She felt that there was something wrong with her as she looked at her reflection in the mirror. No, it wasn’t her appearance, it was something that was growing within her, she moved her hands on her breasts and there it was, a small lump. ‘Is it because of breastfeeding, milk or something?’ she thought as she wore her t-shirt back and started working again.
This time she could not ignore it, when her husband touched her and noticed the lump. ‘We need to go to the doctor,’ he told her and soon they were sitting in front of her doctor with her reports in his hands. The doctor looked at her, asked her about her daughter who was busy playing with the magazines.
When they got the reports he told them what it was – she was diagnosed with stage 3b breast cancer.
She looked calm, talked to the doctor, tried to understand the procedure and then picked up her daughter, held her husband’s hand and came out. As they walked towards the car, her daughter got down and walked with her. Her husband held her hand tight but then she suddenly fell down on the ground, it was more like she willingly sat down, she felt as if there was no strength left in her. ‘What if I don’t survive?’ she asked him and he promised her that he would never let that happen. They had loved each other so much.
She was scared, not because she was worried about her life but because she always wanted to be with her daughter, her husband, she wanted to be there for when her daughter goes to school and she wanted to be healthy to look after her. She wanted to be there to hug her husband and kiss him and hold his face in her hands and never let him go but here she was with a lump in her breasts that could possibly take her away from her family.
Her husband informed their parents and soon she was surrounded by everyone she loved. The heart that had given up all hope now had the strength and that strength came from the love and support her friends and family showed.
The only fear she had before the surgery was what if she could not make it back, what if she could not come back to hug her little daughter, what if she could never ever come back – how will her husband play both the roles, what will her daughter do when she would need a mother. She was terrified and even took a promise from her sister to be always there for her daughter. Soon she was admitted and her husband was made to sign a form that said that if something happened to her during the surgery, the hospital won’t be held responsible. He was all alone that time and could not control his tears, he had loved her so much. The first time he saw her, touched her, loved her, everything was flashing right before his eyes and he finally signed that form.
It was long and painful emotionally, physically and there was a lot more to come. It took away her left breast. Cancer really does not discriminate, it does not care if you are young old, married, single, if you have a little child, it can just happen to anyone.
Surgery was just a step, there was a lot more to come with chemotherapy. She lost all her hair and wore scarf to feel complete, but then her little one took it off one day and kissed her and told her, ‘Mummy achi hai’ and that was the last time she wore that scarf. She went to attend a small function at her daughter’s school, and before her daughter could come and perform, she was too tired, too exhausted to even sit there for a second – -chemotherapy did this to her. She had to lie down somewhere and missed the performance. She was heartbroken and cried like a baby again, ‘I want to be there to see her perform. I don’t want to miss special moments in my child’s life. Please save me, I cannot take it anymore,’ she was pleading to her husband. He did not say a word, just hugged her.
In the end of the function, he talked to the school admin and did something for his wife. As she was made to relax on a couch right in front of the stage, her husband went up and sang for her, I am gonna love you through it by Martina McBride the words gave her the strength.
When you’re weak, I’ll be strong
When you let go, I’ll hold on
When you need to cry, I swear That I’ll be there to dry your eyes
When you feel lost and scared to death,
Like you can’t take one more step
Just take my hand, together we can do it
I’m gonna love you through it.
She was crying, he was crying and so was everyone. Now, she had the strength, she was again ready to fight back. She still is but what keeps her going is the love and support that everyone around her has shown.
***This is a piece of fiction written after talking to someone who was diagnosed with breast cancer, fought and successfully survived.
Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women and it can be treated. If you know someone who is fighting, be there for them, support them, love them, love and support work well when cancer gives fear, surgery gives pain and chemotherapy makes one exhausted and tired. Love them through it.