Acceptance & positive mindset: Tips by cancer survivors

Girish Gowda

Getting treated at the Kidwai Hospital for leukaemia as a seven-year-old, Dr Aarthi decided that she would one day return as a doctor treating children with cancer.

Dr Aarthi, now 23, is pursuing her post-graduation and is hoping to live her dream as a paediatric oncologist. “It (becoming a doctor) was decided when I underwent treatment at Kidwai. It was also my mother’s desire,” Aarthi says.

More than the patient, it is the caregiver who suffers the most. In Aarthi’s case, it was her mother Prabha who soaked up the pressure and stood by her side. “First and foremost, you must accept that your loved one has cancer,” Prabha says.

“Acceptance is the most difficult part. Once you accept it, half the battle is won. The rest is all about thinking positively and fighting the battle. Miracles do happen. Doctors said my daughter had just a few months to survive. She not only survived, but is working to be a cancer specialist, too,” she adds.

A miracle 

P S Parameshwaran’s story of surviving cancer is nothing but a miracle. Such was his level of positive thinking that his blood group changed from B negative to B positive during the course of his treatment.

Parameshwaran thanks his older brother for donating his bone marrow, which gave him a new lease of life.

“Doctors couldn’t believe that my blood group had changed after the bone marrow transplant. My brother’s marrow suited me and helped me recover from the acute myeloid leukemia,” says the 50-year-old Parameshwaran.

“Cancer is a mind game. We must approach it with positivity. The word ‘cancer’ begins with ‘can’ and ends with ‘ser’ to mean that we can survive,” he says.

Often, the faith shown by the caregiver helps in the patient’s recovery. Ganapathi (75) has overcome cancer thanks to his wife Nalini’s positive thinking. “It’s not just a battle, but a war for me and my daughter,” says Nalini.

“Doctors gave him just one month (to live). Even as he fought cancer, relatives began telling me that I should take his body (for the last rites) to his native. I had strong faith in Sai Baba. More than that, I had a positive feeling that my husband would fight and
recover,” Nalini adds.

Chemo 103 times

Once given just 24 hours to live, kick-boxing champion Girish Gowda had received chemotherapy 103 times, while also winning the championship in the middle of his therapy. “I never smoked or drank. I asked myself ‘why me’? I haven’t got an answer to that till now,” Gowda says.

“I’m glad to have doctors and health workers as my friends. I go trekking every Sunday and have completed 356 treks. Now, my focus is on setting up an academy for kick-boxing in Bengaluru and work towards the world championship in March,” Gowda says.

World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day is observed on February 4. This year marks the launch of a three-year campaign ‘I am and I will’, urging cancer survivors, doctors and caregivers to spread awareness about the disease. 

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