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!
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