Being one of the most common type of cancer in women, breast cancer accounts for 14 per cent of cancers in Indian women, according to Cyte Care Hospitals. Further, it is reported that every four minutes, an Indian woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, making it a cause of acute concern. One such difficult yet inspiring journey is of Seema Patil, wife of Zerodha co-founder Nithin Kamath, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in November last year.
“Seema, my wife, was diagnosed with breast cancer last November. She decided to share her journey and learnings till now to create awareness on cancer and the importance of regular health checkups, health insurance, overall health and well being,” Kamath tweeted, sharing a link to the blog post.
Seema, my wife, was diagnosed with breast cancer last Nov. She decided to share her journey & learnings till now to create awareness on cancer & the importance of regular health checkups, health insurance & overall health & well being.
Happy Women’s Day. https://t.co/09hsHMDPWp
— Nithin Kamath (@Nithin0dha) March 8, 2022
Titled ‘I am the healthiest person I know, and I got cancer’, the blog chronicles Seema’s journey with the disease in detail.
She started out by saying: “I am Seema, and I am, or maybe was the healthiest and fittest person I knew. I absolutely did everything possible to be healthy and I thought nothing could physically slow me down until I was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2021. Stage 2 cancer and not more than 2 years old.”
Patil shares that the months following her diagnosis with cancer have been an emotional rollercoaster and she continues to be in shock.
As many cancer experts emphasise, she explained the importance of early detection. “Early detection is really our best option, and that I guess can happen only when everyone realizes that it can happen to anyone, even someone with no cancer history in the extended family, a very healthy diet, good fitness routine, good sleep, low stress, and no other health issues.”
Explaining how a small lump in her right breast was detected during her mammogram, she said, “Even though I had no symptoms, I decided to go meet an oncologist who did a biopsy, followed by a PET scan which confirmed that the lump was cancerous and was localized to the breasts.”
However, she believes that she could have spotted this earlier. ” I noticed a slight bit of deformity in my nipples over the last 2 years. I was told that this could be because of breastfeeding. In my annual checkup the year before, the shadow of the breasts seemed slightly abnormal during one of the tests,” Patil said.
Among the many shocks that Seema had to go through in the last four months of her cancer journey, the biggest was when she was told about her impending mastectomy, she shared. “It took me a few days to make peace with it.”
Sharing the importance of maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle, she said, “I soon realized how important it is to stay healthy, apart from a thousand other reasons, you can also bounce back much faster if there were any unforeseen incidents, like the mastectomy in my case.”
Another worrying aspect for Seema was one of the side-effects of the chemo drug – hair loss. “I loved my hair and never thought of my head without it. I guess Nithin also figured that this losing hair could be psychologically more disturbing than everything else I was going through,” she wrote, detailing her struggles with her accepting the change.
She cut her hair short to cope with her hair loss during the chemotherapy. Now, Seema and Nithin have both shaved their heads and have decided to not go for a wig to break the taboo around cancer.
“While I could see some hair loss in the first-week post-chemo, around 14 days into it, I started losing hair fast. While using a wig is an option, and by then Nithin had already spoken to a bunch of wig manufacturers, it just didn’t feel right. By now, both Nithin and I have spoken multiple times about how cancer is taboo and why it is important for those affected to speak openly about it.”
Through her blogpost, Seema intended to address the taboo around cancer and spread awareness about regular health checkups, good health insurance policy and the importance of a good support system while coping with a deadly disease like cancer.