TODAY -

"No stepping out" is the life-influencing message of breast cancer thriver - International Women's Day special -

Dr Rita Banik *



I was born and brought in a happy family in New Delhi. I had a twin sister and a younger brother. Both my parents were working. I graduated from Hindu College, Delhi University in 1977 and went to Peoples’ Friendship University in Moscow (erstwhile USSR) for an integrated course in Geology. Finally, back home again, I did my Ph.D in Geochemistry. After getting married I stayed in Eastern parts of India and for the first time saw the economic and social difficulties that I had never come across in Delhi.

We had just moved to NIT Silchar, Assam in 2006 when I discovered a lump in my left breast. I did not expect it to be cancer but I went to the doctor the very next day. My biopsy report confirmed breast cancer. I was terribly shocked--sort of in a trance. I immediately flew to Delhi for treatment as we knew Dr Dinesh Pendharkar (senior oncologist) there and he took my treatment under his wings.

I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer and I had to go for surgery – Modified Radical Mastectomy (MRM) on 24th March 2006. I was smiling and trying to stay normal while being wheeled for surgery. My physical weakness started after the surgery and during chemotherapy.

Whenever I felt healthy enough, I kept myself occupied in some work or the other but there were moments of anxiety and depression when I would worry about my college going daughter’s future. Once I even told my sister to take care of my only daughter Jessica if anything went wrong with me. I was quite satisfied with my doctors and their team of healthcare workers. I was in good hands. I learned how to use the computer during my chemo, wrote a few articles, as well as a handbook called ‘Kick the Beast out of your Life’.

In 2008 I got reconstruction surgery done, which, at that time (and perhaps even now), was not understood by many in our country and not very acceptable. People get scared of the word surgery in the same way as they are afraid to even utter the word cancer. I felt complete after the surgery and gained confidence.

For seven years I lead a happy go lucky life again, travelled a lot and started spreading cancer awareness. I had completely forgotten about my disease.

In 2012 I, along with a friend (late Rashmi Kapoor), opened charitable trust called RACE to rein-in-cancer. But the year 2013 was an acid test in my life. Suddenly, I was diagnosed with a relapse- cancer was now found in my sternum bone. I was more shocked than when I was diagnosed the first time. Rashmi also passed away that year due to spread of cancer in her body. It was a devastating time.

CANCER RELATED FATIGUE

Cancer related fatigue (CRF) started paving its way through my body and mind because I started getting relapse every 2-3 years. In fact, cancer cells may freeze or get killed by one type of medication but with time they become immune to it and start growing again.

Then the medication needs to be changed or chemotherapy has to be given again. CRF is related to physical, mental and emotional stress, may lead to acute depression, loneliness, leading a solitary life. I became my own healer and whenever I felt such symptoms, I would engage myself in reading, writing or spreading awareness, counselling cancer patients and their caregivers.

My family has been highly supportive of my treatment as well as of the awareness and other activities we carry out through our organisation RACE. I am alive today because of all the support I get from my family, RACE team members and friends. Today in 2020 I am still undergoing chemotherapy. The struggles I have been facing with cancer since 2006 have made me more aware of myself.

I feel as if various Ritas are enveloped one inside another, just like in a matryoshka- a Russian set of dolls of different sizes, but having exactly the same in looks, placed one inside the other. The outermost doll is the biggest – inside it there can be 10 or 20 dolls. When I am feeling good health-wise I feel enthusiastic to work for RACE, I plan events and activities, I am one Rita.

When I cannot get up from bed and I start feeling that all is lost, I am another Rita. I feel I have developed many Ritas within me who are empathetic, compassionate, affectionate, worrisome, fearful, courageous, active. All these are enveloped one into another.

We go on opening the Matryoshka and each doll comes out one by one. Similarly, with each environmental impact one Rita jumps out while the rest stay enclosed until it is their turn. Whenever I am in good health I plunge into activities forgetting all about rest of the Ritas in me.

Till date I have taken four sets of chemo and the fifth one is on the go. The physical and emotional changes have given me a new perception to life. About a year back I joined Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. I panic no more and am determined to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients.

