(Viney Kerpal/ The Cure) — The oncologist diagnosed me with stage 3 breast cancer. I felt flung into icy waters.
Cancer hyphenated my life into “Before” and “After” eras. The “Before” era saw a confident, energetic 58-year-old professor travelling widely. The “After” era, however, saw a sick, diffident, depressed woman. The year was 2007.
More troubling than the treatment comprising radical mastectomy, six cycles of chemotherapy, 33 cycles of radiation, side effects like mouth ulcers, nausea, weakness, was the continuous fear of recurrence and death that boxed me in.
I spoke with my doctor. He advised me to attend support group meetings. Before meeting survivors in person, I looked for cancer survivors on the internet. It delighted me to find several patients with cancer who’d survived more than a decade. Encouraged, I read some first-person narratives to understand their victory over the disease. (…)
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