Posted in bravery, cancer, happiness, health, Uncategorized

The Good Side Effects of Cancer

It started off as a beautiful day. I normally don’t wake up at 6:30 am, so the morning had an extra zing thanks to my little accomplishment. To celebrate that, I took my hot cup of coffee to the balcony, where I sat sipping on my swing. The early summer heat hadn’t mitigated the coolness of the morning breeze, which felt soothing against my  face.

I was enjoying the view of lush greenery and the sound of chirping birds when CRASH, I hit the floor with the worst pain in my back! My swing had broken from its hinges and come slamming down with me in tow. The jubilant experience was extended with a pampering of three days in bed and a list of meds added to my already long prescription… along with a good reason not to be a morning person.

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The balcony, the view and the fallen swing

 In my pre cancer days, I would have laughed this off. My friends would make rude jokes on how heavy I am for breaking a swing and the incident would conclude. However, as a cancer warrior, I can’t afford the luxury of trivial accidents. Not only is my recovery time for most ailments longer than others, but also small setbacks can be quite demoralising. Especially when lethargy, fragile stomach, skin allergies and mood swings decide to join the party uninvited.

However, it is my agreement with the thoughts of Jim Valvano that get me through tough days.

“Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul.”

So when my doctor questioned what side effects of chemotherapy I was experiencing as she examined my back, I was humbled to note that I have encountered positive effects along with the negative too; and given that I have had quite a painful and troublesome week, I consider this a fitting opportunity to reflect upon my experiences through the year to renew my strength.

So here’s presentingggggggg… The Good Side Effects of Cancer!

1. Group Hug!

555583_332803490117946_1063573081_nThe most beautiful turn of events took place post my diagnosis and is the prime reason I can’t hate cancer- It brought two important people back into my life.

I hadn’t spoken to my father for five years until he walked into the hospital room to become one of my strongest pillars of strength. The relation we share today is of pure love and every moment with him is precious.

The second entrant was my best friend whom I had barely interacted with for two years due to soured relations. He quit his job in UK to take care of me and though he has gone back, his commitment to being involved with my treatment is unwavered.

Adding my dad and best friend back to my existing family and loved ones gave me the strongest arsenal of a support I could ever need. I also got to observe who really stood by me during tough times and it is my pleasure to divulge that the list is long.

2. Sharing the Care

b95b4a2e6c25be508556b523da79fc8dHaving been diagnosed at a young age and still living with my mum resulted in me being gifted a Get- Out- of- Jail- Card which comes with a host of benefits. I’m treated like it’s my birthday everyday, I never get into trouble no matter how moody I am. I can point at anything materialistic and my family will buy it for me. I need to make a wish and my loved ones want to make it come true. I can be a lazy bunny and shun all responsibilities and nobody will say anything to me.

But apart from this immediate gratification, the care that people have shared with me has been through gifts of morale boosting books, recommending oncologists from across the world, connecting me to other cancer warriors and sending me stock of ayurvedic medicines among much more. Infact after I quit work, my organisation along with the clients I interacted with conducted a fundraiser to contribute to the cost of my treatment. Cancer has truly allowed me to see the best side of people.

3.  Cleaning the Cupboard

declutter-better-lifeThe day I was diagnosed with cancer began beautifully too. I had received a salary hike at my job and the work profile was shifting to suit my strengths.  Therefore my confidence and cheer knew no bounds until  my doctor called with the reports later that evening and asked to meet her immediately.

That meeting changed my life and it hasn’t been the same since. But the result was that my priorities altered immediately and none of the money, success or ambitions mattered. Life became about enjoying the little things. I’ve spent a good part of the past year and a half travelling, reading, painting, cooking [a little], meeting people, meditating, discovering myself and experimenting with everything that captured my interest.

My quality of life went up drastically with healthy eating, happy living and peaceful thinking. For reasons considered good or bad, I was given an opportunity to step out of the rat race and stop myself from burning out; and I think I am making the most of it.

4. Band-aid old Boo Boos

beehive

 I wasn’t allowed to step out of the house for the first few months due to low immunity so my home was a host to daily lunch and dinner get-togethers, movie nights with taboo, monopoly, card games and lots of fun. This helped me cope with the initial shock and denial phase of diagnosis. But the hard task of decluttering my emotional cupboard and throwing out the garbage was important and the process took its toll.