IN THE WORDS OF JOSEI TODA

"I put faith first, 'you need never panic or get flustered. No matter what the problem or situation, the important thing is to chant about it deeply and strongly. Even when you feel deadlocked, that’s precisely the time you can bring forth the true power of the Buddha"

If I am able to reach out to help and make a positive difference to even one person it would be an achievement for me. The tortures I undergo due to endless treatment bring out the conviction in me that I have to get back to my normal self for the sake of others as well as for myself. I must transform my poison into medicine. Cancer may be strong, it’s treatment even stronger, but I am the strongest and will share my victory very soon!

My advice to newly diagnosed patients is that they should keep calm, understand their own treatment, take a second opinion if not convinced, and also seek help of support groups. Everyone should be vigilant of their symptoms, as early detection saves lives.

Since there is no stepping out for me, I have joined hands with the beast called cancer. If I can face it bravely for so long you can do it too!


* Dr Rita Banik – CNS (Citizen News Service) wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a 5-times cancer survivor who calls herself ‘cancer thriver’ .
This article was forwarded by Bobby Ramakant - ramakantbobby(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on March 06, 2020.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Bishnupur during Lockdown [Apr 5] : Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 06 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Reality of Korean Pop or Hallyu Wave
  • Illegal detention of YFPHR members
  • Amidst Sorrows and Hopes :: Poem
  • Mentality matters to fight COVID-19
  • Plight of stranded north-east workers in city
  • Measures taken up to check COVID-19
  • Betel leaves traders should not be let free
  • Relief Camp @Chassad - Mar 17 : Gallery
  • Betel leaves seized @Imphal Apr 4 : Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 05 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • During the invasion of Covid-19
  • Surviving in the time of COVID-19
  • PM's 9 pm diya deciphered
  • Disguise :: Poem
  • Switch off lights call of PM
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • Items distributed in Bengaluru : Gallery
  • Covid-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Helpline Number for Students/ people from NE
  • Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic
  • His Call to the Nation
  • Enchanted Riches Land :: Poem
  • Fresh lease of life in NERAMAC
  • Naga Peoples Front Communique - [Apr 4]
  • Yes we can fight COVID-19 invasion
  • Chassad village Arson- Mar 17 : Gallery
  • Status Update 03 April : Govt of Manipur
  • A Panic-Stricken Crowd :: Poem
  • Covid-19: what ails one, ails us all
  • PM's Statement on COVID-19 [Apr 3]
  • Manipur BJP Statement [Apr 3]
  • Appeals to Prevent Forest Fires
  • FIR asisu handokkadabani
  • Message from Nagaland Opposition [Apr 3]
  • From Nationwide lockdown to what else ?
  • The virus respect no religion
  • Mr. Khadang - Film Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • Status Update 02 April: Medical Directorate
  • Thotsang, Chao Sai, Makanmi: eMing
  • Muslim- one of most misinterpreted community
  • Stop Xenophobia against North East People
  • Essential Commodities Shops - Bishenpur
  • Beneath all that Darkness :: Poem
  • 17 in Assam, two in Manipur
  • Ode to the silent angels
  • Shopping - 30 March #2 : Gallery
  • Status Update 01 April: Medical Directorate
  • Drug users during COVID-19 pandemic
  • Reflections in the shadow of Covid-19
  • An absolute sacrifice
  • Report Clarification : Govt of Manipur [Apr 1]
  • Schools to remain closed beyond 31st March
  • Construct Quarantine centre at Koirangei
  • Pledges Rs 50 crore to PM CARES Fund
  • Fresh hotspot in Delhi's Nizamuddin
  • New findings on character of Coronavirus
  • Wars, Devastation & events in Kakching #2
  • COVID: Janata Curfew -Mar 22 #2 : Gallery
  • Support to stay home and pray
