On World Cancer Survivors’ Day on Sunday, Express spoke to three people, Vandana, who recovered from breast cancer with sheer grit, never giving up; Suresh Babu, who recovered from colorectal cancer with his organs intact and Mahesh, father of Bhavya who tried to hold his family together during the one year that his daughter fought leukaemia.
Bhavya (10) who is recovering from leukaemia has no idea that she just survived cancer.
“She was eight when the cancer was diagnosed. We did not tell her it was cancer and said it was just a blood infection,” said her father, Mahesh B, a laboratory assistant with BWSSB.
“At first we did not know what was wrong. She had a fever that simply would not go away. She lost her appetite,” he recalls. It was only after about two months of treatment and a test later that the family found out that she had leukaemia.
“The most difficult part was not knowing what to do. The helplessness of it all,” he said.
“But once the treatment started, the doctor explained to us what was happening. Although we did not tell Bhavya that she had cancer, we still had to explain to her why her hair was falling. She took it well. She is a brave girl,” he said.
The family was given only a 50:50 chance of the leukaemia being cured.
“We did not dwell on any of this. We just concentrated on doing what we had to do,” he added.
Vandana, a breast cancer survivor and founder of the Pink Hope Support Group kept telling herself that she can fight the cancer. “Of course I was scared. I kept asking myself, ‘Why me?’ and then I decided that I would fight it,” she recalls.
While positivity is one thing, Vandana also recalls that there was no support group at the time.
“We could talk to the doctors and I had my family, who were my biggest support. But it helps to have a support group- someone who has fought the cancer and survived,” she said.
This is why, after recovering from the cancer, she founded the Pink Hope Support Group which provides support to those who are fighting cancer.
Suresh Babu’s case is one of sheer grit. He was diagnosed with cancer while undergoing treatment for piles.
“At the time, the only treatment was to have the entire colon removed and a bag fitted in its place. I refused to do this. I consulted two other doctors and they all said that same thing,” he said.
The family scoured the internet for another option and found that a targeted operation was being practiced there. “Get a second or a third opinion,” he advises. “It could be your saviour.”