Hope After Cancer Amrik's story
Amrik (she/her) - Indian
Diagnosed in 2020 - Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Cancer doesn’t define who I am. My courage is stronger than my fear. I am a survivor.
2020 was a year that I will never forget. The world plunged into chaos, as a global pandemic struck and shook everyone’s lives to the very core. In this surreal world, I found myself in a nightmare of my own, when out of the blue, I got diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer in January 2020.
In a whirlwind, I went through a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, a zoledronic acid infusion, radiotherapy, and even a bout of shingles.
After the appointments finished, I didn’t know how to feel. I didn’t feel capable of leading my life on my own, without medical professionals listening to my every concern. Despite my family, friends and colleagues regularly checking in on me, I’d never felt so alone.
The pandemic meant that I couldn’t see anyone other than my immediate family and my medical team. My hair had all fallen out with chemotherapy and I could no longer recognise the person in the mirror or the one inside me. I became this whole other different person and I had no idea who she was or how she was going to survive.
I eventually found moments of hope when I decided to start writing a book about my cancer journey. This is still work in progress but it’s getting there slowly.
"My family helped by hosting a weekly quiz night and then I found the Life After Cancer support group. Here, I found the strongest, most beautiful ladies, I have ever had the pleasure to know. I am still in touch with ladies from this course and we lift each other up and keep each other going. Most of all, we appreciate each other and find it within ourselves to laugh too."
The Life After Cancer programme empowered me to move forward. My return to work can be attributed solely to this course, which helped me recover on an emotional level and gave me a sense of well-being I thought I had lost forever.
The course had some valuable activities, which didn’t always make sense at the time. It’s when I’ve thought back that I’ve realised the full impact. Most importantly, I learned that all cancer patients share the same feelings, worries and anxieties…and these emotions are ‘normal’.
It was a relief to discover that I had not turned into a crazed monster and what I felt was the same as other cancer patients.
The new me has now returned to work and I have learned to make adjustments for the constantly exhausted me and the chemo-brain me. However, inside there is also a stronger me, the me who braved a cancer world, survived and made some new friends for life along the way.