  • Racial prejudice against NE people
  • 'Release prisoners on bail/ parole'
  • Music Video 'Live Your Life' released
  • Donation to CM's Covid-19 Relief Fund
  • Farmer Producer Companies to collect
  • Heed the lockdown call
  • Health Advisory needs to be reviewed
  • Shopping - 30 March #1 : Gallery
  • Status Update 30 March: Medical Directorate
  • Stop Hate in the Time of Corona
  • April Calendar for Year 2020 : Tools
  • Manipuris stranded in State : Nodal Officer
  • Mask distributed at Kumbi
  • Nothing spreads like fear
  • Letter to Prime Minister on Racial Attack
  • Lockdown : Ensuring food for all
  • Covid-19: Manipur Strategy to Prevent & Win
  • Status Update 29 March: Medical Directorate
  • Covid-19 or Racism, which one to fight first ?
  • MHA to Chief Secys of States [Mar 29]
  • Home Delivery- Imphal Dists [Mar 29]
  • Shop List opened - Bishenpur [March 29]
  • Violating anti-defection law
  • Why PM want Leishemba to be RS MP #2
  • Manipur Govt Orders [28 March] : Gallery
  • Status Update 28 March: Medical Directorate
  • Medical material airlifted from Delhi to Imphal
  • Coronavirus Combat; not just Govt's fight
  • Lack of availability of Medicines, Water..
  • Research to plug gaps in COVID-19 testing
  • RIMS areas disinfected - [March 26] : Gallery
  • Status Update 27 March: Medical Directorate
  • Manipur Govt Orders/Directives : 27 March
  • FEGOCTA donate 1 Day Salary to CM's Fund
  • Cure for COVID
  • What a respect to the caregivers !
  • Charity Mission Committee on COVID-19
  • NH7 Weekender : Online music festival
  • Lockdown amid curfew
  • PDS rice to CMHT excluded Keishamthong?
  • Curfew in Imphal - [March 24] : Gallery
  • COVID-19 helpline numbers in Manipur
  • Screening at Mao [Mar 20] : Gallery
  • COVID 19 & Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897
  • Decoding Tax Jargon through March Ending
  • NPF urged Nagaland Govt on COVID-19
  • Food items to Child Care Institutes
  • Hand rub bottles manufactured & distributed
  • Studying the total shutdown in Manipur
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Social Distancing observed [Mar 25] : Gallery
  • An appeal to all on COVID19
  • What is love ? :: Poem
  • Career option in Geomagnetism
  • Kohima gets a brand new song
  • Communique on Covid-19 : Nagaland Oppn
  • CM Covid-19 Relief Fund created
  • 12 on board flight with patient quarantined
  • Quiet celebration of Cheiraoba
  • Quarantine started- Mao -Mar 24 : Gallery
  • Leikai Public curfew -Mar 24 : Gallery
  • Stop stigma of Covid 19 +Positive Friends
  • Media : Essential services during lockdown
  • Acts of Kindness, Unity among Communities
  • Racist attacks on people from North-east
  • A friend in need is a friend indeed
  • Enforce total lockdown in Nagaland :: NPCC
  • Ugly response to positive case of COVID-19
  • First Case in Manipur
  • Lamphel Nawa Kombirei at Cheiraoba
  • Woman returned from UK has Coronavirus
  • Screening at Mao - Mar 22 : Gallery
  • Why PM want Leishemba to be RS MP #1
  • Janata Curfew - 'Go corona' festival
  • Panacea for Economic Collapse: COVID-19
  • Total Lockdown till March 31st
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba - Meitei New Year Day
  • Giving racial twist to coronavirus
  • Need action to those mocking PM
  • COVID: Janata Curfew -Mar 22 #1 : Gallery
  • Manipur Govt Orders - Mar 22 : Gallery
  • Status Update 22 March: Medical Dir Lamphel
  • We will get by. We will survive.
  • Covid-19: Impact in Manipur :: Photos/News..
  • War against Corona
  • What ails Indian Railways
  • Appeal to Govt during COVID 19 crisis
  • Hats off to the men in white
  • COVID-19: Ima Keithel -March 21 : Gallery
  • Bandh on March 21 : Gallery
  • Social Justice & Democracy in Northeast
  • Sociology of Coronavirus
  • COCOMI extended help to victims of Chassad
  • The Omnipresent Fear :: Poem
  • MU Chemistry Dept makes hand sanitisers
  • COVID-19 : A blessing for Khwairamband
  • Wakching Thagi Sanarei #2 :: eRang
  • Who will rebuild Chahsat village ?
  • The untameable :: Poem
