‘No your tumor is malignant you have Breast Cancer’
Updated: Nov 26, 2020
Two weeks flew by and before I knew it I was back in the hospital. The imaging department for my mammogram was the first stop. I'd never had a mammogram before and oh my god it was sooo uncomfortable, they literally squash your boobs tight between these 2 mental plates. It doesn’t hurt but it’s definitely not an experience I’ll forget in a hurry.
The next stop was the ultra sound, the doctor was pretty miserable, didn’t say very much just put this gel on my left boob and scanned. I was freezing and sooo uncomfortable but then I was lying on a bed with my tits out in an ice cold room.
Suddenly the miserable doctor pipes up and says ‘left side biopsy' to the nurse. ‘Biopsy’ no one said anything about a biopsy I thought, whilst the nurse walks towards me. She has this needle pen thing in her hand. Within two seconds I had been injected. It didn't hurt but I will never forget the noise it made. It sounded like when a staple gun goes into the wall. It was horrible. And that was it, I got changed, she handed me an envelope to take upstairs to the clinic, and off I went.
The doctor in the clinic saw me pretty quickly. I sat down and he said well to find out what this lump is we will need to wait 2 weeks for the biopsy results. More waiting great I thought, I just wanted it to be over with for them to tell me I was clear and I could get on with my life. I was suppose to be going to Canada, I was changing careers so starting my new job, everything was on hold. The doctor then went on to say that I should prepare myself because the chances of it being cancer were around 60 percent. I was shocked of course 60 percent is high but I was convinced this lump was nothing. So I wasn’t going to worry about what hadn’t happened yet. Positive thoughts.
The next week I kept busy tried not to think about it although the biopsy was a constant reminder, it had now started to hurt and the whole of my boob had gone black and blue from the bruising. Although I was told the results would take 2 weeks I got a call from a nurse at the hospital on day 10 pretty quick. She asked if I could come in at 9 o'clock the next morning. I was hardly about to say no! so ‘yes of course’ I said.
My mum was sat next to me I could see the fear on her face, I told her not to worry that they had probably called me because they want to get me out the way so they can deal with the serious cases.
I didn't tell my mum as I know it would panic her but behind closed doors I looked into every possible outcome this lump could be. What kind of lumps people get in the breast, the different types of cancers, the types of people who get cancer, I started reading blogs. Even though I was doing all this, I honestly didn't believe for a second I had cancer I just wanted to be well informed its a habit.
Anyway the morning came and of course my dad took me to the hospital. He wanted to come in with me but I was having none of it. I had convinced myself if I didn't make a fuss, went alone and was positive it would be nothing. I really believed that.
I checked in and within 10 minutes I was seen it was weird no 3 hour wait, looking back everything was very different that day, but I was sooo focused that I didnt see it. When I walked into the room a nurse followed me in, that had never happened before. Anyway I sat down in front of this new doctor he introduced himself but it didn't register. It was just his mustache that stuck in my head, it really reminded me of Charlie Claplin.
'So we have the results of your biopsy and I'm afraid you have a tumor' he said. He paused and waited for my response i'll never forget the look on his face whilst he waited for me to react, I think he was waiting for me to cry but I didnt. So looking at me very confused he continued 'so now we have to have an MRI scan so we can find out exactly how big the tumour is and if there is more than one tumor. It will take a week or so to get these results’
I listened and responded with 'OK, we don't know if the tumor is benign or malignant right? the MRI scan will tell us this' Well come on, I had done all my research I knew if it was benign it was no big deal!
Little did I know his next sentence was going to change my life forever and there was nothing I could do about it. 'No i'm afraid not' he said, 'your tumor is malignant you have Breast Cancer, and you are going to need chemotherapy' I am sure he said lots of other things but I don't remember hearing them. I heard cancer and chemotherapy and that was it!
The first thing that went through my head was oh my god i'm going to loose my hair. Sounds crazy doesn't it, when you get told you have cancer losing your hair should be at the bottom of your list, but it wasn't. I could see this image of a sick cancer patient and all I could think was that's going to be me. I wasn't crying but the tears were streaming uncontrollably down my face. They just wouldn't stop. The doc finally got the response he was used to. After that I just remember being lead away into yet another room, the tears still pouring. Now we know what the nurse was there for.
If I’m honest at that point I had no thoughts, everything was just blank. Nothing was making sense. Then I realised my dad was downstairs waiting for me. So I tried to stop crying, I tried to get my voice back so I could call him. I remember thinking Fuck fuck what am I suppose to say to him. So I just told him to go home as they don't know anything yet they needed to do more tests.
He's my dad, he can read me better then my mum, ‘why are you crying he said’
‘you know me dad i'm a baby I cry at anything don't worry go home and ill call you’
I sat with the Nurse she talked and talked, I was there but I didn't hear a word. ‘You have breast cancer' ‘You have breast cancer’ kept going round in my head. It wouldn’t stop.
