Hi my Lovelies!
Now this topic is so so close to my heart!
Being diagnosed with Cancer at such an early age i.e 32 years changed my life upside down. It made me realize that disease can happen to anyone at any age. I remember when my biopsy reports were still pending here in Canada, my Dad took my ultrasound report (which showed tumors) to a hospital in Patna (India) for a second opinion. Here is what the doctor said there, ‘Cancer doesn’t happen at such young age. Don’t worry. Her biopsy report would come out to be negative.’
But our greatest fear came true when it came out to be positive. Living with this illness for more than two years, I can say that I have came across people who were diagnosed at very early age, much earlier than mine. When you dive deeper into the scary world of Cancer, you get to see the real shit! When I wrote about my diagnosis on Quora (related answer here), I got many personal messages from youngsters who were hesitant to share about their diagnosis but felt some strength after reading my post.
I remember getting a post from a girl of 19 years who had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer when she was 17, and she was really sick and tired of everyone suggesting her about how carefully she could live her life now. She wanted to live without any restrictions, like a free bird but this Cancer monster was trying to tie her wings.
There is a girl on Instagram who said that throughout her life she had been very active and ate clean, but then shit happens! She was diagnosed at 31. You see, you can not control events on your life. You can not control disease and death, but then you can be extra careful!! Before you read anything further, I just want you to get this fact in mind, ‘Cancer can hit at any age! People who are diagnosed are not aliens. They are like you, like me. Don’t close your eyes in front of danger in hope that it won’t hit you. The only way to save you bum is to face it.’
You are allowed to scream, you are allowed to cry, but do not give up!- Unknown
If you ask me what symptoms I noticed, I would cover all my symptoms along with some common symptoms which are found in all Cancer patients. Here you go….
- Change in bowel movements:- For me, I noticed this change 8-9 months before my diagnosis. My Mom suggested me to take Carom seeds water every day. Though my condition did not improve, I ignored it! Poop is a topic we generally try to avoid or make fun of it. But then a healthy poop says a lot about what’s happening in your body. I will write an article about it very soon. For now, if you notice the frequency, texture and color of your poop has changed, take it seriously. Remember, not every change is bad. Some changes can be because of any diet change, any new medication you are taking, or some minor digestive issues which can be treated by home remedies, but if it continues to be irregular, make sure that you visit your doctor.
- Change in weight:- I was pregnant just before I was diagnosed. My body had Cancer cells as well as Pregnancy hormones active together. Therefore I did not notice change in weight. However, for others with whom I talked, they noticed that they were constantly losing weight without any explanation. They would remain tired throughout the day and the energy level would remain down, always. I remember, one month after I miscarried (I was one month away from my ‘C’ diagnosis) I went to gym for running, and couldn’t run for even a minute! Notice your weight and energy pattern. Feeling low continuously without any reason is no good.
- Pain in any body part:- For me, I experienced pain in the right arm, and I had tumor in my right lung. I visited physiotherapist before my diagnosis but nothing helped. When I talked to few people after my diagnosis, they said that a minor thing like pain in some part of body came out to be as big as Cancer. If you have heard about Sonali Bendre’s diagnosis (Indian actress), she too had complained about some pain which further lead to this ‘C’ thing. Now, I am not saying that any pain leads to Cancer, but if you are visiting doctor and taking any treatment for long without any benefit, it’s better to probe further. (Left is my pic from recent doctor visit. i.e. 3rd October. I swear nothing gives more happiness than the news that your reports look Okay!!)
- Blood in Urine:- Well, this did not happen with me, but blood in urine is a sign of some abnormality. For those who are diagnosed with some type of Cancer in their lower part of body, this is pretty common. ‘Pee’ and ‘Poop’ are not the terms to be ashamed of. And noticing the pattern is not crazy or dirty. They give us the sign about what’s going in our body. Every day or every other day notice the color of your pee.
- Lump in the body:- I always advice my friends to check their body while bathing. Do yourself a favor, and notice if you find any new node in any part of your body or if the existing node had swollen. For me, I had a node in my neck since childhood, but it was growing. And it was growing so slowly that it was too hard to notice. If you find something, get it checked. Your doctor might say that it’s okay. This is normal in a body (as my doctor said) but DO NOT trust him. Trust your gut feeling. If something is wrong, it means something is wrong!
- Abnormal sweating:- I remember those nights when my top would be wet due to sweating. It was weird because it was not summers in Canada, and I was still using a blanket. I would get up in the middle of night sweating, and would have to change my clothes. When I said this to my family doctor, she negated this. For her, it was normal! This is what she said, ‘I have Cancer patients coming to me with this issue. And I know that people who have Cancer sweat a lot. This is a symptom. But the way you are explaining, I think it’s not that bad. It can be due to the type of clothes you are wearing. Make sure to wear loose clothes while you sleep.’ Tadaaa!
For me, this journey has been a roller coaster ride. And same goes with my husband who has been with me in all those dark days. But, it taught us so many things. Most important, it has taught us about life. Every scan reminds me that I am here for a limited amount of time. But then it applies to all of us, right? Just because we don’t know how we will die, doesn’t mean we won’t die!
When I look back to the period before ‘C’, I don’t think that there would have been any way I would have prevented it. Though I was leading an unhealthy lifestyle, I was very content with it. When you say ‘Unhealthy’, for me it was more of mental stress, then physical well-being. I was stressed to the extent that my body broke down. Therefore, I say this every time that it’s important to take care of ‘Mind, Body and Soul.’
Just eating healthy, going to gym BUT thinking shit will lead to no where. If not Cancer (I wish this never happens to anyone), one might get some other health concerns and wonder, ‘Why did this happen? I was maintaining a healthy lifestyle!’ My experience living with this disease has taught me that it’s more about the mind and your spirit than anything else.
Through my blog, I try to cover every topic which I have found important in my healing, and I am still a work in progress. October is #BreastCancerAwareness month. In my upcoming emails, I will try to share some tips where I will talk about self breast exams (Not just ladies!). After you are done reading, in honor of this month, hug the fighters and the survivors you know. Call them. Let them know that the battle is tough, you are there. Trust me, a little kindness goes a long long way….
Peace and good Health always,
Note:- Please share this article among your friends and family. Share it on Facebook. If you don’t want to share this, tell them verbally. Don’t limit this information to yourself. Help them to be aware. You never know who is ignoring what kind of symptom! Sharing is caring. Always!