Pooja Dhillon

Age: Adult
Association: Survivor
Region: Ontario
Cancer: Breast Cancer

"My grandma and I grew a much deeper connection once we went through cancer together. "

In 2014, a couple of days after my 24th birthday, I noticed a lump in my breast while in the shower. I saw a doctor the next day, who didn’t think much of it and told me to revisit in a month. I waited out that slow month and got a second opinion. Next thing I knew, I was doing rushed ultrasounds and a biopsy. Three days after the biopsy I was called and told that I had Breast Cancer. It was a surreal moment, I woke my dad up and told him but he thought he was dreaming. Just 2 hours of being diagnosed, I was being seen by surgeons and asked what type of procedure do I want. My parents hadn’t even absorbed the news and were now trying to help me choose between mastectomies and lumpectomies.  Two weeks later, I had my mastectomy. Everything was happening so fast, there was no time to think, just do. Through this diagnosis, I learned that I had the Breast Cancer gene (BRCA2). We all started to feel on edge, wondering who else could get dealt the same fate. Two years after my diagnosis, my maternal grandmother, my best friend, got diagnosed with breast cancer. She had hidden her symptoms during my wedding in 2016, just so the focus would be on me. Waiting to get treatment did cause it to spread, and 3 years later, a day after my 5 year cancer anniversary, my grandma passed away. My grandma and I grew a much deeper connection once we went through cancer together. Watching her dying and myself thrive, is the most difficult thing to balance mentally. I was always considered the weak hearted one until I got through all of this. BRCA is not the only thing I inherited from my grandmother…I also have her strength, courage, and spirit. I’ll keep fighting for the both of us.