It was her 21st birthday. Anil had taken the responsibility of the party he and her parents wanted to throw for her. Sneha was the only daughter and the apple of her parent’s eyes. A sweet, bubbly and lively girl with her dreams to make it a big in the corporate world. Anil and Sneha had been best of buddies since their childhood. They have completed schooling together but Anil chose to pursue BE in Electronics whereas Sneha wanted to do Mass Media Communication. Even though they were studying in different universities, their friendship never broke.

Anil decided to decorate her room with colourful ribbons, balloons and had ordered a beautiful cake for Sneha. The party began in the evening. Sneha was looking pretty in her new birthday gown gifted by her parents. Many of her friends too joined to wish her. She looked happy and content with her near and dear ones by her side on her 21st birthday that year. Soon the cake arrived which Anil had ordered. Sneha was so pleased looked at the cake and thanked Anil for throwing such a beautiful party for her.

Everyone gathered and now it was the time to cut the cake. Sneha blew the candles and cut the cake. Everyone was clapping and singing merry songs, “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Sneha, Happy Birthday to you…”. When everyone was cheering Sneha, she felt something hit inside her head. Soon everything in front of her looked hazy and the next thing she remembered was lying on a hospital bed with number of wires connected to body and a big monitor showing some unfamiliar lines on the screen. It took her some time to regain her senses and figure out what was happening. She recognised Anil and her dad talking to the doctor at some distance, they looked serious.

She was puzzled and was searching for her mom. Her mother was sitting next to her bed, sobbing holding her hand. By now she was completely confused about what was going on and how did she land up there. The doctor then arrived infront of her and with a smile asked, “How are you feeling Ms. Sneha? Are you feeling good now?” Sneha nodded her head but looked at her parents and Anil for better explanation. The doctor then continued, “Sneha, you have been diagnosed with probable breast cancer. We are still doing some tests to confirm the severity of it. But no need to worry, we will do our best to treat you well. I will write some medicines and some more tests to confirm our treatment.” Saying this the doctor left. Sneha was shattered by hearing the word “cancer”. Never in her dreams she ever thought of being diagnosed with cancer. But here she was lying on a hospital bed to start the treatment of breast cancer.

The next few days were difficult when the doctors confirmed that one of her breasts had developed a malign tumour and needed an immediate operation. Doctors also confirmed that she will lose her left breast in this procedure. Sneha was numb and everything looked crashing down around her. She was confused how to react.

The procedures started; she was operated too. Multiple tests, procedures, chemo, counselling sessions, were the routine for her now. It went for one and a half year to get back to the normal file slowly. During all these, her parents, Anil and many of her friends were her constant support and source of encouragement. She sometimes thought, without them near her, how she would have coped up with all these. She didn’t know how to ever thank them all.

She was always a brave girl, with a strong willpower to fight against the odds. This is what made Anil appreciate her all the time. Anil always wanted to marry Sneha and even Sneha’s parents adored Anil a lot. Anil has by now finished his graduation and working in a multinational company at a mod-managerial level. His dynamic and go-getter nature has helped him earn respect and support from his seniors and colleagues. But it was the time Anil tell Sneha about his mind.

One fine evening, he bought some flowers, jasmine which was Sneha’s favourite, and went to meet Sneha. Sneha was sitting in her bed with a book in her hand. Her head was covered with a scarf, her face was pale, her eyes deeply engrossed in the book but the area under the eyes was many shades darker than her usually complexion, she looked thin and ofcourse sickly.

Anil coughed a bit and approached Sneha. Sneha, disturbed by someone’s coughing, looked up and saw Anil. Looking at Anil, Sneha gave a big smile, “So, here you are. Why are you so late? You know I have been waiting for you for so long. You know I got this new book…….but are these flowers for me? Wooow…but for what?”. Anil was quiet for few seconds. Then he took her hand in his hand, “Sneha, you know I have been waiting for this moment for a long time. But I think it’s the time I tell you what I feel. Sneha, will you marry me?” Sneha dint know what to say and a tear came rolling from her left eye. “Anil, what are you saying? You know its not possible. I will never be normal like any other person. I will never be able to keep you happy.”

“Sneha, its your myth. Many women go through all these but also return to their normal life like everyone else. There are many counselling centres that help breast cancer patients to live a normal life. I was also thinking if you may undertake these life transforming sessions and then one day enter the corporate world with your dream job. Trust me it’s possible. And moreover, I always wanted to be with you through thick and thins”. Hearing this she smiled with her teary eyes and said yes!! She took Anil’s suggestions to recover from the illness.

Sneha learnt many ways to regain self-confidence through the counselling sessions she attended, she also learnt about mastectomy bra specially designed for breast cancer survivors with features like broad and comfortable shoulder straps, better support and coverage to the breast, padding on the straps to prevent backache, and also removable breast prosthetics which can mimic the original breast size and can be attached with the bra that also has a special pocket inside the cups.

Sneha was happy with all that things she was learning at the centre and by her doctors. Everyone near her could see the difference in her self confidence that was getting boost up day by day. Soon she could get through a job application and started earning. This gave a huge boost to her self-confidence. Anil was there with her in all and she realised it’s the time they should get married.

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