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“The disease spread from my breast to my ribs and spinal cord; But I survived it all.”

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“The disease spread from my breast to my ribs and spinal cord; But I survived it all.”

56-year-old A. K., who noticed the mass in her breast while changing her clothes 10 years ago, was diagnosed with breast cancer the next day. AK, who felt discomfort in his left rib in 2013 and was admitted to the hospital again, learned that the cancer had spread between his 3 ribs. We had an interview with AK, who received a total of 52 radiotherapy treatments and 6 months of chemotherapy, about his experiences during the treatment period.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am 56 years old, I have an engineer son and an architect daughter. I am a housewife. 10 years ago, I got a lump on my hand while changing my clothes. I went to the doctor the next day. My doctor diagnosed breast cancer without an MRI, ultrasound or mammogram. Then I had all my tests done and I learned that it was a malignant mass of 2 cm in size.

What did you feel at that moment?

After my diagnosis, I was never depressed. I had prepared myself, but I was still shocked when the doctor said it to my face. My doctor understood that I was worried and gave me a morale boost, telling me that I would get through it. It helped me a lot.

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When did you have surgery?

I had surgery 15 days later, and the part where the mass was located was surgically removed. It spread to 1-2 lymph nodes under my armpit, and they were also removed. After 1 month, Medical Oncology Specialist Prof. Dr. I contacted Serdar Turhal and started chemotherapy and radiotherapy. My chemotherapy lasted 6 months.

How did your chemotherapy go?

I didn’t understand anything during my first chemotherapy, but my second chemotherapy was very troublesome. I was very nauseated. I couldn’t eat much, I was consuming liquids. Also, I had my hair cut after the second session because I knew my hair would fall out. Since my treatment was in the winter, I always went out with a beanie. After chemotherapy, I took a break for a month and then started radiotherapy.

How did the radiotherapies go?

I had no problems during radiotherapy, but 3 months after the radiotherapy ended, I experienced indigestion, loss of appetite and thinning of the blood vessels in my eyes. Everything was great until 2013. I was going to and from my routine check-ups. In 2013, I felt discomfort in my left rib and went to the hospital. I went to the orthopedist and nothing was found. Then I went to oncology and there I learned that I had metastasis between my 3 ribs. Radiotherapy was started immediately. I received 10 sessions of radiotherapy. Then everything was fine for another 2 years. In 2015, I had a metastasis in my spine. I also received 10 sessions of radiotherapy to my spinal cord. I received a total of 52 radiotherapy treatments and 6 chemotherapy courses. Everything is fine now, under control.

Have you ever felt disappointed and given up?

In general, I did not feel discouraged, but I can say that I feel a little tired after 10 years of struggle. I don’t neglect my check-ups. Doctors say I am very well. I was always in hospitals for 10 years, and of course, I also felt hopeless and nervous from time to time. “I wonder if I won’t get better?” I thought. But thank God I saw these days.

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Who was your biggest supporter?

My family was my biggest supporter. Apart from that, my friends were with me. I also received psychological support, it helped me a lot. You cannot talk about everything with everyone, but being able to talk about everything with the doctor was very good for me. Thank God I survived.

Do you have any suggestions for patients?

I support patients in the hospital as much as I can, physically and morally. I let go of myself and help other patients. When I hear patients say that cancer is a bad disease, I cheer up by saying that I have been a patient for 10 years and have survived many diseases. Some patients also isolate themselves from life a lot. It is very important not to break away from life. No one should expect the struggle from life, let them fight it themselves. I didn’t have any whims like “I had chemotherapy today, I can’t go out”, I always took part in life.

Has anyone bothered you with unnecessary comments?

Of course, there were many people around me who said, “It is a bad disease, as its name suggests, God forbid” or “No matter how much treatment you receive, the outcome of this disease is death.” The people who are going through your hardest time looking at you with pity. I don’t like that look at all. To those who talk negatively to me like this, “I am the one who suffers from this, what does talking like this gain you? “Instead of boosting my morale, you’re demoralizing me,” I said. Cancer does not mean that everything is over. Technology has advanced a lot. Even my closest friends made comments like this. “To the hospital again?” Many people got on my nerves by asking, “This is not a life to be endured, I couldn’t endure it myself. May God give you patience, you are very strong.” However, even though it was annoying, I always ignored them.

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What has the disease taught you?

I used to try very hard not to offend people. When I caught this disease, I started to observe everything better. The people you run with always expect something from you and never give anything. They disappear when you need them. But they appear when they want. This disease taught me this. I am happy to fight with my family, but except for a few of my very few friends, everyone is a good friend. I am no longer as soft a person as I used to be, I started to love myself more and not wear myself out. I’m not as giving as I used to be. Even your relatives become good friends one day. These patients should never lose their morale, morale is very important. I have a garden. There I keep myself busy with organic vegetables and fruits. I don’t like being idle. Everyone should do the same. I love listening to music, watching television, reading books and drinking tea, coffee and chatting with my friends. I make preserves and jams with the vegetables and fruits I collect from my garden. These also keep me busy. Thus, the disease is forgotten.

I guess you also have a dog…

Yes, I have a dog. My dear friend, my source of morale. It came to me when it was 15 days old, and it grew in my hands. My biggest friend is my dog ​​”Duman”. He is 8 years old now. Duman was coming to me when I was sick and looking at my face. He never left my side. During my difficult times, he always slept next to me and would never leave me until I woke up. He’s closer to me than a human. He can’t even speak, but he tells everything with his eyes. Love for animals is a very beautiful thing.

“His positive attitude towards life made a significant contribution”

Anadolu Health Center Medical Oncology Specialist Prof. Dr. What does Serdar Turhal say?

Although our patient experienced worrying recurrences throughout his illness, he always successfully overcame them. I think that his positive attitude towards life contributed positively to the course of his illness. His search for other pursuits rather than restricting himself to the events of the disease has always been a behavior I hold up as an example.

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