Living with Breast Cancer: This is Navi’s Story
October marks Breast Cancer Awareness month. We spoke to Navi, a Breast Cancer Warrior on her first hand experience with cancer, and how she chooses to live life on her own terms.
Tell us a little bit about your journey. When were you diagnosed with breast cancer, and how did you find out?
Hi everyone, my name is Navi and I am a cancer survivor. I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and I went through rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery and came out cancer free. Then in 2018, I was diagnosed again with relapse breast cancer, which spread to my liver and my backbones. I had to go through another round of chemotherapy, and I have to say that I'm living with cancer because last year I found out that I had another relapse, and this time it had spread to my brain.
I just wanted to advise everybody that regardless of whatever setback that you have to go through, I guess keeping a positive mind and just trying to ensure that your mental and physical health is healthy.
What kind of treatment did you receive? What is one thing you wish you knew before you started treatment?
It was really, really hard for me to go through cancer treatments. The fact that I had to go through chemotherapy which led to losing my hair — that was one of the hardest things that I had to go through because I think at the end of the day, your hair is your crowning glory.
You openly share your fight against breast cancer through social media. Why is that important to you?
I only knew how to overcome a lot of my fears and just accept who I am, through social media. With social media, I think how it helped me cope was, by posting things and documenting raw content, documenting my journey and the reality of cancer and not the dramaticized meaning of cancer.
What challenges did/do you face as a breast cancer patient and also as a survivor? How did/do you overcome them?
When people hear the word cancer, they link death to cancer, and cancer to death. I know it may sound the same, but it's completely different. When it comes to this journey, I think I've learned so much. In order for you to overcome your fears, you have to face your fears.
So, one of my biggest fears when going through cancer was losing my hair. When I lost my hair, all I could think about was to face it. And what I did was I did a photo shoot. I showed the world my bald head, and I cannot tell you how much pride and joy that brought me. I wasn’t shy anymore — I was a whole different person. I would say I was someone who actually started to look at beauty differently. It's your inner beauty that shines.
So to anyone who’s insecure and going through a tough time — know that it all starts with you. When I started my journey, I thought I was going to die. So I thought I would document something for everyone to remember me by. But then I realized that I'm actually documenting this to show people that this is cancer, not the ones in movies, but this, this is cancer. In this modern day and age, the medical industry is so advanced. We all can live with cancer and cancer is no longer a terminal illness; it's a chronic illness, something that we can live with. We all need to realize that cancer is not the end. Cancer is just a part of your life, not your whole life.
What message or advice would you give to women on how to live life to the fullest?
My advice is to push through, have faith and live your life the way you want — it’s your life, you only get to live it once. Even if you are diagnosed with a sickness or if a setback happens, it's okay. You push through and take it as a journey, as an adventure.