I am 30 years old, single and that's a lot to ask from a woman in Indian society. I consider myself very lucky to have contracted COVID last year because it was during one of my CT scans that the doctors detected a lump in one of my breasts. Further tests proved that it is cancerous and the struggle began. I was required to take chemotherapy and radiation, along with hormonal injections. My first reaction was obviously, "Why me?"
Going Bald Felt Liberating
After calming down and accepting the reality, I would tell myself that I was not alone. An excerpt of my self talk, "Look around Swati, everyone around you in the hospital is either fighting cancer with you, or has fought and won!" After my first round of chemotherapy, I started losing my hair! When I saw the first patch, I told my parents I want to go bald. They were not very happy with my decision and told me to wait and see how much hair falls! But, I did not want to mentally add the torture of seeing my hair fall every day, so I shaved it off! I booked a parlour appointment, took my mom for and made it a date. This feeling of having off was extremely liberating and empowering!
Days Kept Getting Tougher
With every cycle of my chemotherapy, days got tougher, but I kept myself going by looking at the smallest thing to cheer me up! There were nights when I have slept beside a dustbin, but then there have been mornings when I motivated myself and went for a drive with my parents! During this time I channelled all the energy left within, into gardening, painting, enjoying Netflix, enjoying Diwali, enjoying the winter sun, the birth of my nephew- basically enjoying being ME! I also moved towards a healthy lifestyle and kept a nutritionist for myself! Now, I count that as an achievement too. Cancer can happen to anyone! When I used to ask myself why me, I would look at the little kids who are 2 or 3 years old coming for Chemotherapy.
I wanted to spread the message on how Cancer is totally curable if you catch it at the right time. Please listen to your body. Please pay attention to the signs it is showing you. I wanted to also talk about it so that in India people don't consider this as taboo and more and more people talk about their journey inspiring others and making others feel comfortable. Today whenever I go for my checkups I flaunt my bald bold look and inspire others to do it also since in India, most people would cover their bald head for the fear of being judged, or not accepted. I encourage them by telling them what they have conquered very few people would have so there is nothing to hide. Be proud of this victory, celebrate it.
Post all my treatments I went for a beach vacation and celebrated myself. I made a hashtag #warriormoon inspired by all the lockdown babies ' babymoon'.
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