STORY OF COURAGE

 

Vipula Chawla

Optimist. Believer. Fighter.

“My life as a biology teacher in Kendriya Vidyalaya was going usual till October 2013. One fateful day, around the end of October 2013, I noticed that my nipple was inverted. Thanks to my profession as a biology teacher, I knew about breast cancer self-detection. I checked the breasts and couldn’t feel any lump. However, I decided to visit the doctor immediately. A few visits and some tests later, I witnessed the inevitable – 4th stage breast cancer that has spread to the lymph node.

I was an asthmatic and my lungs were working at 28% of their capacity. The surgery had to be postponed. We waited for 15-20 days post which half of my breast was removed. But my ordeal didn’t end here. My doctors informed me that my entire breast and 19 lymph nodes need to be removed.

When God gives pain, He also gives strength to bear that. In my case, He gave me a very supportive and loving family that made sure that I am at my confident and cheerful best. I believe in the power of positivity and my robust willpower didn’t deter even once. My faith in God also helped me overcome this turbulent phase. I have always been a positive person. Cancer affected my body, but it couldn’t shake my spirit even one bit. As a teacher, it was my duty to impart education to children. During chemotherapy, I wore a cap and went to school to teach my students. This really helped me to stay positive and fight back.

One of the biggest lessons I learned from beating cancer is that YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE. I traveled the world. Cancer didn’t stop my life. Cancer will never be able to stop my life. I read and listen to different stories. There is always something to be grateful for in life. And above all, have faith in God. That helps, always!”

 

Ujwala Sanjeev

Optimist. Believer. Fighter.

“My first encounter with Breast Cancer was the day my mother was diagnosed. Things moved so quickly after that. Her treatment from Breast Cancer went on for just 20 days before she passed. Moving forward with my life, the thought of Breast Cancer’s genetic implication would always be at the back of my mind. As I fulfilled my daily chores as a homemaker, a food technologist, and a mother, I thought of the possibility of passing cancer onto the next generation.

When I turned 40, I made sure to get a mammogram and other tests. This was the beginning of my second encounter with Breast Cancer — but this time, up close. There were 2 spots on my breast. An oncologist confirmed that it was Cancer. We went through 8 months of treatment and difficult procedures that I found to be the most challenging phase. My inspiration to fight, however, was my beautiful daughter — Kshirja Raje. Despite being a little girl, she was the brightest light at the end of a dark tunnel. She gave me strength.

I am grateful to everyone who helped me in this phase of my life. My family, doctors, colleagues, and friends — collectively contributed to easing this situation for me. I read books, watched comedy films, listened to music and poetry through those months. Despite the overwhelming aspect of those 8 months; I can positively say, cancer changed me.

Pre-cancer, I was a career-oriented person. All I wanted was a hassle-free income, a stable job, and a happy family. It was after Cancer that my ambitions shifted. It was now, that I understood how precious life is.

Today, after 7 years of being a healthy person, I am a freelancer as a food technologist — I read more, dance more, and live freely. I volunteer for an NGO named The Pink Initiative whose founder is Dr. Sumit Shah, which aims to spread awareness about Breast Cancer. My mission is to ensure that no one goes through what my mother and I had to endure. It is for this reason that I ask you, and everyone reading this — to ensure you check yourselves regularly, and to look out for signs from your body. We must ensure early detection and spread awareness in our communities. It is the only way to fight this!”

 

 

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