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“The most important thing in illness is never to lose heart.” – Nikolai Lenin
My daughter was only a year old when my mother gave a news that her colleague, Mrs Archana Chakraborty is coming to Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital, Mumbai for treatment. She has been diagnosed with stage II B stomach cancer. Both my mother and I share a very close relation with her. I fondly called her “Archana Mashi” (Mashi is a Bengali term meaning mother’s sister). The news was shocking for us. While my mother, a heart patient, cried and lamented that we are going to lose Archana Mashi soon, something in me told otherwise. And as fate had decided I lost my mother a year later to heart attack. Archana Mashi is still alive and it is only courage that I get to see in her. Its been ten years now and call it her tremendous mental grit that Archana Mashi has turned out to be a cancer survivor.
Cancer needs no introduction but I am here to share only the good news. Let us rewind and go couple of years back where most of the cancer patients succumbed to the disease. Fast forward the roll and we get a new revelation that this disease can be controlled and one need not worry that death is the only remedy to this malaise. Medical science has advanced and this once dreaded disease had been brought under control.
Film industry has a major influence on us and it’s this very industry or Bollywood where we take a look at three brave women who are cancer survivors.
She was only 37 when in the year 2009 she was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (a form of blood cancer). She was put on high medications and was declared cancer free in year 2010. Lisa married her boyfriend Jason Dehni in year 2012 and it was during that time the cancer relapsed and since then she has been living with it.
Recalling her fight with cancer she wrote a message on Instagram for her followers and also for the society which read “Nine years and a few months ago, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, an incurable blood cancer. I am still here. I chose to share my diagnosis from the red carpet of the Toronto International Film Festival and I wrote about it in a blog titled, #TheYellowDiaries. But what hasn’t been extensively shared is that I relapsed in 2012, around the time of my (first and only) marriage. And after drawing on both allopathic and complementary therapies, I was back in remission. I’m not special. Each of us have the potential to tap into something far greater than the individual…and also the wisdom to understand when it is the time to let go. The universe is for you, not against you. That’s what I have come to understand through cancer, in a line.”
She was 54 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Call it her resilience that she fought the disease and became a survivor. As an inspiration to her fans, it was in year 2010 that she featured in the UniGlobe Entertainment’s documentary on cancer survival ‘1 a Minute’, with other international stars who had fought and survived cancer.
She was only 42 when in the year 2012 Manisha was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She gave a dogged fight to the disease. She did not shy away from sharing her photos during her chemotherapy sessions. In fact for her fans she posed with a bald head and an enchanting smile. She said cancer had made her kinder, gentler and had taught her that “we are all interconnected and intertwined”. She further added “I took my life for granted. I neglected my health, which is why cancer came to me as a teacher; it came to me as a lesson. I value my life more now, love my family, value my health because I realized if one is not healthy, one cannot enjoy any aspect of living.” Manisha has also authored a book “Healed: How Cancer Gave Me a New Life” which opens with the sentence “I don’t want to die”.
I started the narration quoting Archana Mashi. I conclude it with her story itself. Initially she became cancer free after seven sessions of chemotherapy. But the cancer relapsed and she fought back strongly. No, Archana Mashi is not that rich to afford a treatment abroad – all she has is her faith, determination and the will to fight the dreaded disease. She was sixty when she was diagnosed with cancer and now at seventy she is a happy grandmother to a three year toddler. She is leading a cancer free life. But of course she is on medications and under supervision of doctors.
Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital, Mumbai provides affordable treatment and any person suffering from cancer should get treated without fear of death. There are treatment centers all over India. All you need is a will to resist cancer. You can conquer death. Believe in the fact that its not your time as yet.
The images are pictures of celebrities from the Internet
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