Added to that was the frustration of not being allowed to eat sweets, non-vegetarian food, drink alcohol and a host of other restrictions. Let me tell you one thing- DO NOT tell a foodie what they can or can’t eat. I think I cried over not being able to eat the food of my choice more than I cried over being diagnosed. My anger was directed to what cancer was taking away from me in practice versus the probability that it may or may not take my life in the very distant future.

However, as synonymous as cancer is to ill health, it brings healing in other aspects of life. Introspection compels one to resolve their past issues.  My healing included letting go of past breakups, resentment, stubborn thought patterns, negative attitude, forgiving others but mostly myself along the way. My thinking has filtered to a more peaceful and calming frequency and the regular unloading of emotional baggage gives me the strength to focus on my one single battle.

The process is ongoing and hasn’t been easy, I have been on anti depressant pills and had anxiety attacks. Medicines have helped me cope but they weren’t the solution, only resolving issues and acceptance helped me get over that phase.

5. Divine Intervention 

It’s during turbulent times that we discover or divorce God.

bewI discovered God very recently when I was informed of brain metastasis in a report that I was expecting to come clear. The hopelessness and anger was most intense as it defined my weakest moment of feeling defeated.

I was recommended to go back on anti depressants again, but I decided against it.That’s when the urge for divine intervention came to me.

 Reading books like The Secret and You Can Heal Your Life became my scrolls of strength. Listening to Hindu Shlokas and Gurudwara shabads give me peace on days I can’t sleep or feel emotionally vulnerable and I practice yoga and meditation for its energising tranquility.

I look at this incident as a benediction to indulge my thoughts on God and the Universe independently, to find an infusion of guiding thoughts and beliefs that work best for me.

6. Hulk Strength

Cancer has its way of branding its image through our baldness and there is no hiding the identity of the disease in public.

hulkDo you think the only problem Hulk had to deal with once he mutated was keeping his temper in control? No, if he had any vanity he had to deal with his looks when it changed to a giant green body against his will too. And let me tell you that it is not so easy to come to terms with the change in ones appearance when it is against their wishes. Ask The Thing or The Beast if you don’t believe me.

I agree that being bald isn’t all bad, but it takes us the emotional equivalent of Hulk strength to face the mirror every single day and choose to believe we are beautiful while we look nothing like our old selves. But we choose to wear our scars with pride because hiding ourselves is not an option and it is our daily confidence that gets us through this.

 7. Life 360 Degrees

1344457321636_6853082My life doesn’t seem short of the drama serials I mocked. However, as adventurous and melodramatic as this journey has been, I  realise that I have come a full circle back to reality.

From enjoying the little things in life and focusing on quality centric experiences within my protected bubble, to growing braver and wanting to participate in the babble the world has to offer, I noticed that ambitions have come back and being a part of the rat race has become important again.

 I have resumed work and the universe has connected me to wonderful colleagues who understand my health yet don’t treat me as weak. I am playing on my strengths again and the confidence boost of financial independence is priceless. Blogging has also been a result of this empowerment and a fantastic emotional release. I have also decided to keep a pet again though the thoughts of outliving it does come to mind. However, I feel I have taken life back on my own terms and am done walking on eggshells.

So as the doctor left and I started writing this blog, I realised that cancer has tried to take a lot away from me, but I think I have bargained more in return; and as the battle continues, I’m sure I’ll keep finding more good side effects to add to this list.

I’m not always positive and strong but the important thing is to get up after every fall. It’s very tough but then again whose life is easy? I can either play the sympathy card or accept the cards that have been dealt, to take life back in full swing! 

