Close up of Rina, a stage 2 survivor from India

Meet Rina: A Stage 2 Breast Cancer Survivor from India

“Adversity Makes Us Brave”

A Fateful Discovery

I was in the best physical shape of my life prior to diagnosis. I exercised 5 days a week and ate healthy. I had no family history of breast cancer. One night I was scratching an itch on my left breast and felt a hard lump. I went to my doctor who said it was probably a cyst but scheduled me for an ultrasound and biopsy to be sure. The ultrasound was fine, but in the biopsy, they saw the tumor and were pretty certain it was cancer.

Facing the Challenge Head-On

On March 28, 2018, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35, which we later learned was stage 2 with Her2+. On Wednesday, April 16 2018, I had a lumpectomy. On Wednesday, May 17 2018, I began chemotherapy. I had 2 rounds of chemo and breast scans follow-ups. Three years later, on February 9, 2021, cancer recurred on the same side. I had breast surgery again and had 6 rounds of chemo, followed by 25 radiations and 11 rounds of targeted therapy.

Maintaining a Positive Attitude

I made sure I got out of the house and walked daily. It helped my mental and physical health. Another thing that is very important to me is my faith, and I believe that God can heal. Even with all the people I initially told about the disease, their first reaction was, “I will pray for you.” That was reassuring to me and, in a way, gave me the strength I needed. One thing I did was focus on what I was eating and when. I knew many people faced acid reflux issues with chemotherapy, so I made sure I did not eat anything too spicy. And another thing was to make sure I was drinking enough water to flush out all the toxins from the chemotherapy.

Adapting and Learning

My preferences kept changing from cycle to cycle, and although the options were very few, I ensured I was eating right. It is a journey of listening to your body’s needs and providing it with the necessary things.

Key Lessons from My Cancer Journey

Let people express their feelings and let them help you if they can. Because a lot of people around feel helpless when it comes to diseases like this and want to be of whatever help they can, and sometimes the small things to us might be a huge thing to them, so let them help you in any way they can.

Ensure you get out of the house regularly. It is easy to get caught up in the process and not notice the walls closing in until too late, so it is good to take a break occasionally.

It is okay to feel how you feel. Even the negative emotions that seem unnecessary are how your mind and body process the journey; if you don’t let them out, they can stay inside for a long time. So feel the feelings and let it all out.

Life After Treatment

I’m now on Tamoxifen for the next 5 years, and I’m going through a lot of physical and emotional changes, but I try to keep positive and calm with yoga & meditation.

Holding on to Hope

There is always hope. Hang on to it and live each day with it. Don’t let it go just because the doctors gave you time. They are just a few educated people working with the tools at hand, but you are an individual capable of more. Have hope and fight for it.

In Rina’s inspiring breast cancer survivor story, we see the importance of early diagnosis, effective treatments, and the power of a strong support system. At Learn Look Locate, we are committed to providing valuable information on early detection, diagnosis, and the latest treatments, along with sharing personal stories from breast cancer survivors like Rina. Our goal is to empower individuals with knowledge and support throughout their journey. Connect with our supportive community by exploring our diagnosis, treatments, survivor stories, and medical advisors pages. We’re here to help you navigate your path to healing and beyond.