Today is my last day at the CCC and with this project so I definitely had a full day starting at 10:00 am. I am visiting the ONGC Health Center, Metpur, Vasna, Bhuvel, and Vatra.
I started my day at the ONGC Health Center, and although it wasn’t originally on my schedule, I wanted to share my presentation with as many women as possible. All of the women welcomed me so respectfully and offered by a bouquet of flowers. It was so sweet! I started with my verbal presentation and before I could even start my video they started asking me questions. They were so interested in the topic and not embarrassed or scared to know the facts about the disease. One of the women asked if it could start in the lymph nodes and I responded that it can and that it’s important to check under the arms during self-exams. Another woman talked about how her mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years ago and wanted to know if it could reoccur. I explained that it can come back and that her mother should get mammograms every year and also recommended that she get a mammogram and examination with a doctor since there is a family history. One woman asked if she could get cancer from the hot flashes she is having during menopause. I explained that there is no correlation between menopause and breast cancer but she should still go in for routine examinations. They were very happy that I was able to make time for them even with my tight schedule today.
Next I went to Metpur where we arrived an hour late because the women at ONCG had so many questions. Luckily, many of the women waited for my presentation so it went well. After the presentation, Angelaben did about 4 exams on women as they were just concerned about lumps but nothing that she noticed needed attention right away. One woman mentioned she had been feeling pain for a couple months so we suggested she go to the CCC for a mammography.
After Metpur, we headed to Vasana where I met with a lot of older women, many of whom could not read or write. Many of the women were not interested in my presentation and didn’t really understand why they needed to learn all of this in such old age. I tried to explain it in terms they would understand. I talked about how they care for their cows and buffalos and give them medicine when they fall ill so they can continue to produce milk. I explained that they have to care for their own bodies in the same way so that they are around to care for their families. I think it made sense to them.
We were soon on our way to Bhuvel where a small group of women sat through the presentation very quietly and didn’t ask any questions. Normally, I would have stayed to chat with the group but we were already late to our next stop.
We arrived in Vatra, the final stop of my journey, to lots of women who had been waiting on time but had to leave before I arrived. We still had a good number of women there to hear the presentation. After I was done, I asked if they all understood what I had said and if they understood the video. Most of them couldn’t believe that breast cancer was a real disease and had never heard of it before because they’re so caught up in their daily lives. . I reasoned with them to take 5 minutes of each month to take a break from taking care of their families and take care of themselves. Most women in these small villages are ignorant about health awareness due to a lack of time and fear of facing a disease.
My breast cancer awareness project came to an end after the presentation in Vatra. I had a wonderful time doing all of this and am so happy I had the opportunity to educate so many women. I will be going back to Khambhat for a day or 2 to finish up the project and say goodbye to all at the CCC.