I am a Civil Services Officer and was having a regular day back in 2009 when I sat down to look at my daughter's schoolwork. Shanta, the person who used to massage my children when they were young, arrived. As she started massaging my shoulders, she decided to take a pull from the front and felt a lump in my breast. That lump completely overturned my life.
The cancer diagnosis brought numbness initially, leading to confusion as none of the textbook causes of breast cancer applied to me. A lumpectomy surgery, then mastectomy and finally chemotherapy for the triple-negative Stage 3 cancer made me explore my body and mind like never before.
I Turned To Paint To Cope-Up
The physical and psychological pain after my first chemotherapy became unbearable. However, I understood that if I got consumed by this pain, I would learn nothing from experience. And thus, I turned to painting, which was also my long-forgotten hobby.
I decided to paint a canvas after each chemotherapy session to reflect on my mental and emotional state. Understanding the experience, the pain emanating from it and expressing it on the canvas provided me with the required space to learn from it. To learn how we all create our cancers, even if they have not become tutors yet. And how we can all heal from our self-made wounds.
I painted eight canvasses during my different chemotherapy sessions and named the Satori series, a Japanese word for Samadhi. Looks like the whole journey of cancer became a journey of spiritual evolvement for me.
The Fear Of Relapse Haunted Me
After a challenging but the most enriching experience, I was cured of cancer. However, the same fear engulfed me, which bothers all cancer survivors - the fear of relapse. The question that persisted in my mind was what efforts should I make to keep myself cancer-free or at least reduce its chances of recurrence in times to come.
But there were no answers, and I had to explore my solutions. Understanding what caused my cancer, what I learned from it, and how I can heal myself created 'Fragrance Of A Wild Soul'- the book I released in 2020.
With a resolve to help others ease their pain in the journey of cancer and convert it into an opportunity to live a healthier, happier and more fulfilling life, I started 'Sanjeevani- Life Beyond Cancer' in 2012. Currently, we are working in 18 centres across the country and have worked with more than 5 lac patients through our long term innovative solutions. I recently resigned from the Civil Services to dedicate my time and energy to this cause.
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