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Author:

Sonia Boury is a twenty seven year old lady from India. She is a strong, independent individual brought up in a family that encourages her to voice her opinions and live with empowerment. She loves to talk [hence made a career in communication], meet people, try new cuisines, read books, travel and loves animals. She is madly in love with her family and is a little obsessed with her mom. Slightly rebellious and hot headed, Sonia's personality helps her survive the corporate world of Public Relations and Digital Media. It is also currently helping her deal with cancer and fight it every single day. Since her diagnosis in 2014, her life priorities have changed from trying to win the rat race to win at life itself. However the objective now is to use her skills to spread support for cancer warriors and create a qualitative support environment for them. Life has been topsy turvy since sometime and she is in the process of rediscovering herself. Does Cancer now define her? Maybe not, but it seems to have brought a sense of clarity into her life which she is currently trying to apprehend. Blogging is helping with that. Life isn't perfect and nor is she.. But hope you enjoy reading what she has to say.

45 thoughts on “The Good Side Effects of Cancer

  1. U r a survivor !! God bless u dear! U hv described the journey in an amazing manner . U r a pillar of strength to all those who r going thru a similar phase

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  2. “Hats off”, highly commendable and inspirational to all to appreciate life at any angle with gratitude and determination. Be blessed always with vibrant energy and zest for life.

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  3. Always thought you were different. ..with a balanced head and a strongly emotional, easily breakable heart ….but didn’t know you could pen it all down in such a superb manner. …That’s the real way of “playing the cards you have been dealt” ….you sure are a trailblazer …bless you dear girl for showing the cribbers how life can be handled. ….mighty proud of you. …love you loads 😚😚

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  4. Every single thing resonates so true. Your disease doesn’t make you a victim. It made you a warrior. And in turn made you more receptive towards love and company and happiness. I know it sounds counterintuitive but you are right, there’s so much of positives to take away from this too. And I am genuinely glad that you could bring yourself to find them. Great post dearie. Loving every word. 🌟🌟🌟

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  5. Good side effects, yes dear it takes an amazing woman like you to dwell on the flowers in the thorn bushes and be appreciative of them.God bless you as you continue to touch n bless so many lives through your blog.lots of love n prayers for healing..

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  6. Darling Sonia,you are amazing! Love reading your blog. You make my heart cry and yet leap with joy.
    People take years to find out the purpose of their lives. You have discovered so much at such a young tender age.
    If interested read the Bhagvat Gita and if possible have someone explain it to you.
    May you continue to be blessed!
    Lots of love and a big warm hug to you.Keep smiling. ….you are BEAUTIFUL

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  7. I am completely humbled by your words and wisdom. With your openness and your grace, you are already healing your body, mind and soul. You are a true warrior. May I extend my loving, healing thoughts your way. Warriors like you shine the light of love and awareness into the deepest darkest spaces and make them light once more, teaching others to do the same. Thank you for all that you share – love and light xx

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      1. I just watched an extremely empowering talk by Kris Carr – author of Crazy, Sexy, Cancer (which is a book and a film produced by a girl who was diagnosed and has managed to defy all odds despite her diagnoses) – you may have heard of her already but I just had to share her work in case you hadn’t… Much love xx

        Liked by 1 person

          1. You’re welcome, another book I also came across by a young lady in similar circumstances is ‘The Earth Diet’ ❤️ This may also be of interest… Sending you much love and light xx

            Liked by 1 person

  8. Both the posts are so beautifully penned, it takes me down the memory lane and while reading I see my reflection in very word n thought that you have described. Am trilled to know about your dad n best friend, keep writing and I wont say keep fighting this time cause a warrior doesn’t need these words anymore, instead I will say keep enlightening, this world needs to know that the C word is not a taboo and they can talk about CANCER very openly and try to understand it and then maybe some day that will lead to help us find a cure for this which not only affects the patient, but the family and friends. Lets kick back and come together to win every battle we can!! Sending lots of love n hugs to you darling Sonia!!

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    1. Thank you so much bhags.. I’m happy to know that my writing resonated with your journey too. 🙂 the idea is to share real stories and like to said – get people to get over the discomfort over the word cancer..

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  9. These women have not only enjoyed protection from unplanned pregnancy, but they ve also had the added benefit of something you rarely hear about non-contraceptive benefits . These benefits are the good side effects, which occur much more frequently than the bad ones that commonly make headlines.

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  10. Hey soni…. I read it again, today!! I told you it actually inspire me a lot 🙂
    Keep up the good work and keep writing………. “You’re an INSPITRATION”

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