Solanki Halder is one of the many cancer survivors around us. The 27-year-old woman has struck many a chord when she narrated how her boyfriend stood by her despite her disease and the treatment that would prevent her from conceiving for at least five years.
Halder’s note, posted by a page belonging to ‘Being You’, a collective of survivors, has gone viral on the Internet. The woman has overcome breast cancer and resulting complications with her steely resolve and steady support from her beloved. Cancer has been transforming for her.
Her post reads thus:
“I was 26 when I first noticed a lump in my breast. I went to the doctor but was misdiagnosed around four times. A year passed and my lump had grown from 2 cm to 10 cm. I went to a multi-specialty hospital and insisted on doing a test. The results were inconclusive. My boyfriend insisted on going to Tata Medical Centre.
"I took the tests and returned to my life in Bangalore. One night, as my friends celebrated successful placements, I stared at my results. Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Stage 3 breast cancer. The reports couldn't be true, I thought. I was 27 years old. Breast cancer was a disease, which happened to older women.
"The pre-medications caused constant nausea and indigestion. The chemo itself caused my veins to burn from the inside and made my bones throb in pain. It was 15 days after my first chemo that I noticed 10 loose strands of hair on my pillow. It took five days for all my hair to fall out. When I first looked in the mirror, I could barely recognize myself. Chemo made me feel alien in my own body. I needed to fight this, and I turned to make-up. With make-up, I could hide the unhealthy pallor of my skin, my dark circles, and wigs to go with it all! When I put my “face” on, I felt invincible. I knew if I stayed positive and happy, I could win over cancer and I could feel my tumor shrinking within me.
"After finishing college, I went to Mumbai and got a chemo port inserted as my veins were burnt with the medicines by now. I started a series of 12 weekly sessions and flew back for my convocation two days later. When I climbed on the IIMB stage, everyone clapped louder than ever. After chemo, my tumor couldn’t be felt anymore. I had to go through 20 sessions of radiotherapy to destroy any stray cells. It burnt my skin black and was painful.
"Today, I am cancer free but the doctors have put me on a drug called tamoxifen, which has induced a five-year menopause. I cannot have a baby during this period. The drug also causes a low sex drive and depression. But I know I will win over this. I have the support of my family, friends and especially my boyfriend, who has stood by me like a rock. We are getting married in December. I can’t wait to start this new phase of my life with a man who has loved me not only at my best but also at my worst and held on at my weakest. Though some people are surprised that we are getting married but true love is about loving one’s soul!
"Cancer has taught me to be patient, kind, and more empathetic, to rise above even when the world comes crashing down, to redefine 'life' and ‘love'."