An Overwhelming Diagnosis
- 30-year-old Dee Momi was living her dream life as a chef on a superyacht in Italy when she found out via phone that she had breast cancer.
- Understandably devastated, Momi tried to make sense of how her life could change so quickly, and now reflects back on her last ten years of recovery.
- No matter what part of the cancer journey you are on, it is important to hold out hope that this dreadful disease happened for a reason, and always keep pushing forward.
Understandably devastated, she tried to make sense of how her luxe life could change so quickly. Now, nearly a 10-year survivor, Momi opened up about her decade-long recovery to the Daily Star.Read More
She had found a lump, and doctors had found a second lump when she went to get it checked. Thinking she was probably fine, she went on with her exciting work plans, as one should. Halting plans for a cancer scare, or even cancer, is something that most people should try their hardest to avoid doing.
“It was like an out-of-body experience. My life did a complete 180 in two days,” she described. “I went from planning to sail across the Atlantic to sitting in a doctor’s office being talked through all these drugs and treatments and being told all my hair is going to fall out and that I need to freeze my eggs before chemo.”
Cancer patients can attest to the “whirlwind” experience that often comes post-diagnosis. Momi had to go for further tests and scans and then started eight rounds of chemo. “I was exhausted and housebound for a week after each round,” she said.
One of the symptoms that affects some patients is a metallic taste in the mouth, which was particularly hard for Momi when she experienced it. “Everything tasted metallic and hot food would make me sick,” she shared. “It was horrible as a chef being unable to enjoy food anymore”.
Overall, Momi has had to endure seven operations throughout the last ten years of her recovery, including a double mastectomy.
“People don’t consider that something like that has a serious effect on your mental health. It can bring on PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder]. But going through it makes you realise how powerful and resilient you are,” she said.
Striving for more balance in her life and less stress, the wellness-enthusiast now runs her own plant-based supplement business called MINT Wellbeing, which focuses on prevention of illness.
”Unfortunately, I have worked in several high-stress environments over the years, which can be a primary contributor to cancer, so learning to prioritise balance and communicating boundaries to others is also something that has needed to be addressed,” she said, “… not just immediately after surviving cancer, but over a decade down the line where the knock-on effects of the disease can still be felt.”
Recovering from Breast Cancer
After a cancer diagnosis, it feels like a tablecloth has been pulled out from under you. It’s extremely overwhelming. Getting opinions and condolences from family, friends, survivors, doctors, nurses. It’s hard to know where to turn as you adapt to your new normal.
Some women have surgery, a few chemo sessions, and it’s over. They seemingly bounce back to their normal lives. Others can have complications after surgery for years and suffer trauma, as Momi shared, or an experience more in the middle. There is no journey that is the same.
One thing that many cancer survivors will agree with, is that although their futures may seem more uncertain after a life-changing experience, they live to appreciate each and every day.
“My patients who thrive, even with stage 4 cancer … I kind of am pretty good at seeing who is going to be OK,” Dr. Zuri Murrell, a surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, told SurvivorNet in a previous interview.
“Now (that) doesn’t mean I’m good at saying that the cancer won’t grow,” he said. “But I’m pretty good at telling what kind of patient (is) going to still have this attitude and probably going to live the longest. … Those are patients who — they have gratitude in life.”
Many patients will say that their lives, overall, changed for the better and shaped them into a different person. So, no matter what part of the journey you are on, it is important to hold out hope that this dreadful disease happened for a reason, and always keep pushing forward.