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“Sitting at the window sill of my apartment, I looked out at the heavy rains lashing Mumbai city. Dark clouds were gathering in the horizon. This sight whisked me to the happenings of the past few months.
On February 27th 2011, a Sunday evening, while ready to go for a party, sheer intuition made me examine my left breast, and to my utter horror, I felt a lump. I decided not to press the panic button & continued dressing up. I had a wonderful evening with my family. I danced as though there was no tomorrow! I was 42 years old and had a beautiful life in front of me.
Next morning after I saw my son off to school, I went to consult my best friend Dr. Aparna. She too did my breast examination and took me to her Pathology lab for FNAC Tests to check the malignancy. The reports showed what I feared the most. I was tested positive for Epithelial Malignancy – Duct Carcinoma on my left breast.
I felt that the earth was giving away under my feet. This can’t be a bad dream. It is a harsh reality that I have to face now. Though I was shattered, the future lay heavily on me.
I always looked positively at my life. Basically, I am a very cheerful person who harbors no ill feelings to others. After earning my doctorate degree in Analytical Chemistry, within a span of ten years, I had reached from the position of an Analyst to an Assistant Director of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Laboratory, Mumbai – a sister concern of Ramnarain Ruia College, Matunga. Later I was heading the Clinical Research Projects of Indian Region for a Multinational Croatian firm Pliva. Following this, I was the CEO of AceBiomed a Contract Research Organisation for conducting Clinical Research projects on Human volunteers for Global Pharmaceutical Companies. I was appointed for setting up the company right from scratch. My ambition was to become a entrepreneur in the clinical research field. With this in mind I set up Jovis Clinical research Pvt Ltd a consulting company that handles Clinical research project s to various Global Pharmaceutical companies. Apart from this I have my own training Institute – CRIMSON which imparts careers opportunities in Clinical Research field. Other than all this, I am also the CEO of Mascot Spincontrol Pvt. Ltd a laboratory which undertakes cosmetic research.
A born fighter that I was , I refused to let this disease make it imperfect for me. In no way was I going to give in. I decided to fight tooth and nail to cure this disease. I have a family to care for, as well as a profession that I enjoyed doing. This determination and strength of mind together with God’s help was enough to bravely face this trauma.
As a family we decided to take the treatment at Fortis Hospital, Mulund, mainly because of the modern facilities available here and also due to the proximity to my residence. I consulted the Oncologist and surgeon Dr Anil Heroor who advised me to undergo a battery of tests including Ultrasound and Mammography Breast conservation surgery. After the surgery on 9th March 2011, he advised me to consult the medical oncologist Dr Boman to decide on the further treatment. Accordingly Dr Boman recommended to undergo total 8 cycles of chemotherapy consisting of 4 cycles of FEC regime and 4 cycles of Docetaxel regime with an interval of 21 days per cycle.
On 31st March I got admitted for my first cycle of chemotherapy.Though during the treatment, I had severe vomiting and joints pain I faced it courageously. I remember the words of Melissa Banks :
“During chemo you’re more tired than you’ve ever been. It’s like a cloud passing over the sun, and suddenly you’re out.
My family and friends supported and motivated me throughout my treatment. With my strong will power and the nursing care of the efficient staff of the Oncology department, I could survive from one cycle to another. My counsellor Dr Sneha also played an important role with her words of encouragement.
I decided not to take things lying down. As soon as I recover from the bouts of the side effect of each cycle I was up on my feet trying to lead a normal life as possible. I boosted my sinking spirits with books on the power of positive thinking.With my family, I went for movies, shopping and get-togethers. After my third chemotherapy and getting a green signal from my doctors I went on a official trip to France for four days. My optimistic nature, that cancer is curable gave me the courage during this trip followed by other trips to Hyderabad, Delhi and Kerala.
Besides this, I decided to share my experiences as a cancer counselor- at the Oncology Day care center where I underwent chemotherapy. I did my best to soothe the fears of the other patients and inspire them with stories of those who have bravely fought this dreaded disease. I continue to help others fight this gruesome time.
And like Anne Frank, I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.