A breast cancer survivor Anuradha Pooran said it was difficult to handle when first handed the news from her doctor, but internally was prepared for the worse when she felt an unusual lump back in December 2012.
“I suspected it wasn’t benign and that something worse was happening.
I went to the doctor and was reassured there was nothing to worry about that it was just a cyst,” Pooran said.
However, on April 16, a few short days after her 38th birthday, she received the diagnosis, very aggressive stage three breast cancer.
“The first thing that went through my mind is that well, I have a 4-year-old, what is going to happen to her if something happens to me?” Pooran said.
Pooran moved with her family from Trinidad and Tobago three years ago when her husband Ricky was transferred to Houston for his job in the oil and gas industry.
Leaving her relatives behind was hard, but she said she refuses to give the news about her breast cancer to her relatives in Trinidad because of the confusion and worry it would cause.
Only her mother and siblings know of her condition.
“It was very traumatic for my mother because I am her only child. It is taking more of a toll on her than on me emotionally,” she said. “My mother came and saw me and spent a couple of weeks with me, I know it is taking a toll on her. “
“My support system is here, my husband and my daughter. We’ve been handling this on our own because my family is still in Trinidad,” Pooran said.
Pooran said her biggest fear was how she could relate to her daughter Reema, 4, when she was going through physical changes and the treatments she was receiving at MD Andersen.
“I was concerned for my daughter how she would relate when I lost my hair,” she said. “She had always seen me with long hair so when I cut my hair short she was curious. She said ‘I love you when you had long hair, I love you when you have short hair, so I think I will still love you when you have no hair’. It was kind of hard not to hold back tears, because I am not a crier.”
Now, Pooran wears a big hat with a huge flower in it which she says she is most proud of. The hat has gotten many compliments from others, she said.
Pooran said her breast cancer has been a test of her will as a person and her belief system.
“My body knows how to make cancer, so I am always looking over my shoulder. It is like living with a time bomb,” she said.
This story was originally published in the Houston Chronicle