Prakshi's story: raising our voices to end the shame on infertility & gynaecological cancer
At 30 years old, Praskhi was diagnosed with uterine cancer. After the surgery that left her infertile, her fiancé called off the wedding. Today, she shares her story to raise awareness that 'we are enough'.
My endometrial cancer diagnosis
2020 was harsh for everyone. But for some of us, it was life altering.
At 30 years old, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer (cancer of the uterus) in November 2020, just a day before my birthday. I had a history of heavy bleeding during periods which was often brushed off as being normal and nothing worrisome. When the symptoms got out of hand, I got myself checked.
My gynaecologist was in disbelief as she had never encountered this cancer in a person so young. According to medical science, this cancer develops in pre-menopausal or post-menopausal women of 40 and above. I was told that only 5% of women under 40 worldwide are diagnosed with this condition.
After numerous tests, the oncologists deduced that a radical hysterectomy was the only way to save my life. It also meant I’d lose my fertility and might have to face debilitating effects of surgical menopause.
In December 2020, I underwent the surgery and have been recovering since.
My partner called off the wedding
With the cancer now gone, I’m still this 30 years old, unmarried and infertile woman - someone who’d never be accepted as ‘normal’ or ‘enough’ in our Indian society.
My partner called off our relationship and marriage plans right after the surgery. The ‘family to be’ never cared to check on me or my parents. What they did was not surprising at all. It’s the norm we follow as a hypocritical society.
A woman here is as good as her ability to bear children, a truth I came to terms with only after I myself was at the receiving end of such brutality against women in our country.
Thousands of innocent females are abandoned everyday in our country for being infertile, having chronic illnesses or just because they are viewed as burdensome.
The shame around gynaecological issues is huge and cancer just adds to the misery.
I know it will take a lifetime for me to come to terms with what I went through. But I’ll always raise my voice to educate and empower women - to be advocates of their health and to not let anyone weigh them down. We are ‘enough’ the way we are.
Thank you Prakshi for sharing your story and insights. Prakshi Saraswat is an Indian woman working with PwC India in the Marketing and communications department. You can reach out to Prakshi on Instagram @bulla_bawari. We look forward to seeing you all in the Girls Rocking Cancer on Facebook or Instagram.
Prakshi and Mel