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Fighting against cancer to working towards cancer

My name is Meenakashi Nayak and I am 53 years old now. I got married in the year 1991 & in 1992 we were blessed with a baby boy. Since my childhood, I was weak Healthwise but I started feeling weaker post-delivery. I had even gained a remarkable amount of weight post that. Due to delivery being a caesarean procedure, it was physically not possible for me to move due to which I couldn’t breastfeed the baby.

During the initial months of 2013, the initial symptoms surfaced. I started experiencing nipple discharge & a small lump in the breast. I discussed it with my gynecologist & relatives who very confidently told me to not worry as it is common with people going through menopause. Since everyone around me said the same thing, I ruled out every other possibility & went on with my routine life.

During the year of 2014 -2015 I was susceptible to various infections & used to fall sick very often. I had a constant cough, fever & cold. Any change in climate, water, etc would easily show its effect on me. My health was in a very fragile state.

In October 2015, I happened to hear an interview relating to cancer on the radio. It was conducted by Onco-Life Cancer Centre. The doctor spoke in detail of the symptoms of cancer, the importance of getting tests done & some cases of previous patients. I very attentively heard each & every word of that interview. I could identify various symptoms being said in that radio interview. The very next day I decided to get myself tested in the hospital.

After my doctor consultation, I was advised to get mammography done. Once the report was out, I was immediately asked to get a biopsy done since there was a suspicion of cancer. I was detected with Breast Cancer 3rd stage. When the news reached me, I was devastated. All I knew is I wanted to live. I didn’t want to die so soon. A tsunami of negative thoughts started running in my head. I was in emotional turmoil. I was also worried about my son & husband as to how will they manage without me. But gladly this feeling didn’t last for long.

For people like me who did not know much about cancer except that it’s a death sentence it was hard to believe I could in any way survive this. My Husband’s friend some years back was detected with 3rd stage abdomen cancer & lost his battle against it in spite of paying 25 lakhs for the treatment. Being from a middle-class family, I too had financial constraints. I had decided to not take the treatment & spend whatever life I have left close to my loved ones.

But the way I was given counseling by my doctor & in-house counselors, I could see a ray of hope & decided to go ahead with the treatment. My doctor even assured me that my cancer can be treated. He promised me I can lead a normal healthy long-life post treatment & that he can even give me in writing if needed.

My line of treatment & schedule was decided upon. In the month of February, I started with my Chemotherapy Treatment of 6 cycles within 21 days. In the month of June, I was operated & later in August, I was given Radiation Treatment. During Chemotherapy, I lost my hair within the first 24 hours & side effects started kicking in. Weakness, vomiting & lose motions. Though surprisingly my platelet count was not affected. It was a very difficult stage & even difficult to maintain composure during that time.

It has been 2 years now since I am cancer free & totally healthy. Never felt more energetic & well. Post-treatment all the infection problems, falling sick, etc disappeared. Never thought I could come back from it this way. I always was given counseling by hospital personnel throughout the treatment which helps me to fight against this so-called deadly disease. My PET/CT Scan report proves that I am totally cancer free now. I have now started doing yoga & meditation daily for 2 hours & leading a healthier lifestyle. I have become more mentally strong. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?

I owe everything to the doctor, my husband, my son & Onco-Life for giving me a new healthier life. I have now started working for Onco-Life Cancer Centre itself as an In-house counselor & helping other patients like me. I can totally relate to them & I try my best to inspire them from my cancer journey & keep them positive. This is my way of giving back to society & I feel proud of it. I believe having a positive attitude & mind helps in recovering faster especially in cancer. Somehow I feel I am making a difference to society along with Onco-life & saving many lives along the way.