Mountains I climbed the Warrior that I am (Contributed by Anchal Chaudhary)

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In Jan 2020, I was hit with the most painful truth of my life – got diagnosed with breast cancer. 

It was a regular check up which threw at me the most challenging phase of my life. The moment I got diagnosed I remember calling my father and breaking the news to him. The shiver in his voice still echoes in my mind whenever I think about it. It broke my heart to hear my daddy strongest become so weak that he broke down. The only thing which I said to him at that time was – “your daughter is made of steel. Both of you have raised me well and made me a warrior. I will win.” That one sentence spoken in that moment stayed me with me throughout my journey of battling the painful disease. It was a reality which I had to accept, embrace and get on a solutioning mode almost immediately. There was no time to lose! The divine was protecting me in each step of the way by sending angels who got me appts of some of the best oncologists that the country currently has in nick of time. Family, closest friends, long lost friends who returned almost immediately all took over my life and started to pour in to my life with prayers and created a shield around me which made me feel so blessed and the luckiest person in the universe. The love that I received was overwhelming! I remember post my surgery there were so many well wishers (200 plus) who poured into the hospital that the doc was aghast! Each one of them had nothing but love in their heart for me which again made me so blessed and lucky. It was the universe reiterating to me – “Girl you are the chosen one and I am under a lot of pressure with so many prayers coming my way for you that I will have to ensure you get past this safe and sound!”

Receiving so much love, strength and positive energy I was certain that I will fight this and will rise like a phoenix. I then took a call to donate my hair to a place which makes wigs for cancer patients. Didn’t want my hair to go waste :-) Felt a sense of accomplishment when I went bald and boldly called myself – bald and sexy!!!! I was still dealing with the effects of my surgery with my left hand barely functioning (lymph nodes were cut as a result there was very limited sensation). Soon enough chemo came knocking on my door and I would like to admit that it completely broke me physically and mentally. I still get goose gumps when I think about what I went through as a result of chemo for 7 long months. I remember there was a time that I could barely walk and my 74 year old father would take me for chemo on a wheel chair. However I considered myself as a warrior who had to WIN come what may. To add to the woes COVID had struck and I was completely devoid of any social engagements. As I was battling the effects of chemo in my body – a voice inside me kept telling me to keep pushing. I started talking to other cancer patients and decided that I have to share my experiences and help those like me suffering and in need of a listening ear. In the midst of my journey I came across a beautiful soul, a cancer survivor who told me – “Anchal God has given us a second chance, LETS NOT LOSE IT!!! I had made up my mind – I #choosetochallenge ! I kept going through the journey of chemo and radiation inspite of all the pain and conquered the disease! YES I WON – rather YES WE WON! All those who prayed who loved me and stood by me unconditionally won! My family WON!!!My doctors won and also celebrated with me! There is just so much gratitude I have to everyone who were part of this journey (and also to those who were not a part of the journey :-). The year 2020 totally rocked it for me!!!! 

Today I feel a lot calmer, centered and happy. I have found a calling, a sense of purpose, a reason to explain why all this happened. The time for me to give back has arrived! Speaking to cancer patients on a regular basis, engaging with children from differently enabled socio economic strata have become the core of my existence. Basically I have found my calling which gives me the strength to fight back every challenge that is thrown at me. I am today rising like a phoenix stronger than ever! I choose the mantra #livelovelaugh !

I would like to summarize some of my key learnings through my journey of winning over cancer:

  1. Life isn’t as serious as we make it out to be. So in the height of pain when you find a reason to smile it only makes things that much easier and better
  2. Patience and perseverance always pay off
  3. Just when you think its over, it ain’t over – NEVER GIVE UP!
  4. Offer gratitude no matter what the situation is throwing at you coz there are those who might be worse than you.
  5. I became more positive, strong mentally and found peace and happiness even in the most painful times no matter what as I refrained from focusing on the negative aspects of my journey.
  6. It has been a long winding road and I am happy that the journey continues by helping other patients going through their struggles and the volumes of my life keep adding.
  7. Live each day to the fullest and you don’t know what the future holds.

And here I end my story with a song from Shahrukh Khan movie Kal Ho Na Ho which resonates with me –

“Har ghadi badal rahi hai roop zindagi;

Chaon Hai Kahi Hai Dhoop Zindagi ;

Har Pal Yahan Jee Bhar Jeeyo ;

Jo Hai Sama Kal Ho Na ho” ! 


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