Monday, November 19, 2012

Survivor Stories

The final part of Seminar had the manpower behind the organization Mr. J.S. Pant, taking on the stage. Being a man of action, he had fewer words to say and went on to introduce four cancer warriors to the delegates.
The first survivor to speak was Dr. Dr. Keerti Tewari who underwent CA Breast treatment in 2007. Dr. Teewari  talked about her journey through cancer and its treatment and a few things it had taught her:
• A positive attitude really helps in dealing with difficulties. If you think that things will turn out right…
they usually do.
• The love and support of the family can get you through anything.
• Happiness is found in the small things in life- like being able to brush my teeth without throwing up!!!!
• A smiling doctor brightens up the dark days of chemo.
• Cancer, if detected early can be treated like any other disease. And now I know cancer isn’t a sentence, it is only a word!
Opening out her heart and not holding back words she went on to narrate how she cried in buckets when she was told she had cancer.
“The initial reaction was denial. I could not believe it, and was sure that there was some mistake or that the doctors had got it wrong. It was followed by days of crying. I used to hug my young daughter and weep. I thought I was going to die. Even when doctors and family said that I would be fine, I was not convinced”
The words of daughter who said the Kylie Minogue who had been through breast cancer was singing and dancing, that gave courage to her to fight and pick herself up.
 I was desperate to meet somebody who had actually survived the disease. I wanted to hear it out of her mouth to gain that confidence. When I finished my treatment, I thought of the others who would also have the same desire and decided to speak out to them. I also realized the early detection of cancer is utmost important and wanted to create some awareness,"
Trying to give something to the world, Dr.Keerti Tewari has become one of the founder members of the Pink Hope support group that consists of breast cancer survivors. The group now tries to create awareness among women, especially patients, that cancer is not the end of the world. Keerti and her group conduct sessions for breast cancer patients on the last Saturday of every month at the HCG hospital. At these sessions, the breast cancer survivors speak about their experiences instilling hope and courage in the devastated minds. They have had talks on diets, insurance, yoga and genetic counselling (on the hereditary nature of the disease).
The next survivor was Mr. Kulkarni who had suffered due to the doctors not being able to catch cancer in its earlier stage for him. He had often approached the doctors and asked them to get the tumor checked out for him, but they assured him that he is all right and there is nothing to be feared. Unfortunately for him, the cancer had progressed by the time it was discovered by doctors. Going through his treatment, he had made his wife financially secure and never stopped working either. Though suffering through the negligence of doctors, with his courage and lifestyle, Mr. Kulkarni had overcome the attack from cancer to stand today on the dais and talk about it.
The next survivor to speak was Mr.Amar Bhanskar, senior manager of a company, suffered from a major tongue cancer that not just impaired his speaking abilities but also made his neck stiff as his lymph nodes were removed. But never after diagnosis or during treatment did he stop working. The secret to his strength in dealing with cancer is the six letter word `Prayer'.
With a great sense of humor he went to describe how it was tough to manage his mother tongue language of Tamil which had more tongue twisting words than English. He gave example of bollywood who pick themselves up and attack with vengeance when talking about his recurrence.
The last survivor to speak was a male breast cancer survivor, Mr. Shiva Kumar. He was a unusual person who talked about how he fought he conquer hunger when going through cancer treatment. He also spoke about the Yoga, fasting and other books he wrote when he was going through the treatment. The touching part of his speech was how he felt lonely among the breast cancer patients. It is true that we do not come across the male breast cancer survivors too often, and may be the women do not find the sisters in survival kind of bondage with a male breast cancer survivor.
It was great to hear the success stories of the people who have fought and won the battle against cancer, without giving up their professions, passion and attitude.

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