Last year, we featured Mrs. Sunita Gupta, a cancer survivor, who was in the midst of her chemotherapy and settling to the new life and lifestyle that had emerged. One year on, she is going strong and has defeated cancer, to emerge like a phoenix. Read on as she shares her experience with us about her cancer journey.
How did you deal with the news that you had cancer? What was your family’s reaction?
Mrs. Sunita : The news came as a shock actually, to me and my family. I was feeling unwell and went on for a routine check up and gradually investigations increased and before we knew it, we were headed for a biopsy. The results came in positive and we didn’t understand how this is possible. Accepting this was not easy for all of us and we went through quiet an emotional roller coaster for weeks. But gradually, we accepted the reality and actually, once we did that, it was a little easier to deal with the cancer. Because now, my focus was on the cancer and how to cure this rather than feeling like a victim. My family has been my pillar of strength and their support was extremely important in this fight against cancer. They were understanding of all my emotional outbursts, physical discomfort, as well as my state of mind. I had good days and bad days and very bad days, but they were always there, right beside me.
Celebrating Diwali with her daughter last year
How has cancer changed your life?
Mrs. Sunita : My life has changed a lot. I have to be extra careful about everything. I have to be conscious of what I am eating, take extra precautions while I am travelling, make sure that I get my daily dose of exercise, and most importantly, be extra vigilant about my follow up with the doctors, my check ups and my medications. So yes, it has changed things for me. But now this is a part of my life. It is a part of my daily routine. And because I do follow these rules, I am able to lead as normal a life as possible.
Enjoying a holiday in the hills with her husband
How did you deal with the physical changes that you experienced due to cancer and its treatment?
Mrs. Sunita : You hear about this, you see it when others go through it, but nothing, absolutely nothing prepares you completely for these changes when they start to happen. I had hot flashes, and I would start sweating in the middle of the night. There were times when I would feel so tired that even getting out of the bed seemed like a huge effort. My body started reacting in strange ways to the medication, like I had instant weight loss and the texture of my skin felt different. And of course, once my chemotherapy started, I started losing my hair. And that was not easy at all. It was not easy when I had to undergo mastectomy either. It took me time to adjust to this reality and accept my new self when I looked into the mirror. Support and encouragement from my family and friends made this part of my journey easier.
How does it feel to know that you have defeated cancer?
Mrs. Sunita : It is difficult to put the feeling in words. I feel like a new person, like I have been given a second chance at life. The day the reports came back negative and I got a clean chit, I was overcome with emotions of gratitude, joy, relief, and even pride that I had managed to defeat cancer. Its such a mixed bag of emotions. But at the end of it all, it just pure joy and happiness.
What is your advice for people suffering from cancer?
Mrs. Sunita : My advice to them is that though it is a hard and arduous ordeal, it is not impossible. Cancer can be defeated, and a positive frame of mind is as important as all the medications and treatments. I would also like to request family and friends of people suffering from cancer to support these people and be patient with them. They need all the love and care possible and this will definitely speed up their recovery. Stay positive and hopeful because you can win in this battle.