Being a first-time, working mum is never easy, but for Preeya, life had become a lot harder. On 6th September 2019, Preeya at the age of 36, was diagnosed with Stage 3A breast cancer. She was working as a travel agent and feeling fit and healthy when she was in the shower one night and discovered a lump on her breast. She took little notice of it for a week until she noticed a second lump where she then took action. She raced to her GP and was immediately sent to get a mammogram and ultrasound. With no previous family history of cancer, hearing the words from her doctor ‘you have breast cancer‘ was a massive shock.
Her first thoughts were; “My life is about to be flipped upside down, I’m in turmoil, I’m in shock… I got into my car with my husband after the appointment and we just balled our eyes out.”
As a result, Preeya had to undertake a single mastectomy and an Axillary clearance of her lymph nodes, four rounds of AC chemo, weekly taxol and 25 sessions of radiation. She says she had severe side effects from her treatment, including neuropathy, pins and needles, mouth ulcers, low blood count, constipation, losing a lot of weight, becoming skinny and frail.
Her daughter Irina at the age of 2, understood everything happening and wanted to be brave with her mum, so she decided to cut her hair to have her “hair grow back long with mummy”. Preeya says she was blessed to have her supportive husband and amazing daughter as her support system. She says, “Some of my friends and family members don’t know how to deal with it all, but at the end of the day, I accept others for how they are… and I try to remain kind regardless.”
Preeya was “given the all-clear, with no signs of malignancy” in her recent scan and is now on hormone therapy to prevent reoccurrence. When asked how her life has changed, she says, “I try to be conscious of how I live now. I don’t party or do the things I did when I was young, I don’t drink and try to be conscious of how I eat, I’ve learnt the importance of the people I hang around with, the things I eat and thoughts in my mind. I have embraced my life changes and feel a lot better about myself.” She says she now makes a conscious effort to live in the moment and not live too much in the past or future; “I sometimes sit and enjoy my view and appreciate the little things.”
Preeya’s words of wisdom for others starting their cancer journey:
“I guess starting your journey for me is all about hope. Have hope and believe in yourself that you can do this. It may feel like a never-ending journey, but it does. Stay strong, be positive and surround yourself with positive people. Keep your thoughts happy. I dance a lot, but when I was sick, I used music to heel. Find a hobby that gets you through, a constant reminder of who you are. It is hard, and you will feel these physical, emotional and psychological changes, but this will all pass. You will look and feel like yourself again, so have hope and know you will get through this in time.”
you lose your identity, but you don’t lose hope, and that’s what keeps you going… I have a purpose, and I want to live and live long, so I’ll do whatever it takes. – Preeya