might not survive” we have started treatment but let’s hope. Meanwhile, I was crossing from stage 2 to stage 3 and was told urgently to schedule chemotherapy to stop my cancer from spreading elsewhere; that was the day we were waiting for the result, and one more horror-struck news arrived, when my Oncologist told us that, its ‘Triple Negative Breast Cancer’. This type of rare cancer is likely to affect young people, with BRCA1 gene mutation. Fortunately, I escaped from BRCA1 mutation and felt great relief for my daughters being safe and not genetically mutated. Treatment option was as follows
1) Chemotherapy (6 months)
3) Radiation (6 Weeks)
One thing I came to knew that TNBC surely is the most aggressive and difficult to treat with maximum chances of relapse and reoccurrence. The size of growing tumor and the number of lymph nodes with cancer will significantly influence chances of survival. An enormous number of funds have been granted to investigate new medication and therapies to cure this rare type. My only hope was my research on cancer experiences either in person or the internet, I googled and came into interaction with several survivors and met families who lost their loved ones from TNBC.
Truly speaking, the flashback of those ten days gives me goose bumps already
- Diagnosed with Cancer
- Delivering Baby
- ICU stay with Sepsis
- TNBC Report
Doctors told me another bad news that if I survived, I have to opt for infertility. She wanted me to go for Hysterectomy, later was explained that breast cancer follows 90% ovarian cancer. As a matter of fact, I always wanted two children, but my husband would love to have a big family. Though somewhere behind my subconscious mind, I was thinking of a son to carry on the family name.
I still remember that night when my husband explained me to think logically, “How our daughters will be your reflection no matter what happens” & he won (both the pregnancy he bet for daughters over son).
That’s it; I make up my mind not trapping and restricting from any peer pressure(society). After that, I Started preparing my body for next step.
January 5th, 2015, the first day of my chemotherapy. I was asked to numb Porta-Cath (device inside my body attached to heart) and take a pill to prevent nausea and to vomit every time 4 hrs. Before chemo. As soon as I entered the hospital, I was petrified looking at others going through chemo around me, and my heart started pounding like a horse. I slept entire chemo for 6 hours due to a high dosage of Benadryl. Came home with drowsy effect and felt nothing especially hearing stories from others. Next morning, I woke up with a jolt of pain all over my body. My bones and joints were aching like 90-year-old women and felt my head was about to burst like lava, I was screaming, shouting and feeling in an exile as my hair started falling, beauty started fading away, slowly killing me physically as well as emotionally. Time was flying & clock was striking midnight, my baldness, obnoxious behavior and Sadness followed me. I felt a burden of carrying cancer along with me. My consciousness was revolving around cancer as ineludible. There was only HOPE (Nothing last forever), keeping up the spirit with my support system (family, friends, relatives and well-wishers), name it and I can count on them. My mom spent a sleepless night to raise my little one, and toddler and my dad struggled to get several opinions from the best doctors he could approach to see her daughter alive. It’s strange having cancer, nothing around you changes, and yet, everything is different – for me. Almost five months have passed by, and I am about to finish my chemotherapy but my body stopped responding last month, blood work seems to be sticking to its small figure not willing to go up despite eating blood-making food, and there comes next psychological effect with all ambient feeling followed by great depression. Keeping up with social life seemed to be difficult. I asked my husband to take me away from this place where I can connect myself to nature; he arranges a little trip to Grand Canyon for my birthday. Looking at the abundance of beauty around I felt different for a while but fear still haunts my mind, and nothing seemed to be interesting. We came back thinking this to be our last trip, and suddenly my ears and nose started bleeding by the time we landed in Houston, Texas, I was rushed to the emergency, I passed out with no consciousness. On waking up, I denied to recognized my husband, awkward moment for him to convinced them being my spouse. Suddenly my family came and convinced staff of me related to all of them. They started blood transfusion based on blood work report. I think by now, director of Methodist Hospital came to know me, I was in his thoughts and prayers and given excellent care. I received almost 11 calls from spiritual centers globally to keep my FAITH as blessing and prayers were done on name every Saturday until I survive. Reiki Practitioner around the world starting sending me Reiki. All these seems to be superficial for the time being, but when I look back I felt humanity and experience – universal power, since then, till date I never forget to pray and believe in this power.
