Cancer Winner Running for Cancer Awareness - Mitali Upadhye

CSR Times - How are the preparations for the marathon?

Ms. Mitali - Oh, it’s going great. I run almost every alternate day and simultaneously work on my stretching too. So I think I am absolutely ready for the 16thNovember.

CSR Times - Would you like to share your story with us? We would like to precisely write your version of it and publish it as well.

Ms. Mitali - Ok, sure. I am a Pinkathon ambassador, especially as a cancer crusader. Last year June 2013, I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. Though I went under the knife to get the big football size tumour removed, I did not opt for radio therapy and chemotherapy after. I am a homeopathic consultant for past 18 years and deals a lot with alternative therapies. So I was certain, that I would like to heal using alternative therapies and work more on my lifestyle and emotional balances or any other problems that I might have, instead of getting treated with chemo and radio therapy. That’s exactly how my journey for the past whole year has been, wherein I was able to incorporate a lot of mind - body healing therapy.

Apart from that, I also made a lot of changes in my lifestyle with the help of positive thinking, positive attitude towards life and a healthier lifestyle to help improve my diet. Correcting the nutrition deficiency that I had in me was also very important to tackle. Being a doctor we live such a hectic lifestyle, but fail to comprehend that we can suffer from nutritional deficiency too. So correcting all these deficiencies and leaning towards yoga, meditation and pranayama has helped me a lot. That’s something I continue to do on a daily basis.It helps keep me in a much more balanced state of mind and body, and focused too.

During this personal fight against cancer, Pinkathon happened in November 2013. I have always had a very dynamic lifestyle, paragliding, cycling, did it all. So it was quite a shock for me when I was diagnosed with this medical condition. I also thought that with my health deteriorating, my energetic lifestyle may come to a standstill and maybe I would never be able to go back to what I loved doing the most. And with all those fear and anxiety,I was slipping into a slightly depressed state of mind. To snap out of this unhealthy trance, I decided to give Pinkathona try and see for myself if I can get back to my on the go lifestyle that I had.

That 5kms, that I ran alone last year with a slow and steady pace, intermittent walking and jogging felt fantastic. The energy and confidence generated was simply awesome and so positive. I also got to meet other cancer survivors just like me. That experience inspired and helped me get back to my normal life. And from there onwards my journey continued towards healthy and positive life. For the next couple of months till January,I continued with the same attitude, never looking back. My blood report, scans, sonography report, all came back normal.

That’s when it strike me that being a doctor myself and a cancer survivor, I should share my journey’s experiences with the society and make people aware of cancer and the fact that getting operated is not the only solution, but what you do after the ordeal to get your life back on track with the same amount of confidence that you had earlier. One needs to look deeper into one’s self as to what they are doing and what they can do to heal better and also to make sure that this doesn’t recur,as cancer has a very bad recurrence rate. I have seen patients getting operated, going through traumatising chemo sessions and then going through this suffering all over again in a couple years as their cancer resurfaces.

That’s why I decided to come out in open and address the society, write paper articles, talk to people, publish articles on website’s or Facebook page’s and try and reach out to as many people as I can with my interpretations and thoughts about cancer. When all this was still not working in the way I hoped, my running buddies recommended me to Pinkathon and suggested for me to be their ambassador. That’s when they chose me as their mascot for cancer subordinates.

CSR Times - So, what we understand from the information you have shared so far is, after detecting cancer in your body, the journey of your life gets more challenging. Most of your steps have been extremely positive. What message would you like to give to all those women who are fighting against any kind of disease or disability due to which they feel less competent?In fact, not just women,but any individual going through it.

Ms. Mitali - All I would like to say is any kind of disease, illnesses or disability is not the end of life. In fact you can use this phase of your life as a wake up call and make the most out of it to be stronger and move on in life like you’ve never before. Just come back from the trance of darkness as life is so much more beautiful and precious for you to give up on. We can always find something in life to do something extraordinary for ourselves or even for others. In spite of all what has happened, positivity will come back in your life for sure.

I just recall one incident, when I was only 3 months into my recovery a very close friend of mine had asked me to give this up,but I was adamant to move ahead. I was not sure if I wanted to publish this kind of information, but in January when I realised that what I was doing was indeed working and was able to heal myself too in the process. That’s when I was able to go out and talk to people about it.

Cancer is termed as such a taboo word. People failed to understand that it’s just like diabetic or BP. Patient with BP walks around boosting and talking about his blood sugar level, saying “arre mera blood sugar itna hai”. He is very proud and open to talk about his 300-400 blood sugar level. That’s not the case with women. We have a cancer squad where I realised that so many of us women who are going to run for the Pinkathon are still not ready and open for conversation with people or media. Once we had an NDTV interview scheduled and they wanted tocover the story but these women literally refused to interact with the media.Friends or families, no one really knows what we go through and it was sad as we know we are the real heroes in life; we are the ones who have fought hard to overcome the pain and agony. So since we’ve had this amazing roller-coaster journey, we should certainly be able to come out in open and tell people all about it. There is no need to hide and feel ashamed of. That was very disturbing. Some even come up with an argument saying it’s easier for me to talk about it, being a doctor myself, unlike them.

No matter who you are, life has the same learning for everyone. Its only your attitude towards life that makes all the difference.

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