“I’ve been a primary grade teacher at GD Somani since years. I’ve lived a great life with a few ups and downs…but that’s everyone’s life. Life is very ironical at times — all my life I’ve been surrounded by children, but after marriage I had several miscarriages and then delivered a still born. That was the hardest phase of my life, but finally I gave birth to my twins, prematurely but they grew up to be healthy and happy.
In 1998, after my aerobics class I felt a kind of pain in my breast, but shrugged it off thinking it was a muscle pull. A few days later I felt two lumps and realised that it wasn’t just any pain…I rushed to the doctor immediately and got my tests done. I tested positive for breast cancer and almost immediately had to get surgery. I still remember, on the way back after my surgery was complete, I gave my husband a fist pump and said ‘we’ll be okay’ even though the doctor had just told me I had 25% chances of survival. How exactly should I put this in words? That feeling of knowing that you may not live to see another day or get to see your children grow up and become parents themselves was overwhelming. Through this whole time, I didn’t once ask, ‘why me?’ — I didn’t indulge in any form of self pity. My whole life focus shifted from being sad to becoming a fighter. There were days that I cried, but for every tear I shed I fought harder. I forced myself to laugh, to distract my mind and enable myself — very often I would fight with the hospital staff if they tried to help me go to the loo…even though I would fall on the way I made sure I did it on my own.
Long story short, I beat cancer but in 2004, I was detected once again. I underwent multiple chemo sessions and lost all my hair but I distinctly remember not giving it too much energy. I didn’t have any hair on my eyebrows so I would color them in with a brown pencil. My nails would turn black so I would paint them a new color everyday to make me happy. I would experiment with different wigs and love my look…there were times when I went out completely bald and people asked me if I had just visited Tirupathi and I would play along! My whole life became about being happy no matter what my situation and the fundamental rule of life is — a disease cannot exist in a body that has positive energy. I beat cancer, again and this time I came back with a thumping victory. I began to counsel cancer patients ever since, because for me defeating it twice wasn’t enough— I wanted to defeat it as many times as I possibly can.
The only thing that’s different about me now is that I often ask the question, ‘why me?’ just so that I can say the answer out loud — ‘because I’m strong enough to handle anything that life throws at me…and because I already have!”