Saturday, August 1, 2015

When The Sequel Is Better....



Twenty years ago my doctor had announced, "You have breast cancer, stage III". He was very hesitant to talk to me, but I insisted to have the discussion with him personally. I was shocked to hear this, but I had to recover from the shock. Once I found my voice again, the first question I asked him was, " What should I do to survive this?". My doctor managed a tough smile and said, "I think you already did by shifting your focus from cancer to life. I am very happy with your question which shows your spirit of survival rather than the usual questions like - am I going to die? or why did this happen to me? etc"
I divide my life into B.C. and A.D. that is Before Cancer and After Diagnosis. Before cancer I lived a aimless life with no focus or goals. I was struggling to please everyone and not being successful. I realized the value of my life only when I was about to lose it. That is when I started living a more focused and goal oriented life.
I set targets to be achieved, the most important being bringing up my children lovingly. My son was a scared and insecure 4 year old and my special needs daughter just 11 months breast feeding baby. There was no way I was going to die leaving them behind. I geared up for the fight and focused on my goals and target. I often forget the tough challenges I have faced, the suffering I have been through, the hurdles I have overcome or being a cancer survivor.
Today, I stand at the stage in my life where I have almost achieved most of the targets and goals I set for myself. My two children have turned into beautiful and kind people who I can be very proud of. My special needs daughter is now a earning member of our family today.

Personally - from a PUC dropout, I now have a Masters degree in counseling and psychotherapy, I have a blog which has received more than two million views, from running around Bangalore selling soft toys, today I write articles from the comfort of my home or conduct life skill training to be financial independent, I have made my mark with games I play both online and offline, I traveled to USA to meet sisters in survival, I got my driving license, found my dream job, learned to swim and and I have laughed my way through past two decades. That looks quite a productive life now!

I have gained strength to stand up not only for myself, but also for others in the last two decades. I have realized the true potential I have and learned to respect and love myself. I can say the second innings of my life is more fruitful and rewarding than the first one.

I know cancer can be tough on even the bravest. I know because even though I have survived cancer, I have lost my sister and mom to breast cancer. Some of you may still be fighting your battle against cancer. For those of you who are still on the battlefield, my message is - Stay negative (this is true only for us for whom testing positive for cancer can be a nightmare), Think positive and focus on life rather than cancer. Life is definitely worth living and fighting for!

Watch for more survivor stories on YouTube with #hcgselfv. Get Inspired! Get Motivated to get more out of your life.

A Second Chance - Take 2

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

SelfV - Survivor Stories


Update: The SelfV Second Edition is going on. Log onto to http://selfv.in/ for more information and inspiration. Share your story or those of your dear ones to encourage people to fight cancer better. 

Walking down the memory lane, here is what happened @ last year SelfV contest. 


For once, it was not just the battle with cancer that the survivors won; in addition they won Harley Davidson Super Bike, a Samsung Led Smart TV, merchandise from designer label Armani and many more. 10 winners were chosen by a special jury and I am glad to say I am one of them. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What Do We Want From Our Children? II


In today’s world when every parent wants their kids to be all rounder and want to fulfill their dreams through them. This courageous mother realized that her son’s happiness and contentment was more important than the ambition of having an all around performer. This post has been picked up by Rekha.


So after seeing the contribution of my daughter to my life in my post What Do We Want From Our Children?, let us now see what my son has contributed to my life. Let me introduce you people to Rayyan once again after bragging about him on his birthday.

Monday, July 20, 2015

What Do We Want From Our Children?

What Parents Expect From Children?

Thank You Blogadda
If you were to ask the question ‘What do you want from your children?’ to a parent, they would find it very tough to answer. Gone are those days when you heard parents expecting the son or daughter to be a doctor, engineer, and many other such professionals; these are the days when parents want their children to be all rounder. They have a list of things which they want their children to excel in. The stupid ‘me’ lived in the notion it was wrong for us to pressurize our children to take certain professional of parental choice. The parent species has left me behind and evolved far ahead of that phase.

Surviving Cancer for 19 years.. Touch Wood.

It has been 17 years as of today since I underwent mastectomy to fight cancer. I still feel the chills in my bone when I think back on those terrible times. As I realized that I have III stage cancer, which meant I could die leaving behind my two kids, my daughter who was just 11 months and son who was just 4 years, I felt the ground slipping away from beneath my feet. 

This was one of those times when  life brings you problems big enough that you may find yourself in a canyon deeper than Grand Canyon with steep walls.You may feel like losing all control and tumbling down the stairs. It may be enough to make one lose hope of ever getting out of this messy situation. But then, life itself teaches you to be strong and persist in efforts, until you claw yourself out of the deeps; and then it gives you confidence that ‘nothing is impossible’. 

