Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ignoring Warning Signs Can Be a Matter of Life and Death!

I am not exaggerating when I say that ignoring warning signs can be a matter of life and death because that is what the greatest teacher called LIFE has taught me. If I had ignored the warning signs 17 years ago , I would not be here to blog this story today. 
There was a killer monster dwelling in my breast when I was breast feeding my 11 month old baby girl. The monster unlike the ones from fairy tales or movies was not huge, did not spout fire nor made any noise. It was a silent killer, in the size of a green pea hiding under the flesh of my own body.
When breast feeding my baby girl I felt something hard knot like thing in my breast very close to my armpit. I ignored it for two days thinking it to be hardened milk duct or something related to breast feeding. Something inside my heart told me not to ignore it as it could be breast cancer too. I was 28, had breast fed my first child for more than a year and I was at present breast feeding my second child. I did not wear tight clothes nor did I have any unhealthy habits. I did Yoga and exercised regularly. What were the odds of me getting Breast Cancer? The statistics would say very low, but something kept ringing the warning bell in heart which would not allow the mind to listen to the facts. May be my heart was looking at my sister who was going through cancer at the age of 31. When having my shower, I applied soap and checked out the pea sized lump once again, and then I knew that something was wrong. This was a different kind of lump unlike anything I have felt in my body. It was hard, uneven and kind of scary of feel.
I heeded to the sign the body was giving and went to a doctor. He felt the lump and ordered a biopsy to rule out breast cancer. Everybody kept telling me that this is unnecessary and I was getting worried just because my sister had got breast cancer. I wanted to be sure for my children’s sake. Unfortunately the results told me that I had breast cancer (Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma) stage III. If I had ignored the lump and early signs, choosing to live in the world of denial thinking this cannot happen to me as -- I am breast feeding my baby, I am too young or anything other reason than I would be at higher risk and my chances of surviving breast cancer would lessen. The pea sized lump proved bad enough to have spread to 10 lymph nodes.
Heeding to the subtle signs that indicated breast cancer has saved my life. I have seen my children grow from small scary kids who worried about losing their Maa, into youngsters who are more confident that their Maa can handle anything thrown her way smartly. I have learned to live life fully –making a bucket list and ticking things off it. Swimming, going to Disney Land in USA, becoming a graduate and many other dreams has come true. Some are still in the making.
Unfortunately this was not the case of my sister or my mother. For one, they both ignored the lump in their breasts as something not significant without listening to the warning signs their body was trying to convey and even when they discovered it was breast cancer, they choose a different path to walk on. It is sad that they both are not with me anymore.
With the lesson life has taught me, I have decided to spread the message of breast cancer awareness among women so that they would heed to the warning signs and go for timely check-ups. With right intervention, so son or daughter will have to lose their mother neither will siblings miss their sister like it happened with my family. Even though there is nothing known as 100% success rate; at least the guilt of not having the done the right thing for your loved one will not eat you up.
17 years walking down the path of cancer survival, at present I work as a counselor trying to be there and guide newly diagnosed patients along with trying to support emotionally traumatized people. Days do not go by wasted in my life anymore. I have a purpose to live and that includes enjoying life and having fun too. The moral of the story is that there is no going back on the road called life. Take every step with caution and heed the signs. A life once lost is lost forever!
The Old Pack :)

When Indiblogger announced the contest from Colgate all I could think of was the enticing taste of the Colgate tooth powder from my childhood. I would sneak into the bathroom and eat it so often, that my mother finally decided to get the paste. 

I think besides Cancer one of the worst kinds of problems is faced by people who ignore the signs of budding gum and teeth problems, especially in India. The fear of the dentist keeps them away from regular check-ups leading to tooth-ache, gum disease and at worse loss of teeth too.  Regular checkups can detect oral cancer too. When I visited the My Healthy Speak Blog I learned some new things about oral health and care which I had missed earlier. It is time for me to wind up the blog and visit my dentist for a checkup now.


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  2. HI Farida

    I have read other posts about your fight with the dreaded disease and I admire you immensely for your courage and you inspire me as a fighter. God bless you and your family.

  3. Hi Farida... Your story of fight with the cancer is very inspiring. What I like the most is your objectivity about the whole situation and how you dealt with it over the years and came out Winner in more than one sense.

  4. Hi Farida. This is my first visit to your site. Only the brave can fight with such a deadliy situation, and come out victorious!! I can relate to your pain and agony because I too fought with deadly breast cancer..Keep the spirit high always. God bless you!1

  5. yes warnings should never be ignored as you rightly decided and took a rational decision .. it should be with all of us ..

  6. Thoughtful post! the colgate tooth powder image took me years back :)

  7. I am due for a mammogram that I have procrastinated in getting. I MUST make the appointment today. I must not let my leisurely blogging keep me from switching gears and doing so. Thanks Farida.

  8. Congratulations :)
    Very thoughtful and gives the right message :)

    Ankita Singhal
    A piece I wrote...


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