Hope is stronger than fear

Angelique Parvez – A Breast Cancer Survivor – Dance & Fitness Coach

Today, I can see a glimmer of sunshine ahead. It’s been a life changing year for me and I take all my lessons with me into the future. Life will never the same again but it is already better. It’s all started with hormonal imbalances for 2 years followed by a lump under my armpit in October 2019. My husband and I both visited the Doctor’s clinic to get my test result. We were anxiously waiting outside for the Doctor’s call. Finally the Doctor summoned us, we took a seat and I can’t remember if he greeted us or not. The Doctor gave a serious glance and for next thing I wasn’t prepared in my wildest dreams, “Sorry to inform you but it is cancer”, said Doctor “early – stage breast cancer” I remember being in a daze and numb.

My husband was shocked and I tried to keep him stay calm. We left the hospital with grief and distress, after discussing dates for surgery. For the next few days, i was in fear, anxiety and shock, trying to get an answer for “How could this happen to me?” As I was a fitness instructor and ate right and even helped others get healthy.

The turmoil of confusion and anxiety inside me was getting stronger and stronger. I felt myself trapped in my body. I was pulled below the waves; it took all my courage to stay afloat.
AT last I decided I had to find my strength and deal with this, if nothing else for the sake of my two lovely sons. I had to find my way out of this storm. This was the hardest challenge for me.

After tons of tests, scans and MRI we discovered my cancer was strongly hormonal. I had two operations, 20 days of radiotherapy, and have 5 years of hormone therapy ahead of me. I was spared the chemotherapy. However it is not as easy as it sounds, each stage had its own side effects I had to get through. Each stage was a mini storm that I could write a chapter on. I had every side effect described in the post-operation booklet and many more for the radiotherapy and the hormone treatment too. From cording to lymphedema, seroma, frozen shoulder, joint pains, hair loss, skin burn and rash and more!

The eye of the storm just kept turning but I just kept dealing with one wave, one day, one issue at a time with prayer, faith and my family’s support. It helped me calm my storms and gave me the strength of mind to deal with it all. I vowed to look after myself in body and mind from now on. Health is too precious of a thing to take for granted. No more compromises, no more self-neglect, no more stress and difficult situations or relationships. I was not last in line; I had to put myself first now. I had to change many things to move forward.

When I saw people worried and anxious with Covid all around me I knew I had to help them find their strength and calm, like I had found mine earlier. I had conquered my fears and could help others now.

Angelique

I danced my way out of my pain and fears. Two weeks after my first operation I was back in my classes and even did a show! I had no choice as couldn’t let my client down and wow am I proud I managed it. I paused a bit for my second operation and jumped back into teaching again although this time from home during the lockdown. I kept my dance family going with virtual classes. I even choreographed my class dances while distracting myself at my radiotherapy sessions! 

My girls say I got them through the lockdown but they gave me a reason to get up and dance week after week. I forgot my pain and danced together with them motivated by their smiling faces. My doctors were amazed at how quickly I was healing due to my active lifestyle. Dance once again was my medicine. 

Today as I continue to heal and grow in strength and face a new future, I am so grateful. I am grateful for a second chance at life, which I will not waste. I’m blessed to have family, sisters, and friends who stood by me, day after day during my darkest and most challenging days. Those who left, don’t matter as they made me stronger and opened my eyes.

I am going to focus on the good and surround myself with love and positivity. I will focus on myself and my healing and keep myself strong in mind and body with God’s grace. In gratitude, I will use my experiences and blessings to give back and help others who might be lost in their own storms.

I had no one to call on that had been in my situation in my early days, so I hope I can be there for someone who needs reassurance. I also want to dispel the taboos around breast cancer and remind women to check themselves often. Early detection saves lives. It is also a wake up call to look after ourselves during this month of breast cancer awareness.

Do check out my passion for Dance!

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