YAC Calgary member, Pankti, sat down with breast cancer survivor Inkyeong Cho and her daughter, Gorio, to find out what is was really like for her and her family to face the struggles of diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
Q: When and how did you discover your breast cancer?
In the beginning of October, back in 2011, my shoulder felt very sore. When I took a shower, I felt something round and hard, like a gold ball was in my right breast. I had a bad feeling about this so I made an appointment with my family physician to get checked out. He sent me to this medical clinic to get an ultra sound check. At first, they told me it was just a bulk of lipids. But then, they did another test where they toke a piece of that bulk of lipids to check it again. That’s when I found out that I actually had breast cancer. My family doctor arranged to have me sent to Foothills hospital to do a complete removal of my right breast on November 7th.
Then, on September 25th, 2012, I was sent to Peter Lougheed hospital and got introduced to another doctor who would preform my reconstruction surgery. My reconstruction surgery was done by removing my lower stomach and using that to build my new right breast. I felt scared at first but after the reconstruction surgery went well, I felt happy because I got rid of my muffin top!
Q: What kind of impact did early detection have in your experience?
My breast cancer tumor was at grade1 or stage 1. It didn’t spread over my body so it was a relief that I found it that early.
Q: How has your lifestyle changed since your breast cancer diagnosis?
After going through two years of fighting breast cancer, it has affected me in a very good way. My lifestyle has totally changed! My diet changed, too! I eat a lot more organic foods. I exercise a lot now, and I have been consistently taking vitamins, stopped eating margarine, milk, and unhealthy beef products.
Q: Explain how your typical week went when you had cancer?
I felt very shocked at first. I was always stressed, depressed, scared, hopeless and frequently had negative thoughts. I always thought that my life was going to come to an end. But then, slowly, I started learning to live my life with more positivity and optimism. I’ve definitely become a much more positive individual toward living life.
Q: What advice would you give other women about their health and wellness?
I want to tell them not to be lazy with going to their family doctors! Don’t be lazy with taking care of your health because it is your own responsibility. Take care of your body by exercising and eating well.
Pankti also chatted with Cho’s daughter, Gorio Cho
Q: As a daughter who experienced her mom go through such struggles, what have you learned from it?
I have learned to always stay close to my parents. You may be busy with living your own life and school but always keep in close touch. Ask them how they’re doing and about their health. When your parents are around, be good to them, take care of them just like how they always take care of you. If someone in your family is faced with medical issues, stay strong and positive and support them always.
Q: Do you have any advice for others whose mom, daughter, or other family members are currently going through this kind of situation?
My advice to others is don’t feel hopeless at all. It may be hard at first but just be confident and believe in them, their strength and be positive that there is a good solution the issue.
Q: How did you or your family become a support system for your mom?
We always went to the hospital to visit her, bring healthy lunch boxes and stay talkative about anything. We wanted to make her feel happy by encouraging her and telling her that she’ll be okay.