I retired in June 2013 as a Bank Officer, in a small town called Meerut. Five years later, In October 2018 – a new chapter of my life began. While I was in the shower, I felt a small lump on my left breast. Without any delay, I mentioned it to my son and we rushed to Delhi where a series of diagnostic rounds began. The condition was found to be Papillary Invasive Carcinoma of the left breast – we all were quite shaken. The only good part was that there were no metastases. After the left mastectomy, the treatment plan involved almost a year of chemo-radiotherapy. In this process, there were many setbacks with shifting homes, periods of complete isolation, side effects such as high fever, nausea as part of rapidly falling blood counts, hair loss, tooth and nail changes. Thankfully, it was all reversible.

I have felt an extreme range of emotions during this entire period. I was a very disciplined person, I still am, when it comes to my treatment dates or medicine time. Everyone used to say I was a very strong-willed woman. The truth is, with a strong support system and kind doctors – the situation felt manageable.

I feel blessed and thankful to God. I expressed gratitude to doctors, nurses, friends, and family – who helped me retain mental and physical strength throughout this journey. I realize more than ever, that life is a beautiful journey and we all should nurture everything that has life in it. We should start treating ourselves better. To all the beautiful women out there, be brave. You cannot change what life offers you, but you can control your reaction and action towards it. Lastly, I would like to quote Mary Anne Radmacher: “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says – I’ll try again tomorrow.”

Poornima Nigam

Optimist. Believer. Fighter.

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