I met Rucha through the Mumbai sling libraries fitness group – a group with inspiring people focused towards better health. She posted about why she couldn’t workout today or how she felt after working out. This inspired many and I wanted to know her story. I was thrilled after listening to her story and asked her if I could share it with you people and she agreed. So go ahead and read the story of a mom who fought cancer.

Tell us something about yourself and your story of life.

I never thought I would like to write my story. After all a story worth reading – has to be hatke. And mine was cut and pasted normal stuff. Studious, engineer and MBA from premier institutes, working professional, dancer, reader, loyal friend and lucky to have a loving daughter, devoted husband, adoring parents. 29 years condensed in less than 29 words. Fairly normal. Until I was branded pink and had to add a few more words to that description – survivor of stage 3 breast cancer.

When did you come to know that you had cancer and how?

Aug 2017 I noticed a lump in my breast. But given that I was feeding my 2.5 yr old I thought it was a milk clot. When the clot persisted and grew in size with 4 months, I visited my gynaec who prescribed a whole series of tests. The mammogram showed cancerous growth and the biopsy confirmed the same.

What was your first reaction? How did your family react?

Stunned. Disbelief. But certain about one thing. I would get out of this. By hook or crook. By doing whatever it takes. My family was super worried and scared but amazingly supportive. They bore my emotional upheavals, my food nausea and my hideous scars without flinching. I can never forget my daughter patting my back every time I threw up, my husband dressing my foot long scar every morning and my mum oiling my hairless scalp to give me some relief. Without them this would have been an even longer and tougher fight than it was.
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How did you choose to treat it and why?

I chose to go the conventional route of chemo surgery and radiation since it was tried and tested. Plus in cancer there are really no options. While we are used to so many choices in our daily life that even my 3 yr old makes multiple decisions in the course of a day. With cancer treatment the choice is simple – take it or leave it. I didn’t have the courage to opt for a no treatment route. But once l chose my path I had very little alternatives – losing hair, losing control over body functions, detrimental effective on other parts of body – all were side effects to be faced. And that’s when I realized that when there is no option you forge ahead. You reach in to unknown reservoirs of strength, you gather courage from all places and you do it with a smile. The key is to not have an option. Whatever be the situation.

How did you survive through all the chemo therapies and other painful treatments?

Plan – have something to look forward to. It helps light the darkest of hours. It can be the smallest of things but it helps to focus energies on getting it done. I survived my sleepless night in ICU by planning my gruhapravesh to the smallest detail. I got through radiations by planning evening activities with my daughter. When things are bleak prospect of joy round the corner is a much needed energy boost

What is that one thing that kept you going?

Trust – others to help out and ask for help. Trust yourself to be able to face challenges head on. I trusted my doctors blindly.Trusting my daughter to understand my fight was a huge help. I trusted my body enough to complete a 5 km run within 2 months of treatment. And each of these things worked out. Once you make your bed, lie in it. Don’t second guess. Trust
Enough pontification. I realize I haven’t mentioned any of the gory details of the 20 chemotherapy sessions, 20 radiations, 3 surgeries across 10 hours, multiple emergency room visits, ongoing health complications or future medical uncertainty. That’s because they aren’t important. They are just unusual manifestations of the usual obstacles we face in our daily lives. And what gave me courage is what will hopefully let others overcome their nightmares. I have thankfully woken up from mine.
Time to help others rise and shine.
Ruchas story is inspiring and she wants to help others fight cancer or any other diesease. She writes about her life with cancer on her blog cancerkatha.