I had to skip last two chemo due to low blood counts and being rushed to the hospital for blood transfusion each time after chemo. Considering this situation, my oncologist decided to go for surgery without wasting time. Now option was for lumpectomy followed by radiation but every single person related to cancer professionally or personally asked me to opt for mastectomy; However, my oncologist was confidence choosing lumpectomy in my case. I BELIEVED her and opted for the lumpectomy on June 4th,2015. As usual, the surgery lasted for 6 hours and recovery took hours longer than expected. Finally, my eye opened and felt another stabbing pain in the left breast with burning sensation. My husband still reminds me of that moment, I being furious out of pain, started verbally abusing to nurses and caregiver for not giving me enough dosage of pain medication. Somehow I overcame that pain and got recovered followed by few weeks. The result from surgery came to be negative and was finally cancer free. Happiness enlightened me and suddenly felt optimism.
Next on the list was radiation (explained as the piece of cake by doctors and nurses compared to chemo and lumpectomy). It started July 14th, 2015, I felt like playing the monster game with the transformer, lying on a giant machine taking me all the way up towards roof with nobody in the room and lights off, and start radiation passing for 15 minutes at each angle lasting for about an hour. If I moved even a 5 cm, radiation would crack my bone and affect my heart as the tumor location was between rib bone and heart. Damn, still remember lying on that bed with awkward position felt like an edge of the sword, if this is a piece of cake then what about the dessert shop. Somehow first two weeks went well, didn’t feel any side effect, so started doing yoga with my bunch of community members and felt secure, as the 3rd week passed by ‘boom,’ left side became like charcoal, burnt like a fire and dried like ash. I cannot bear a piece of a layer on that part of my body, stayed grounded for many weeks, despite six weeks over, I still had to continue sleeping on one side(right) without keeping any layer on myself exposed to 62-degree f. I still remember kids shivering, and my family was getting cold on and off. Trauma has its agony if bear alone but loved ones suffering along is not just painful but awful and devastating. I just wanted to recover from the danger zone of ‘C’ world and survive straight for another five years without recurrence. Isolation was not the solution, rather would affect me negatively and my demand for a separate residence got denied.
I am done here, is it? Nope, blocking estrogen from all the sources, regarding diet or removing ovaries was next. To survive and live long, I had to embrace menopause. At the age of 29, thinking of menopause itself was like the nightmare, and my imagination started playing a quick 2-minute game ‘DEAL or NO DEAL’ with YUMRAJ. Of course, I accepted this challenge, asking them to give me couple months before scheduling a complete hysterectomy. The most difficult and challenging part came for my husband and people around me. Why them and not me because Menopause is depletion of hormones affecting every system of your body from brain to toe, which may have turned you from the best woman to the worst wicked witch. My oncologist scheduled a special appointment for them and explained in one sentences, “what if I removed your testosterone hormone? How would you feel?” Same thing for a woman without estrogen is not just difficult but impossible to live with, so don’t try to judge her based on her physical or emotional behavior, rather support her and love her the way she becomes. It was eye opener lesson for the loved ones who are related to me. I felt secured and went through surgery on November 11th, 2015. Oh boy! 3 surgeries fall apart in 12 months was back breaking with a lot of emotions involved. Everybody thinks I have enormous STRENGTH to keep fighting any damn situation, is it possible? I guess nobody knows Whatever I felt, being on this journey no one would ever see that agony unless experienced.
CHANGE your lifestyle
|Estrogen Blocking food||Yoga||Regular Checkup|
|No Sugar||Walk||Blood work|
Finally, I survived with all hardship and despite this dreadful diseases conquering myself.
I felt my daughters were blessed enough to be raised by their mom and I was reborn again. I was rejuvenated with the hazy memory of my past which will never affect my future no matter what. Bringing awareness and being proactive is secret knowledge to live a better life with trauma. Yes, CHANGE is the key, change your brain to mind your body, its excellent source of abundance, just train it and settle your perception in your subconscious mind and see the difference. Listen to your body and spare some time for yourself, learn ways to satisfy your soul.All these took several months to recover from C-trauma.
Fight with Cancer – 777