Meera is 33 years old and having treatment for breast cancer. She has been documenting her story on social media in the hope of reaching other young people with cancer and reminding people to stay breast aware. 

Meera, a young brown woman, holds her toddler-aged daughter while smiling in front of a large Christmas tree

Waiting for my results was brutal 

My name is Meera Patel. I’m 33, been married for five years, and I have a two-year-old daughter named Arya. The last thing I could ever have imagined was being told I have cancer, but here we are – and now this is part of my journey of things to overcome. 

At the end of August 2021, I felt a sharp pain and a small lump in my right breast. I knew this wasn’t right, so I called my doctor to book in for my annual health-check which I get every October. 

As I had only just turned 33, I didn’t think it could be breast cancer. However, when I went to the check-up, my doctor immediately scheduled a mammogram. After I had that, all the tests started. I needed an ultrasound, biopsy, MRI, PET scan, heart echo scan, and so many blood draws. 

While all of that was happening, I wasn’t sure exactly what to think. The waiting to find out any information is absolutely brutal, and trying not to look up anything about what I might have was so hard.  

It wasn’t until mid-November when I saw my oncologist for the first time that things started to feel real and really hit me. I was told that my cancer was stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma, ER+, PR+ and HER2-.  

I just need to get through these next several months 

After hearing the news, everything just became a blur. I didn’t know what to feel, think, or expect. Thankfully, I had my sister with me to answer all the questions when I was feeling numb. Having a support person is so important because they really are your eyes and ears during a time when you don’t want to feel and hear anything. 

My treatment plan for now is four rounds of chemotherapy every other week for the next eight weeks. On my off weeks, I get blood draws to check my levels. I was told this is just the first phase, so I’m not entirely sure of the next steps, but I believe it is another round of chemo, then a double mastectomy with reconstruction surgery. 

My oncologist told me that my cancer is treatable and I just need to get through these next several months to be able to get back to life.  

I was also told that ‘God doesn’t throw anything your way you can’t handle’, and I truly believe this. I’ve been holding onto those words – they keep me going day to day.  

I’m also a yoga teacher and practice gratitude, mindfulness and meditation daily. Taking space and time for yourself is so important for healing, and this has helped me so much in staying positive: for myself, for the people around me, and especially for my daughter.  

A side by side image of Meera, a young brown woman, first seated in a hairdressing chair and then holding up a lock of hair she cut off to donate

I’m sharing my journey to help others 

When I first got my news, I tried to find more resources and stories of others diagnosed with breast cancer, but there isn’t much out there for people diagnosed under the age of 40. I think a lot of people like to keep it private, which is completely understandable.  

I chose to start sharing my journey on social media in hopes of it helping someone else, and most importantly for my daughter to be able to look back and know that – whatever she may be feeling and experiencing at a time of need – she has the strength to overcome anything that comes her way.  

I hope by sharing my story and journey that people make their health a priority. I want to remind people not to put off going to the doctor about any abnormalities, and to get any routine exams if you qualify for them. If there is something wrong, it’s far better to know about it. 

Also, for anyone else going through this, just know that you have a strong pillar of a community surrounding you. The support, love, strength and prayers will get you through the hardest of times because no one fights alone. 

You can keep up with Meera and her journey by following her on Instagram

 

If you are under 45 and have had a recent diagnosis of breast cancer, you are welcome to join us in person or online at one of our Younger Women Together events to find support and others with similar experiences.

Younger Women Together