All through my life I consider the year 1996 to be the worst I have faced ever in my life. Ahh! There are situations and times, that for a moment make me feel, there are far more worse moments in my life; but when I sit down and serenely think upon the events, I am sure that this is the worst and toughest part of life. I had to deal with my daughter’s special needs condition, in addition doctors came up with all kinds of diagnosis making me more nervous and unsure what future had in store for us. Then I had to deal with my diagnosis of breast cancer, III stage while my daughter was just 11 months old. The worst thing that ever happened to me was to follow soon.  I lost my loving (not only by me but by everyone who knew her) sister to cancer. My son was a nervous wreck after losing his loving aunt, and watching his Mom suffer side effects of chemotherapy. He must have felt the fear of losing his mom too. My family was torn to shreds and I don’t know whether it has ever been repaired again.. SIGH!

 I wished to give up EVERYTHING, the struggle, the fight and the will to survive. All I wanted to do was rest and allow the tide of life to carry me wherever it intended to. May be it would have happened if not for my kids. Kids are great motivators, or at least I feel mine have been to me. My sole purpose to live and struggle was the thought of two orphaned kids with no Mommy to love and care for them. This was a strong booster.. it picked up my drooping spirit with a gusto that a so and so called drug has claimed to do for a so and so droopy thing. Another motivation came from my aged parents who had just lost their loving daughter to cancer. I could not put them through the trauma of losing another daughter to the beast. Anyway I started clawing the walls of the canyon, came out of the deeps and climbed few hills with the momentum I had. Somehow I feel I have kind of turned into kind of unstoppable person now. I am not satisfied with just being where I am… I want to fly high and touch the skies.

When I think back on the days of being diagnosed with cancer, the day I went for my surgery and looked at my breast in the bathroom mirror of the hospital for the last time, the day I lost my original form never to be the same again. God had made some mistakes earlier too, giving me a club foot but this was another kind of deformity of my torso I had to live with now. I felt bitter back then and the bitterness grew when I brushed my hair and they came out in bunches and filled my lap. I went totally bald with the chemotherapy. It was tough to go through cancer and tougher to go through chemotherapy but then it must have been easier than to be orphaned at the age of 11 months or 4 years and grow up knowing you lost your Mom to cancer. I came out of self pity. The concerned look on the face of my son is what woke me and told me to pick up the bits and make a good looking collage out of it. I went ahead and did it… and now I have a beautiful collage of life to live ;).


One thing problems could never take away from me was my sense of humour. It has lasted the tough ride along with me. It has gone through quite the drub but always comes out in triumph to put smiles on lips. Once I was out of blues, I started to feel that I should have taken a picture of myself before going for the surgery; I should have preserved the memories of my bald head through photos or done something crazy just to lift off the pressure. Back then the concern for my children and the fear of not being there for them had pushed my sense of humour into background … but then it made it come back one fine day and I felt cancer has not changed me much. It had not made me bitter for long… I was feeling better than before.
I have learned my lessons of life… and the lessons help me live life with lots and lots of hope. The hope to live, laugh, and let others live happily around me. 
Today I stand here 19 years later watching my children become adults, realize my dream of being counselor and psychologist and living life to the fullest with gusto. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

From Being Bullied To Being A Bully

I missed out writing on 1000 voices speak for compassion last month, i.e. on February 20th. Building from Bullying is a topic I could not miss to write about. This time around I made it a point to share my own experience with bullying, because what I am today may have started with bullying in my childhood. 


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Paid in Full (With High Interest)

Back in my naughty childhood days, when I would be a nasty child driving my Mom crazy, disobeying her or acting weird, my family would tell me, “You have to respect and obey your Mom, the heaven lies under her feet. Even if you carry her on your shoulders for a decade, you cannot repay her for carrying you in her womb for a day…………………………. Blah!” The end point of all the blahing was that a child can never repay a mother. I know I couldn’t, but I think my daughter has paid me back for being her Mom in full and with high interest added to the premium.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Once Upon A Time…..

Once upon a time, I enjoyed Diwali to the fullest – bursting firecrackers, eating sweets, having a blast with my sister and visiting friends. Times have changed, so have I. People have moved away from each other and there are not many invitations passing around for Diwali celebrations for me to pick up from. Even if I did have a chance to celebrate Diwali with friends, I would be conscious of eating sweets due to my weight gain and I would not be able to enjoy the firecrackers thinking of pollution and the child labors who manufacture them under harsh conditions.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

As you sow, so shall you reap!

A funny incident took place at home recently which was a great eye opener for me. We had issues with fees payment of Rayyan with a bit of confusion thrown in for spice. Finally, the issue was sorted out and a slip given which finalized what we had to pay.

Rayyan Lost in Laptop