Madhu Gupta (L) and Ruchika Sachdeva (R), two of the cancer survivors that the Free Press Journal spoke to
Madhu Gupta (L) and Ruchika Sachdeva (R), two of the cancer survivors that the Free Press Journal spoke to
FPJ Photo

Sheer willpower and family support have helped many cancer patients in the city to defeat the disease. On the eve of the International Cancer Day, the Free Press Journal talked to some cancer survivors to know how they have cornered the disease.

They said taking life as it comes is the key to dealing with cancer. Meditation, music and surrendering to the divine have helped them overcome the pain and stress caused by the disease. This year, the campaign theme of the say is: I am and I will.

Excerpts:

Shreya Makhija (49), counsellor

"In November 2016, I suddenly started having problems in speaking. I could not eat food or read or write. I could only hear. Tests revealed that I was suffering from bone marrow cancer. We went to Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, where I underwent chemotherapy and then bone marrow transplant. I did use to cry, not because I was sad but because I was in pain. I surrendered myself to the divine and spent time listening to devotional songs, including the Guru Granth Sahib. The disease has changed my life but it is as beautiful as it was earlier, though in different ways. My request to those who get diagnosed with this disease is to accept the fact."

Ruchika Sachdeva (46), social activist

"I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. It came as a shock, less due to the realisation that I was suffering from serious ailment and more because of the fear of what would become of my family when I am gone. My treatment went on for nine months, first at Mumbai and later in Bhopal. My surgery lasted for 10 hours. I saw it as a 'surgical strike' on the disease. As for 16 chemotherapy, I drew 16 lines on a piece of paper and struck off one line after each session. That gave me a feeling of victory. Music therapy helped me a lot. The victory over the disease has transformed me. It is like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. I no longer crib about small problems. It is important for everyone to buy medical insurance and begin treatment as soon as possible."

Dr VK Parashar (62), Professor, MVM

"In 2005, I started losing weight for no reason. Tests revealed that I was suffering from cancer of the rectum. After chemotherapy my rectum was removed. For eight or nine months, I was in unbearable pain. Now I am fine. I have to observe some dietary restrictions and undergo tests once every year. Will power is the key to combating fatal diseases like cancer. The support of family, friends and colleagues is equally important. One should have a healthy routine. Work, exercise and be happy."

Madhu Gupta (58), Bank employee

"When, in 2008, I was told that I was suffering from breast cancer, I could not believe my ears. I was treated from June 2008 to February 2009 at Bhopal. I meditated and played with my little granddaughter to cope with the stress and the pain. The first fortnight after the surgery was very painful. Now, I am alright barring minor pain and swelling in the hands. If you are diagnosed with cancer, don't lose heart, don't hide it. The treatment takes 6-8 months and it is not too long a period."

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