The meaning of Jai is ‘Victorious’ and what a victory it’s been so far. Who would have thought that little Jai would arrive under the toughest of circumstances? On Tue 9th Sept 2014, just two days after turning 33 years of age, and at 6 months pregnant, I was diagnosed with Stage II Invasive Breast Cancer. In that one moment our lives turned upside down. We kept asking how could this happen to us? What does it mean for our unborn child? I needed urgent major surgery and chemotherapy in order to save my life. My cancer had already advanced to my lymph nodes and this was the motorway system around my body for the cancer to spread. We were given piles of booklets to read but this was impossible to digest under the shock of the news. We turned to our very good friends within the medical proffesion Sally, Sunny and Smitha, who helped us to understand the diagnosis in more detail. Through these beautiful people all my medical treatment was moved over to Good Hope hospital within 24 hours where we were fast tracked for surgery. Waiting for us was a large medical team consisting of a Breast Care Surgeon, Anaesthetist, Obstetrician and Oncologist, all working closely together to achieve one outcome…to save our baby and me. Our precious little Jai coped with so much before being born. He coped on the operating table while mummy went through major surgery at 23 weeks gestation, he coped under radiation from X-rays and CT scans and most incredibly he coped under mummy’s chemotherapy treatment. Jai would kick mummy’s belly hard during chemo infusions reminding me to “keep fighting”. We would turn up for our hospital visits and go from the Maternity Ward to the Oncology Unit and staff would look at us both confused and shocked.
Not wanting to expose Jai any further to mummies treatment, our baby boy was born under an elective cesesrean at 34 weeks gestation. It was a truly incredible and ‘victorious’ day for us! Jai continued fighting and did amazingly well under the care of Neonatal. After just 2 weeks he was allowed home and we were overjoyed to have our amazing son home for Christmas.
We took a leap of faith at each stage of our journey and trusted the small sample data our medical team had access to, reassuring us treatment would be safe for both of us. We asked God for Jai and I to be protected. God listened to our prayers and watched over us. We didn’t want Jai put at risk by my treatment but we also didn’t want our son growing up without a mummy.
We didn’t know how wide spread the cancer was due to full body scanning being dangerous in pregnancy. We therefore spent 4 long agonising months not knowing if my illness was curable or terminal. I would write to my unborn son every night just incase I didn’t make it. I wanted him to know everything about me and how much I loved and fought for him. Something I never thought i’d have to do. I accepted that my life could be cut short and took time to reflect on each chapter of my life and every individual who has touched my heart in someway or another. But it wasn’t just tough for me…my husband didn’t know if he would lose his wife, my parents didn’t know if they would lose their youngest daughter and my sister didn’t know if she’d lose her ‘little Pix’ (as I’m known). They all kept their fears hidden from me and only showered me with positivity and love. I still remember my dads words the day I was diagnosed “if I can beat cancer, so can you!”. …on 22nd Dec 2014 we waited anxiously for my scan results. I still cry now when I replay my Consultants words in my head “I have terrific news for you Seema. There are no further signs of Cancer”. We cried like we have never cried before. I grabbed my little boy and said “mummy’s going to see you grow up and get married!” I held onto my son and husband so tight. I plan to do whatever it takes to keep my promise to my son.
We have an exceptionally supportive family who have taken each step with us throughout this journey and continue to do so each day. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We also have amazing friends who have kept our spirits high and kept us smiling throughout.
The most amazing person throughout this entire journey has been my husband. Many of you will know Manesh and you will already know what an amazing man he is, but if anyone could see the way he has cared and carried me over the last few months, you would know there is something incredibly special and extraordinary about my wonderful husband and our unconditional love. He has been by my side at every hospital appointment and held my hand throughout. He got me out of bed the days I’d lost hope, he made me eat when I didn’t feel like food and he picked me up each time I broke down. He would tell me each day how beautiful I looked, even though my hair was falling out and I couldn’t face looking in the mirror. He has suffered as much as me, if not more, feeling helpless when I cried, anxious each time we awaited results and watching me grow increasingly tired, heavily pregnant under chemotherapy.
He is my rock and I’d be lost without him. He has dedicated the last 6 months of his life caring for me and spent the last 3 months caring for Jai so mummy can rest. He is an amazing loving father and it makes my heart melt when I see my husband and son sharing precious moments together. We are finally a family despite all our obstacles and it feels great!
We are now counting down my chemo sessions and cannot wait to celebrate life after! I cannot predict what the future has install for me…but then again can anyone? Cancer can be a viscous illness and is unfortunately on the rise. It is estimated that 50% of the population will have cancer by 2020. No longer is cancer a disease of the aged. It’s unfortunate that every person reading this will either already have been personally affected by cancer or know somebody affected. Cancer has, however, given me the chance to view the world through new eyes with a renewed appreciation. I find myself taking time to absorb the beauty around me, the most beautiful being our sons eyes, as he gazes into mine. I’ve re-assessed my entire life and feel blessed that I’ve been given the chance to do so. I have changed my entire lifestyle to give my body the best possible chance to heal and remain cancer free. That includes a super clean diet, staying fit and kicking out any unnecessary stress from my life. So why have I chosen to share this very personal account with you? It’s simple, cancer can affect anyone at anytime. Treatments are advancing each day but the trick is early detection. You will have heard it a million times! To truly help yourself and take charge of your health, please self examine routinely. It is vital. If you suspect something is not right then don’t just ignore it and hope it will disappear. Contact your GP and if in doubt get a second opinion. For women who are pregnant or breast feeding, don’t just assume all lumps are down to swollen milk ducts. Always air on the side of caution. Treatment in pregnancy is safe so never feel like you have to chose between your life and the life of your unborn child.
Over the coming years I will be finding ways to raise money for Cancer Research. My amazing friends and I plan to kick start the fundraising by taking part in ‘Race for Life’ on June 7th 2015. Please help us raise money so more research can be carried out on developing targeted advanced cancer treatments and drugs. We owe it to ourselves and those we love to find a cure for Cancer.
#positiveaffirmations #bornagain #pathwaytovictory #faith
Seema, Manesh and Jai x.x.