Patricia, a Filipina expat and a teacher based in Al Ain, is a proud breast cancer survivor.
Her story is an inspiration to all during this breast cancer awareness month.
Initially shocked and devastated after being told that she had cancer, the 48-year-old showed tremendous fortitude to overcome her fears, anxiety and panic and beat the Big C.
Patricia’s battle began in late 2019 when she felt pain in her left breast. When she did a self-examination, she felt a abnormal lump.
“It was constantly on my mind, and I was scared that it could be cancer. After opening up to my colleague, they urged me to get it checked. A mammogram confirmed I had breast cancer. I needed to undergo immediate treatment," she said.
Her worst fears had come true. But the private school math teacher pulled herself up the bootstraps and began her long battle.
“I was scared of losing my hair, my looks, my job, but I had to pull myself out of crying. So, I said to myself that I will overcome this and I will undergo treatment as early as possible because life is beautiful and I need to be strong for my family. Above all, I wanted to get cured and live my life,” she said.
Patricia was referred to Tawam Hospital, part of Abu Dhabi Health Services Company’s (Seha).
She was admitted to the hospital’s Breast Care Centre (BCC), where a multidisciplinary team designed a tailored treatment plan.
“I started my treatment, chemotherapy and surgery, all in the midst of the pandemic, and that was really difficult to deal with. I felt all alone dealing with cancer while isolated from the world,” she said.
But she was determined to beat the odds. Patricia continued to live as normal a life as possible and continued to teach students remotely.
“I am thankful and lucky for the great support I received from my school colleagues, family, caregivers at Tawam Breast Cancer Centre and the great health system in the UAE, which provides world-class healthcare to both nationals and expats. Early detection saved my life,” she said, urging others not to delay screenings.
Dr Aydah Saleh Alawadhi, consultant and medical oncologist, Tawam Breast Cancer Centre, pointed out that Patricia’s treatment was successful largely because of early diagnosis.
“This sends a powerful message to other women. Due to Patricia’s early diagnosis, the team at Tawam Hospital were able to create an effective treatment plan to help her become cancer-free and resume her normal life with family. We urge all women, especially those who are above 40 years, to visit their doctor at least once a year and screen themselves.”
Appointments for mammogram can be made by calling 800 50.
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