New Delhi, October 30-Imagine a simple, easy-going girl, living in another city without her only parent, her mother, going about her daily job as a hospital nurse being diagnosed with breast cancer which is spreading at a fast rate.
Meet Angela Devi, a 27 year-old staff nurse at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals who is undergoing her breast cancer treatment courageously and with emotional help of her colleagues at Apollo hospitals who stood with her like a family.
“I work as a staff nurse in anasthetic department. I take care of oncology patients, especially the ones who are on palliative care. I also took care of patients who have undergone major surgeries,” Angela tells HealthWire.
“It was on Sunday, April 6, when I had a random check on my breasts and found a small lump. That day I had become so disturbed as to what could happen to my breasts. So I went up to my friend’s room there and told her and I this small lump, can you please check then she told me that something was there and it was moving around. Next day, I went regularly to do my morning duty and told a doctor that I had a lump. She called me to a pre-operative room and had me examined. I started crying there but she told me not to worry much and she will have a biopsy done on me to confirm. So the biopsy was done and on April 13, I got my result that I had a triple negative breast cancer which was aggressive in nature with a fast growth rate,” narrates Angela reminiscing the time when she discovered her breast cancer.
“I cried so much. I cried in front the doctors in the OPD. At that moment, didn’t think of myself but of my mother. I thought what would happen to her if I die of breast cancer,” shares Angela.
Even Angela could not help but feel as all other patients. “Even being a medical nurse I know there high promises in breast cancer but this time I felt like a normal patient. Then I met with my two other friends and they motivated me by telling me that everything will be alright. I also resumed my work and told myself that I will be alright and I have to look after so many patients as I have been working in Apollo since 2013.”
“My friends took me to their own home and we had nice dinner together. Next morning, I got up and told myself that I have to be strong and have to face the disease and I have my mother in Manipur. I haven’t told my mother about my illness yet and haven’t gone home for two years now,” Angela recalls emotional support she received from her friends.
Angela extends her heartfelt gratitude towards her doctors and staff colleagues for being such a great support.
“I have been facing the cancer by myself and with he help of Dr. Sarin, my anasthetic department and my nursing director Captain Usha Banerjee and my colleague who works in the bone marrow transplant section in the department of Oncology. She helps me a lot and keeps telling me with Dos and Don’ts. She is like my mother here.”
While undergoing chemotherapy, Angela missed her family around her but the care of hospital staff made her feel.at home.
“So many patients have their family members to attend their chemotherapy but when I go for my own chemotherapy there are no family members here to visit me but then also I don’t feel alone because I have my Apollo family members around me. They are always around me and the patient on the bed next to mine asked me once ‘why so many attendants are there for you’ and at that time I felt so proud that many Apollo members and doctors were around me and it is because of their help that I am speaking here.”
“I’m still in the middle of my treatment. I have gone through chemotherapy and I can’t believe that I have faced my chemotherapy so well,” says Angela.
Finally, in September, Angela underwent her surgery. “I had my surgery on September 13, and after ten days I joined my work. What made me feel good was that during my chemotherapy also I took rest for only two days them I came back to work and gave medications to patients.”
She believes that the love of her patients also helped her heal.
“When I would treat them they would say, ‘Angela, you are our angel, you make us pain-free.’ I think it is the blessings of my patients only that I’m able to heal and come through the treatment without my parents being here.”
“Dr. Sarin, Anasthetic Department and Captain Banerjee helped me alot, even financially. Captain Banerjee encouraged me a lot and I don’t have words to thank everyone in this life but by helping other patients, I can return the love we received,” says Angela while thanking the doctors and her department.
Angela strongly advices to have a timely examination of breasts in order to prevent cancer.
“In earlier days, doctors used to say that mostly elder people were at risk of developing breast cancer but now even younger people in their 30, 40s and even 20s can develop the disease. Even I’m in my 20s. So I would ask people not to ignore symptoms of cancer and get your examined in time. Look in the mirror of your bathroom and if you find something, just go and talk to the doctor and get confirmed if it is cancer or not. One should get diagnosed of cancer as early as possible because breast cancer is curable if diagnosed in time.”