BCF Stories - Part III: Early Detection Matters
Natasha Sheikh - The Dance Queen
In our 4-part series to celebrate the women who triumphed breast cancer with early detection, we speak to four of these inspirational heroines on their journey to find strength and overcome the odds with positivity in life.
Natasha Sheikh has always been very active in life. She first felt a lump at the age of 39 and was later diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. She underwent immediate treatment.
Today, after 5 months of her treatment, Natasha is now a volunteer belly dance teacher at BCF every Friday.
1. As a volunteer teacher at BCF, what do you do on a weekly basis and what inspired you to volunteer at BCF?
I have 20 years of dance experience in Bhangra, Zumba, Latin cardio, Tahiti, hip-hop and salsa under my belt for both adults and kids.
Given my experience, I feel that I could contribute to the healing process through arts and proposed to include dance classes in May. Since then, I teach belly and Bollywood dance at the BCF every Friday.
2. At what stage were you diagnosed? Could you share with us about your cancer journey?
I was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer at 39. Initially, I spotted one to two lumps on my left armpit but biopsy detected a total of 4 lumps. Immediately, I started on chemotherapy and had my surgery a month later. I also did radiotherapy at the National Cancer Centre as well as mastectomy and reconstruction on my left breast.
3. How did you cope with it? What kind of support is important to you through your journey?
I had a lot of things running on my mind back then. My initial emotions were sadness and anger. It took a week for me to adjust to the reality and I accepted it. I have a strong and brave personality and I continued my treatments while staying active. I pick myself up and remind myself that life goes on. My family, friends and students played an important part during the recovery period and visited me frequently.
During the chemotherapy period, I exercise regularly and did brisk walks. I maintain a positive outlook in life and continue to stay active.
4. How did your lifestyle change after your cancer journey?
I am more health conscious than before. In fact, I watch my diet and ensure that I exercise even more than before and encourage those around me to eat and live more healthily.
5. What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt about yourself through your cancer journey?
As a volunteer with both BCF and the Singapore Cancer Society, I get to know more people and learn new skills. I’ve learnt to be stronger and more positive.
Through my experience, I have also become more confident and eat healthier which gives me the confidence to look fit and be healthy. In fact, I receive compliments about how I look and see it as a blessing in disguise.
6. What advice would you give to other women who have been diagnosed?
To people who are diagnosed, stay positive and life goes on. Do more research on your diagnosis, meet new people and interest. Be open and try new things in life.
If there is a will, there is a way. Breast cancer has a higher chance of survival confirm to other forms of cancers, so don’t lose hope.
For women who are not diagnosed, go for regular checkups and don’t take things for granted as it can happen even when you are very young. It’s not about your genes or your family history. It can be due to other factors as well. So, don’t be complacent and check early.
7. What are your plans for the future? Share with us your life after triumphing the cancer battle.
Being an ambitious person, I strive hard. I will continue to pursue dancing and focus on my career. I want to stay healthy, fit and able to work out.
Despite my tight schedule, I intend to pick up kickboxing and do hiphop cardio for my own personal activities and upgrade myself constantly.
In support of BCF’s – Early Detection, Save Lives, Save Breasts campaign, this year, PAZZION has designed an exclusive Pink Stardust Foldable Flats to convey the message in conducting regular breast health checks.
From 1 – 31st October 2019, 30% of the nett sales proceeds from the sale of the exclusive designed foldable flats will be donated to BCF.
In Support of Breast Cancer Foundation
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