As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, we present real-life stories that will touch your heart and kindle your soul. 

Seema Shah was a well established business consultant in Bangalore before the storm of recurring cancer hit her by surprise and changed her career priorities forever. Here, she tells her story of how cancer shattered all her dreams of having a life-long career. 

I was diagnosed with Cancer two years ago. And, trust me going through cancer is like getting thrown under the bus or getting into a dark sea that tows you down until your family or friends pull you up. And after routine chemotherapy, daily radiation and grueling sessions of getting injected with drugs, comes the time to get back to work. 

In case of Cancer, returning to work is different! I loved my job so much but every time I would get a headache or back pain, the fear of that pain spiralling up to become a big health concern got me worried every time. But, still I felt lucky that I was a survivor and thought this was over for good. A year passed and I was better than ever,I still remember going to walk daily and doing everything I normally did before my cancer.

After a year of recovery, a few months had passed and suddenly I started experiencing weird shoulder pain that lasted for longer durations. I still remember calling the oncology nurse and telling her all that and she replied, “oh-oh”. And, I knew something was wrong, so I got my MRI scheduled and waited. I could feel every second of the moment, it felt as if time turned into fragments. 

Finally the phone call came and she told me we have found a mass let’s follow-up with a CT-Scan. So, I did everything I was told and the result was swift and sure : It was Cancer. Cancer had returned! 

Being diagnosed with recurrent cancer was more emotionally and physically draining for me than the first one. My enthusiasm to fight against it was diminishing at an exponential pace. I had already taken Chemotherapy previously so it was not a good idea to radiate the area again. I was prescribed some drugs and they briefly worked to reduce the tumour to 1 cm and then the drugs stopped working. The only option left was surgery. 

And, I still remember, me and my husband crying to sleep the night before the surgery. But, we didn’t want our daughter to know how vulnerable her parents were at that time. So, we mentally prepared ourselves for the surgery where one rib was removed, a part of my back muscle was taken out. 

I literally wanted to tell myself, I will be alright but if there is one thing Cancer has taught me, it is being honest to self. I don’t tell myself now that things are going to be okay. I confess that the recurrence of cancer was terrible and I have just somehow bargained with life. My passion was career and my zeal for life aren’t the same as before but I know I am still a survivor. 

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