Then the thoughts started. I’m going die, I wont get to see my niece and nephew grow up. I’m going to die! My niece and nephew were all I could think about, the thought of not seeing them was killing me. Anyone who knows me will know they are literally my world, my heart beats. I swear I don’t know what I did before they came along. I walk into a shop I think what has it got for them, Im constantly online looking at things they might like. They sleep with me when they come over, they are truly the best gift from god. I’ve always loved kids, there’s something about their honesty their unconditional love which makes my heart go funny. People have different goals growing up mine was simply to get married and have babies. That hasn’t happened yet but it doesn’t matter because Sansaar and Simar are like mine. I actually reckon if I do have children one day they will be jealous of how much I love these two.
After convincing myself I was going to die, I started to panic with worry, what about my family they wont be able to cope with this, please god let this be a dream this can’t be happening. They won’t cope. They’ve been through soo much already. It was like a loop in my head and the same things kept going round and round. I wasn’t scared for myself but I was truly scared for them.
It’s amazing how quickly the doctors and nurses expect you to digest this information. I mean before I knew it I was handed a thick breast cancer folder and sent off to have my bloods done. Like a zombie I walked across the hall full of people waiting for bloods and handed the receptionist my paper I remember her looking at me with a tilted head and saying ‘darling you need to go upstairs thats for emergency cases’ I went upstairs and I was seen instantly. I thought wow this is really serious, and the tears started again.
Waiting for my dad outside the hospital the tears were still going, a stranger stopped and said don’t worry everything will be ok and walked away. I sat on the bench the sun shining on my face and something just clicked in my head. Either I was going to cry my way through this and let it get the better of me or I was going to take control of the situation as much as I could and fight like I’d never fought before. And in that moment I decided that in order for my family to be strong I had to be. If they saw me broken they wouldn’t be able to cope and I couldn’t handle that. So I wiped the tears away and that was it.
Dad pulled up, and a few minutes after getting in the car I told him I had breast cancer. He went silent for what felt like ages, and then he said ‘ok, you are my strong daughter and we are going to fight this. You are going to be absolutely fine’ I agreed and told him don’t worry dad I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. It was really strange because now there were no tears, it was just a case of getting through this.
My biggest worry was telling mum. She wasnt like dad, he was a glass half full kind of guy and my mum, a glass half empty. Also I was about to tell a mum that her daughter had cancer, how does any mum take that sort of news. Telling her was definitely one of the hardest things I’d ever done in my life. She cried and cried and then cried some more. She kept saying why you, why does nothing ever go your way. why you.
I never thought about it like that, I didn’t for a second think why me. It was an illness it had happened, I just got unlucky.
That day I told mum cry as much as you want, but after today no one cry's in front of me I told her that in order to get through this I needed to be strong and she needed to be strong for me too. That I was going to have the treatment they were going to cut this shit out of me and then we are going to get on with the rest of our lives. I told them that no one was to look at me like I was dying because I wasn’t. No typical Indian nonsense where we mourn someone because they have an illness. We stay positive and that’s it.
I then had to break the news to my sister who was suppose to be out celebrating my beautiful nephews 4th birthday but instead was sat worrying about me. I told her over text, I couldn’t face another conversation, it was too much. I don’t know how she coped with the news I wasn’t there but with me she was cool and calm, we both decided we wouldn’t mention anything to my baby sister who was still away on honeymoon.
Being from an Indian background as a community we tend to keep everything behind closed doors, if there’s a wedding you don’t tell anyone straight away, if your poorly you don’t tell anyone, if u’ve had a miscarriage you don’t tell anyone, if you are being beaten you don’t let it get out. ‘What will people think’ is probably the most used line in an Indian household. What random community members think is more important then even individuals happiness sometimes.
And my household was no different, a few hours after the news had sunk in my mum came over and told me listen don't tell anyone. We don't know what people will think. I don’t think I’ve ever been sooo angry, I blew my top I told her I was going to tell who I wanted when I wanted and I was even going to blog about it. It’s because of these kind of mentalities that there are hardly any Indians who talk openly about cancer. Maybe if they did we could catch it earlier. It wasn't my fault i got cancer. I felt like I was almost being blamed for it. I know she wasn't but i had just been told I had cancer something that was going to affect the rest of my life and I was suppose to deal with that alone. Say nothing to anybody. It seemed insane..... especially insane because I was a chatterbox by nature, I told everyone everything. My life was an open book and I wore my heart on my sleeve. How mum even thought I could hide it was beyond me.
Anyway having just been diagnosed with breast cancer my mum wasn’t going to argue with me, so that was the end of that conversation.