I have never shared with you why I wrote this book. What was the need to write about a painful experience in such detail?
My reasons for writing this book go far beyond the need to feed the right side of my brain. My cancer memoir is meant to serve as a vehicle for change. Allow me to explain please:
Cancer is a condition that is an epitome of fear, loss, despair and pain. Unfortunately, the incidence of cancer is increasing at an exponential rate. One factor which is critical to beat this monster is its early diagnosis. Awareness of what cancer is and what it can do has a huge role to play in early diagnosis. I am hoping that my story will enable building that awareness.
However, there are several parts of the world where the word ‘Cancer’ is not even spoken in public; a strong social stigma fervently guards people’s willingness to talk about it. I know it because I come from one of those places. When no one talks about cancer, obviously general awareness about the whole cancer experience is very low. It brings it own set of issues, not just medically but also socially and psychologically. I want to do my bit to change that. I want to come out in the open about my diagnosis and treatment. I want to share with people that cancer is a medical condition and not a taboo. I want to affirm that cancer happens when cells go crazy and multiply more than they should. I want people to see cancer for what it is: a challenging medical condition and not our Karma holding up a mirror to our faces that we have not been ‘good’.
During my treatment, there were several times when I felt this stigma. But with every unkind glance or judgemental awkward silence, my desire to do something about this taboo strengthened. Every single time I lost a relationship due to my cancer diagnosis, my resolve to help others in similar situations bolstered.
And so, here I am. I want to bring this change in the society – because it is required and because I want to do something about it! My book is a humble attempt to break through this stigma. Writing this book has been a more daring decision for me than it appears to the normal eye – because in my social context, talking about cancer publicly was a direct conflict with the norm.
Cancer has also enabled me to thrive. Yes, cancer was an incredibly difficult time in my life. It literally changed everything: my body, my financial and career situations, and my relationships. At diagnosis, all I wanted was to get through cancer and survive. But gradually, as I went through the treatment, I had the biggest realization – that no matter what the circumstances, we always have a choice in how we respond. I made a choice that, irrespective of what cancer did to me, I would respond to it positively. I would live every remaining day of my life fully and wisely. I started with a quest to understand myself and so cancer initiated a rendezvous with myself. I want to remind my readers that they have this choice too – cancer or no cancer, how we live our lives is our choice! To thrive is a choice!
Thank you for the privilege to share my story with you.