Surviving Breast Cancer

Kunjalata Medhi, a freelance writer, narrates how awareness and early detection has helped her survive breast cancer for seven years now

Kunjalata Medhi

“My battle against cancer is a journey from fear to being courageous with the determination of defeating the disease,” recalls Kunjalata. “In 2006 I was working in Don Bosco Publications, Guwahati, where I used to read books related to breast cancer. I realized, I was developing one particular symptom. I immediately did a self-examination by reading the procedures in the books and felt a symptomatic lump in my breast. I got it checked and was suggested medication to reduce the lump size. The doctor didn’t confirm cancer nor suggested further diagnosis.

“But, I started living with the constant fear of cancer. I couldn’t share my anxiety with my family and had to live with it until the day I gathered courage to speak to my nephew, who informed my family. My sister took me to a hospital in Delhi where I underwent FNAC (Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology) test and mammography. The report confirmed cancer!

“I was shocked beyond belief. We had no family history of cancer. The diagnosis hit hard and I cried every day as there was apparently no hope of survival. The cost of treatment was high and with a challenging financial condition my hopes dwindled.

“It was with the support from my nephew that I was able to go through the entire course of treatment with six rounds of chemo, twenty-five radiation and five years of hormonal therapy till 2012. During this phase, apart from taking doctor’s advice, I immersed myself in reading literature on cancer and its various treatment modalities and other healing techniques.

“The most important thing for me was awareness and faith in God. Be it financial or emotional support, my family stood by me throughout my cancer journey. I also received support from Deepshikha Foundation and Don Bosco Publications.

“Today, I am leading a cancer-free life and working with All Assam Secretary Writers Association. My first book The Complete Life History of Mother Teresa was published recently. I have also written a book called The Diary of a Time of Distress where I have illustrated my journey of being a healthy woman to a cancer patient and now a cancer survivor.

“The most important factor in defeating cancer is to make yourself aware about the disease, the signs and symptoms and the preventive measures. My constant reading and self-awareness helped in diagnosing cancer at an early stage. The survival rates are high for early stage cancers especially, breast cancer. You need to go on despite the repression and anxiety, and make cancer a part of you - not your entire life.”