A little bit about you:
Name: Jag Takhar
City: Brampton, ON
What was/is your diagnosis?
Stage II breast cancer
What year was it?
What was your age at the time?
What is something you’ve done that you’re really proud of?
Fought like a warrior.
What is a top item on your life to do list?
Travel to places I haven’t been.
What are your hobbies?
Hiking, listening to music, yoga, helping others
What was your life like before your diagnosis?
Being single mum, I had no choice except to keep active.
How did you find out you were sick?
Initially, some milk came out of my nipple, then it pus came out. My family physician didn’t pay attention for 1.5 months.
What led to your diagnosis?
My painful nipple.
What were your first thoughts when diagnosed?
I thought, “Who’s going to look after my kids if I die? I have no one here.”
In which hospital were you treated?
Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto
What did your treatment consist of? Did you experience any side effects?
I had my first chemotherapy on October 16, 2017. I had eight altogether by February 2018. I had my left mastectomy on March 1, 2018 which was followed by 25 rounds of radiation which was followed by hormonal therapy.
I experienced hair loss, loss of appetite, aches and pains, healing and scars post operation, burned skin, cracked nails, lack of sleep, nausea.
It feels awkward with one breast. I feel emotionally imbalanced. I cry, I feel sad and lonely. I deal with brain fog and memory loss.
What is your current medical status?
I am cancer free, but on tamoxifen for next five years.
Life after cancer:
How is life different for you now post diagnosis?
I feel less feminine, emotionally messed up, and I can get upset and cry very quickly. I don’t feel like connecting to people, but I feel isolated and like a failure.
What is the toughest part about having cancer as a young adult?
Handling all of the responsibilities when you have no one to care about you.
What really helped you to keep going while you were sick?
A sense of hope to get well and be around with my kids. Positive company helped me.
What kept you busy during treatment?
Cooking healthy meals, shopping, watching stuff on youtube and meditation.
Did anyone talk to you about fertility options before treatment? If so, how did that affect your decisions? If not, what do you wish you had known?
Yes, but I already have kids so it didn’t affect me as badly.
Has your cancer diagnosis affected any of the relationships in your life? If so, how, and how are you managing them?
I was single, but now I feel it will be hard to find someone.
What are some lifestyle changes you’ve made since your diagnosis?
Restricted movement with left arm; I’m not as energetic as before.
Resources and recommendations:
Have you participated in any other retreats, conferences, programs, or support groups you’d like your cancer peers to know about?
Cancer wellness centres and support groups at my hospital.
Stay in touch:
What would you like to say to other young adults dealing with cancer who are reading this profile?
It’s your body, listen to it, and if your healthcare team isn’t listening to you, switch. Stay positive, be happy and live in every moment; life is so precious.
Are you interested in helping others facing cancer challenges?
[If you are interested in getting in touch with Jag, please send a short message to [email protected] and we’ll send it along!]