If you’ve just started following Mneera’s weekly column talking about her journey with breast cancer, catch up by reading part 1 here.
Four quick weeks have passed since I’ve been diagnosed with cancer. I was now in New York to see my oncologist for the first time. I was feeling nervous and assured in equal measure.
Initial investigations seemed disconcerting. The likelihood was that I was going to lose my breast and this was reaffirmed by an appointment made for me with one of the hospital’s plastic surgeons.
Fortunately, further research brightened my prospects. I could opt for a lumpectomy instead. And while I was certainly relieved, such emotional highs and lows were playing havoc with my nervous system.
The morning of the surgery arrived soon enough and, surprisingly, I felt calm and positive. It was time to remove the tumor and move forward.
My feelings, while seemingly unusual, were due in no small part to my family who never failed to be by my side. I had the support I needed to focus on the positives. While my sister held my hand, I recited verses of the Quran to keep me calm and protected. Before I could recite any more I found myself in the recovery room. “Is it over?” I asked. “Yes. And you’re going to be just fine”, my sister replied.
One evil removed. More sadly awaited. My doctor sat with me and explained that the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes and caused something called a lymphovascular invasion. This meant I had to have an aggressive plan of chemotherapy.
Although the prospect of chemo filled me with dread, it also filled me with hope for getting better. And as the drug coursed through my veins I prayed it would go easy on me. The thing about chemo though is it rarely goes easy on anyone and I was no exception. The aching bones, the knotted stomach, the nausea were all recurring bedfellows. That said, I thought it would have been worse and I was thankful for that.
As I write these words I am undergoing a specialist chemotherapy drug trial for early stage breast cancer. I wanted to take part, because if I can be the guinea pig that helps deliver a breakthrough, then those that follow me will be my legacy.
Through it all, I never lost hope. My family and my faith see to that and I look forward to the day when my words are those of a victor who has defeated life’s number one enemy.
If you find yourself in my situation my words of advice would be to not allow cancer to be bigger than you because it isn’t. We are so medically advanced that it is no longer a death sentence. Be in tune with your body and have a positive outlook because the likelihood is you will survive.
Mneera is a 27 year old Bahraini who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She is currently living in Manhattan, New York for treatment. To get in touch with Mneera email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can continue to follow Mneera’s weekly column talking about her journey with breast cancer, and read the 3rd installment here.