  • Importance of Fish & Fishery in Manipur
  • Challenges for female entrepreneur in India
  • The Killing Fields 2013-20 : News Timeline
  • How well prepared is Manipur?
  • More seriousness needed to fight COVID-19
  • Khongu NangGi Baasi :: Shumang Leela
  • Yaoshang Fancy Dress #1 : Gallery
  • Journalistic Challenges in Reporting Chassad
  • Paneer Our Daughter's Delight
  • Civil Site Engineer / Site Manager
  • Architectural Designer at R-Square
  • Research Officer - Financial at Amethyst
  • Chinky to Coronavirus: Racial profiling chain
  • Promises, prosperity, Rights & Responsibility
  • Wars, Devastation & events in Kakching #1
  • When Chassad Blazed Our Hearts Burnt
  • Nagas entering final phase of power struggle
  • Climate change & predator : Any link?
  • Restore Chassad village to normal condition
  • The other side of Covid-19
  • Is Manipur taking adequate steps?
  • Silencing the voice of dissent
  • Dzukou Valley, Senapati #3 : Gallery
  • Condemns the burning at Chassad Village
  • Conduct fact finding mission at Kamjong
  • Lost at the edge of uncertainty!
  • Global Youth Peace Conclave postponed
  • Entrance exams after 10 + 2
  • Workshop organized on Einstein's birthday
  • Titular King in the race for RS
  • Coronavirus, H1N1 & garbage in Imphal
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • Yaoshang Sports Meet #2 : Gallery
  • Restoring Chassad- the village with no house
  • Manipur Maharaj & House of Lords
  • COVID-19 : Hand sanitizers at Bangalore
  • Appeal to install Covid-19 test in Nagaland
  • Communal violence & over-lap ethnic aspiration
  • Understanding Ponzi scheme
  • Yaoshang Halankar #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sports Meet #1 : Gallery
  • Nano Technology in Bio Organic Fertilizer
  • Joydev Thongam: Story behind the muscles
  • COVID-19: Agent to end Economic Globalisation
  • Cannabis in HIV and AIDS
  • Is society gender-sensitive enough ?
  • Day light Thabal Chongba #1 : Gallery
  • Intl Women's Day @ Imphal : Gallery
  • International Rivers Day at Kangoi Area
  • Getting workplace ready for COVID-19
  • A Tale on Yaoshang :: Poem
  • India's improving journo-murder index
  • But Leishemba should also act politically
  • Yaoshang Marathon @ Singjamei : Gallery
  • Wangkhem Rezia : Success Stories NE
  • Guwahati Music Festival #2 : Gallery
  • A Beautiful Mind :: Poem
  • Of Purity and Arrival of Spring
  • Fr Biju Michael - Salesian South Asia
  • Yaoshang Cheng Khaiba : Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba @ Khwairamband : Gallery
  • Intl Women's Day @ Bangalore : Gallery
  • Women's health & nutirition - A glance
  • Yaoshang Rock @Sagolband :: Gallery
  • MOU - Guest House at Mandalay :: Gallery
  • #VOLUNTEER4HEALTH launched at Delhi
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba :: Gallery
  • Festival of Holi- Brahma Kumaris concept
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa @ Kangla :: Gallery
  • Health Camp at Pune :: Gallery
  • International Women's Day at Bangalore
  • Universal access to sexual health services
  • Health Camp on Women's Day at Pune
  • More employment for our politicians
  • Gender Resource Centre in Agriculture
  • Entry points at Indo-Myanmar border sealed
  • Peace rallies urge PM for early Naga solution
  • Reversing masculinization of India's workforce
  • Torch Rally: Journalist Sports: Gallery
  • Politics of South China Sea Disputes : Book
  • 1st Barak Festival @Senapati: Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2020 #1: Gallery
  • Phisakol - Film Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • yeniHTa :: Seireng
  • Yaoshang Thabal Peisa donation: Gallery
  • World Meetei Convention @Cachar : Gallery
  • 13th Mega Marathon Manipur #3 : Gallery
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Wakching Thana Lakpada #2 :: eRang
  • Students @ Class XII Exam #2 : Gallery
  • Bangladeshki Sana Tampha #1 :: eRang
  • Manipur Legislative Assembly Building : Gallery
  • Eepan Thaba -birth ceremony : Gallery
  • Coronavirus prevention @ Moreh : Gallery
  • SPONSORED ADS