Walking down lane C is never easy; no matter how much information is available and what doctors can tell you, nothing fully prepares you for the tough journey. Meet four courageous women who have gone through the battle or are still fighting it, and are documenting their experiences on their blogs. Candid and compelling, these extracts from their blogs paint a raw picture of the pain, struggles and emotional roller coasters that have become a part of their daily lives.
Chapters from My Life, India
Farida Rizwan from Bangalore, India tells the story of her experience going through breast cancer at the age of 29, back in 1996. At the time, her daughter (who has special needs) was only 11 months old and she also had a 5-year-old son. Farida claims that the cancer squeezed out every ounce of fighting spirit and strength she had in her. Today, she is a proud survivor of Stage III Infiltrating Breast Carcinoma.
The one thing about her life that hurts me the most is, the day she got to know I had cancer too. It attacked her right breast and my left one. I joked it was the result of sharing everything but I could see the pain in her. She slowly started sobbing and then cried piteously. Why both of us? She asked again and again. She just broke after that.
I still remember and feel the hug she gave me when I left to get myself operated. I was walking out of gate when she came there and hugged me and wept. That was something very touching and can bring tears whenever I remember it. I just felt the love flow from her to me.
We again proved to be opposites. She gave up and lost her life where as I fought it out (the odds were very much against me) and survived. I feel guilty of not sharing something with her there. Does she know the pain I suffer whenever I think of her? Would she change the decision if she knew I was going to suffer so?
There have been many people who have given me a part of her. I have found so many sisters of hearts. They are not blood relation to me but we share the feelings and pain of our heart. We can emphatise with each other. But still the pain of losing a sister remains. No matter what changes takes place. Can we really lose someone after having found them and loved them? Does someone has an answer? I am searching…
Breast Cancer? But Doctor… I Hate Pink! , United States
Ann Silberman, 57, of Sacramento, California blogs about braving life with terminal metastatic breast cancer – armed with a twisted sense of humour. First diagnosed with cancer six years ago, Ann is still fighting hard to realise her most important goal: To see her sons go to college.
Now that I’ve had surgery, I can have the bag boys take my groceries to the car without feeling guilty, and when I wear my scarf as I was yesterday – everybody knows why I need help. Yay for an excuse to be lazy! I chatted with the nice young man as I confidently walked to my car, when suddenly I realized I had no idea where it was.
It has to be this aisle, right?
I stopped dead in my tracks and looked – I didn’t see the car anywhere. Well, it could be only one of two aisles, so I told the boy that I thought we were in the wrong aisle. He was very kind, saying, “No problem, I like a good walk.”
We walked half way down aisle number 2 – still no car! In desperation, I told this teenager, “Uh oh, chemo brain! I have no idea where my car is. It’s a white SUV and in one of these two aisles, do you see it?” I got lucky. This kid had an aunt with breast cancer and completely understood chemo brain. He led me straight to my car.
Shitty Tittie Bang Bang, Australia
With a blog name inspired by a billboard on the freeway advertising the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang stage show which she drove past on her way to her first consultation with a breast surgeon, Lisa McDermid turned to blogging as a form of therapy, as she stumbled her way through her breast cancer experience. This former teacher-lecturer and mother of two young beautiful children from Bendigo, Australia was diagnosed in 2013 when she was 37 years old. She has an aggressive nodal positive breast cancer, staged 2B, which she is in remission for. She is still living with the side effects from the treatments.
The hairy doctor taps away on a wonky keyboard, entering all of this data into my electronic file. This incessant clunking of the iMac keyboard perched precariously on a mouse pad, half on and half off goes on forever. Why not just stop and straighten it?
Then, out of nowhere, tears begin to gush from my eyes.
The hairy doctor stands up from the white replica Eames chair, comes around to the front of the desk and takes my hand. I am told “Be happy for your children, be happy for your children.”
“It’s only hair”
But it’s not ONLY hair!
After a year and a half, this is the thing that gets to me. It’s not the mastectomies, the ongoing pain, the weight gain, the menopausal symptoms, the loss of sexual function and intimacy, the ruptured tissue explander, the damaged lung, the supposedly benign lesions on my liver that will be watched. The seeming ability to age twenty years in one. It’s not even the cancer or the loss of my expectation of my healthy life and my healthy future.
This hair loss, my hair loss, ten months after finishing chemotherapy, is symbolic of all of these things. Collectively.
Cancer Fabulous, Canada
Designer, author and a jet-setting cancer survivor, 32-year-old Sylvia Soo from Alberta, Canada shares her breast cancer stories in both her blog and her book, Cancer Fabulous Diaries. Sylvia was first diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 2009 and had a local reoccurrence in 2013. After rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and several surgeries including a mastectomy and reconstruction, she is now cancer-free and living her life to the fullest.
Today *** got me in to see the other Dr, because my surgeon was away. He took out my drain because it was hardly draining anything anymore. In fact it was just acting funny since my infection… thank God the infection is under control. Dr was super nice and asked me questions about “ME” it was nice to talk about my life other than cancer.
Since there was fluid build up underneath my chest it had to be drained with a HUGE needle, but it didn’t hurt AT all. That’s how numb my chest is! I joked with the resident Dr that I was “growing a new breast” he joked back “not for long” as the Dr went to get the needle! What a wonderful feeling of freedom for my body to be void of my little drain grenades. What a wonderful feeling!
I know that cancer is such a huge part of my life, but I can’t help but wish that other areas of my life would have a chance to grow. But like in my body, cancer is trying to take over all areas of my life. I won’t let it… but I need some predictability in my life first.
More from Zafigo:
AFTERWARDS – Estée Lauder’s new book encourages women to talk about breast cancer
Going pink for breast cancer awareness in Kuala Lumpur
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