Survivor From India

Vandana Ramane - Breast cancer

Vandana Ramane, 59-year-old, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. She felt a lump in her breast, further consultations and medical tests with the oncologist, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

With a multidisciplinary team approach, she underwent chemotherapy and organ preservation surgery. As any breast cancer survivor will attest, organ preservation reaffirms their very existence as women. She says, "Initially you don't have the confidence, but with family support you can build the confidence and I pulled up myself together." Post treatment she is doing well and is spreading awareness about breast cancer through Pink Hope Support Group. She adds, "My attitude towards life has changed and I can handle situations with great confidence. There is a 'Can' in the word cancer and we can kill the crab."

Ms. Girija Nadagoudar - Breast cancer

My family has a significant history of cancer. My mother, my older sister, two aunts and cousins had cancer. After turning 40, I made sure I got regular tests for breast cancer. I had always thought that God will spare me, but I found lumps in my breast and my fourth test was positive. Since all the women in my family survived cancer, I was prepared for the surgery, but had my own doubts.

After my son passed away, I was depressed and I feel that my depression could've triggered the cancer. I took homeopathy medicines for three months before the surgery. Chemotherapy was painful, I got depressed and became obese.

My family constantly urged me to fight back. My daughter, my husband and my son-in-law were always with me. The fact that my mother, sister and cousin survived cancer brought me confidence. I chose my mother's radiologist, cousin's chemotherapist and sister's surgeon as I was confident about them.

Six months after being diagnosed with breast cancer, I began to meditate, practice pranayama and yoga. I was clear about what I would face, but the question, "What next?" always played on my mind. Although there were a few passing moments of doubt, I knew I had the will to kill, just like the cancer. The will was strong in all of us.

While I was on treatment, my daughter had her second child. That was a blessing. Taking care of her and my grandchild helped me divert attention from my illness to other meaningful things.

Before being diagnosed with breast cancer, I was involved in various awareness programmes and worked with dyslexic and autistic children. But I withdrew after diagnosis. Slowly, I began writing and contributing articles to Kannada newspapers. It took me two years to go out and attend public events and programmes.

Dr. KEERTI TEWARI - Breast cancer

I accidentally discovered a lump in my breast, rushed to get a mammogram and got a biopsy done without waiting for the mammogram test. The two days that followed were the worst days as I waited for the biopsy results. And I burst into tears when my husband told me the result, took my eight-year-old daughter in my arms and cried.

With no history of cancer in the family, it was a bolt from the blue. On seeing me cry, my daughter cried too. After a few minutes, she took a step back and asked me why we were crying. That's when I told her I have a bad disease called breast cancer. She stepped back further and said, "Mum, you're making such a big deal out of that. Even Kylie Minogue had breast cancer and she is fine now. You will be fine too, don't worry."

My daughter is phenomenal and she never doubted that I would recover. In fact, I realised that family plays a vital role in dealing with cancer. My family never gave me sympathy but was there for me throughout. Although my husband came home and told me I could cry all I wanted and feel, "Why me?" and after one day of crying and wallowing in self-pity, I knew I had to get up and fight the disease. But there were bad days and I would cry. My daughter would tell people, "My mum's found a cure for cancer. Crying cures cancer."

I decided to choose Neoadjuvant chemotherapy in which the oncologists try to reduce the size of the tumour. After two cycles of chemo, I went under the knife, and the tumour had significantly reduced in size. Post surgery I underwent four cycles of chemo followed by seven weeks of radiation. My blood count dropped, making me susceptible to infection, so not many visitors were entertained. But my friends were there for me all along. Those who had children of my daughter's age would take her out for a movie or a picnic. I realised that it was too daunting for me to think six months ahead, so I began to take it one day at a time. I live each day to the fullest.

Lisa Ray

Lisa Ray was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, considered fatal, in 2009. After her chemotherapy sessions, she went in for a stem cell transplant, after which she was free of the disease. Despite suffering from such a rare form of cancer, Ray never bowed down to it and fought the disease strongly.

Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj Singh is the latest celebrity to have joined the list of cancer survivors. Despite the shock that followed the discovery of him suffering from lung cancer, Yuvi gathered himself and fought determinedly against the disease. He drew inspiration from former cancer survivor Lance Armstrong throughout his treatment. Following his triumphant return home, Yuvi expressed his desire to motivate and inspire people suffering from cancer.

When celebrities survive cancer after a strong fight, it makes the ordinary people believe that they too can successfully defeat the disease. Such celebs inspire people to fight against the illness rather than just wait for it to take it's course.

Mrs. Shila Sarkar - Colon (upper) Cancer

Case Study:

Sauccess Story

1. Family Background: Born and brought up at Jamshedpur - now Jharkhand, belongs to a middle class family. Done Graduate in Arts with Home Science, married to Mr. Gautam Ghoshal Sarkar. A mother of two children. Now a resident of New Panvel, Dist - Raigad, Maharashtra.

2. How it happened: Her haemoglobin started to fall, this continued and till it became 2 she did not panic. Although she felt weak, she continued doing all her house works and took regular care of her sick husband and children who were students at that time. She had constipation; consulted local physicians Dr Bhide and Dr Lad. Her doctors suspected some infection and advised her to get her stool and blood examined. They also told her to do a MRI. She went to Dadar for MRI. The results showed that she was having cancer in upper colon. The result scared her very much but she kept herself calm. She started her treatment at KEM Hospital.

3. Treatment: She got full sympathy and help (in every kind) from her friends, neighbours and relatives. At KEM Dr Shupe was treating her and the treatment at KEM was quite cheap. It cost her nearly Rs.40,000/- for her main treatment. Her chemotherapy cost 2 lakh rupees and she tells repeatedly that without the help of her friends, relatives and neighbours she could never get well. Her 3rd check and chemo was done by Dr S Advani.

4. Previously, she hardly knew anything about Cancer. She did not attend any awareness programs, neither from Govt., nor from any NGOs.

5. Now she is fully cured, leading a normal life. She does Yoga and Pranayam very regularly. She controls her diet, avoids non-vegetarian food and sugar. She encourages everyone she meets to follow this lifestyle.

India's young cancer survivors get website to improve their matrimonial chances

THIRUVANANTHPURAM:

For the first time in India, a youth movement organization in Kerala would launch a matrimonial website to find life partners for cancer survivors, bringing solace and hope to those who have successfully battled the disease.

The initiative by the St George Orthodox Youth Movement, under the St Mary's Orthodox Parish church at Kumbanad in Pathanamthitta district, is first of its kind in the country, the sources claimed.

The website - www.insightmatrimony.com - which seek to search suitable brides and grooms from among cancer survivors, will be launched on March 9, they said.

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