Dealing with a Cancer Diagnosis

Apr 08 2024.

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In a recent public announcement, Katherine, the Princess of Wales, bravely disclosed her ongoing medical treatment via a video recording, putting an end to speculation surrounding her absence from public life. This candid revelation not only shed light on her personal journey on her treatment for cancer but also served as a beacon of inspiration for countless individuals grappling with health concerns. For many,  including myself, the wait for medical results can be an excruciating experience,  fraught with fear and uncertainty. Last year, I found myself in a similar predicament,  anxiously awaiting test results to rule out gynecological cancer.  

The mere thought of facing such news alone, compounded by the absence of my husband and son who were in Sri Lanka on holiday, left me overwhelmed with apprehension. Having lost my mother to cancer in 2019, the spectre of the disease loomed ominously in my mind, intensifying my anxiety.

However, upon receiving the reassuring news from my consultant that my biopsies were negative, a wave of relief washed over me, restoring a sense of normalcy to my life.

 

"The fear of waiting for my results was daunting. Images of my mum’s last days as a cancer patient would come to my mind constantly. It was nerve-wracking to say the least." - Tina

Reflecting on this ordeal, I am reminded of the power of sharing our experiences in confronting health challenges. While discussing illness may often evoke discomfort, I firmly believe that opening up about our struggles can alleviate worries and offer solace to others facing similar circumstances. As a testament to this belief, several of our readers have bravely recounted their own journeys of overcoming the fear of cancer diagnosis, both for themselves and their loved ones. With global statistics revealing that one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer, the importance of fostering open dialogue and mutual support cannot be overstated. By sharing our stories and offering solidarity, we not only empower those navigating their own health scares but also foster a community of resilience and compassion.


"I was diagnosed with Myelofibrosis in 2021. It’s a rare blood cancer."


I really cannot express the feeling I had in my body and how fast my heartbeat was while he was explaining the matter. I was looking at the doctor’s face and couldn’t talk a word. I was shocked beyond words. I kept asking myself why did this happen to me? During the 16 days it took for my results to come through, I felt I was a walking wreck. I had no appetite and shut myself off from the world. I did not want to talk to anyone as I was processing this life-changing news. When I received confirmation that I did indeed have Myelofibrosis, my first question was if this was hereditary and would it pass to my children as it’s a Gene Mutation. My second question was if there was medication to treat this disease. I was relieved when he told me there were treatment options available and it will not pass to my children.

The hardest part was to inform my parents. At the same time I told myself 'I have to be strong and there is medication. I have lived for 50 years and how about the small children at Apeksha Hospital.' When I told my parents, amma was crying a lot, but my father was strong. He told me, 'be strong , and do what the doctor says, be happy that you have a treatment available.' When I spoke to my daughters they also told me that I am a strong lady, 'you can fight anything, always think that you are not the only one having this, there are countless others with cancer.' Their words of 'we are always there with you amma” was the motivation I received from my daughters. I was determined to show my kids I am a strong mother. I will not be lying down in a room; I have to get up and face whatever it is and fight for it. So, I changed myself and started looking for jobs and began talking to my friends again, spending more time with my daughters, and with my parents. Mentally and physically I am in a much better place. The support of my family, medical staff and friends is what helped me pull through that daunting time. I am still under treatment and take each day as it come. - KISHANI


 

My mother was diagnosed as a Lung Cancer patient. The doctors gave her three months.

We (father and seven children) were advised to keep her happy.

So we took turns, applied leave and stayed with her during the months of November, December and January. How she bore the pain was amazing.

On 4th February she freed herself from earthly sorrows and went to be with the Lord.

- PRABATH GAMALATHGE

 

 

 


 

My grandmother and mother were diagnosed with cancer almost simultaneously when I was just 15. As the older sibling I remember being expected to be strong but not knowing how exactly to do that.

I watched Nana have isolated radiation for days, and Mama go through the pain of chemo. One of the reasons why I “survived” through it was a strong support system of relatives, and especially my friends.

There were friends who became family, blood
donors, a shoulder to cry on and so much more. Decades later those friendships have stood the test of time. Just like Nana and Mama have. Today, they are both Cancer-free and two of the most resilient women I know. The second lesson I learnt and will always carry with me is their faith in God. If not for God being the healer and comforter through it all, none of us would be here.

- NISHU GUNAWARDANA


 

When I went for my first mammogram at age 40, little did I know it will also be my last. A cancer diagnosis seemed preposterous since I had no family history. Cancer doesn’t care. Although it was localized, its tentacles had spread and I was facing major surgery. It was time to come to terms and give up my attachment to my boobs. With my husband at my side, we focused on recovery and a goal: a scuba diving trip in three months.

A few weeks after surgery, I started strength training, so I could carry the 20kg of scuba gear unassisted and back roll into the water. We started by walking around our neighbourhood  then, a little further. I pushed myself, and my body pushed back - it wasn’t ready to go so hard and revolted with painful muscle spasms. I told myself: this too shall pass. Focusing on something other than cancer gave me control, gave me something I could achieve and there’s no greater motivation than a good challenge.

Our minds and bodies are far more capable than we allow ourselves to believe, a lesson cancer taught me. We
might not be able to control Cancer, but we can certainly choose how we react to it. - GISHANI RATNAYAKE


 

After Polyps in my mum’s nose were discovered, surgery was done and the specimen was given to me put in a bottle to be given to the Lab for urgent results. I received it in two days and it confirmed cancer. I told Mummy not to worry now, every other person is a walking patient and with the modern equipment and medicine you don’t have
to worry much and you have several children to be with you.

Each one took turns and did the needful. She was a third degree patient and went into remission after undergoing treatment at the Colombo General hospital. A team of doctors were brought down from America to see her. It was a real miracle she had 10 children and lived almost 30 years after that to see even her great grand children. I thank God for her recovery. - PHILOMENA DEVANESAN


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tina Edward Gunawardhana

Tina Edward Gunawardhana is a journalist specialising in travel, fashion, lifestyle, cuisine and personalities. She is also the Deputy Editor for Hi!! Magazine. An intrepid traveller, she likes to show readers the world through her eyes and experiences. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - tinajourno [email protected]

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