We all hear on stories of cancer fighters. Generally we hear them when people have recovered from the condition. Here’s a mum and a senior business consultant in her work, who we feel is one of the strongest women we got to know and currently battling the condition. Monika Bakshi Singh shares on life, being a mum and on her fight with cancer.
Monika shares with Mums and stories her journey, where she hopes to live to see her son as an independent adult,“ It was Oct 2015, and I was leading a normal life – going to work, taking care of my 1.5 year old baby boy, catching up with friends and doing regular dance cardio and surya namaskars. Everything was so normal.
As part of my routine medical screening, I did a complete blood count (CBC). This test is done to measure the amount of blood cells in a body. The results shook me hard! I had platelets as low as 40,000. A normal count is above 1 lakh 50 thousand. When I visited the oncologist, I insisted on a bone marrow test that came positive with Acute Myeloid Leukemia – Type 2. After 3 months of treatment, I went into remission, which means I had recovered.
My life was as normal as anyone else! I was on cloud nine, when the devil struck again in Aug 2016 as a relapsed AML.
My boy is still 2.5 years old. He doesn’t understand much of what is going on. He is an accommodative child. He left breast feeding a day before my first chemo cycle, and strangely never asked for it again. Right now when I am in hospital for a chemotherapy, He is taken care of by my very supportive mother and maternal aunt.
I feel none can tutor a child the steps to be independent!! It has to be demonstrated through actions. As children ourselves, along with my sisters Sonika and Minakshi, we were guided and motivated by a courageous and independent mother – Amita Bakshi. In each adversity we faced as a family, she was like a leader, designating duties of household chores and outside matters very easily to three of us. So being independent comes naturally to us. I remember, in my first battle with cancer, I took three chemo hospitalizations all by myself.
I am staunch believer of the power of mind. I believe you can get anything you set your eyes on with proper action and planning. When you do this, you are naturally positive as you see things falling in place! At the tender age of 2.5, my baby boy is observing and imbibing every positive thought, word, or action coming from me. Even now at his tender age he holds my hand tight when he sees the guy from the diagnostic centre coming to collect blood samples, I can hear the soft voice clear” Mumma, don’t be scared”. When I started losing hair as a side effect of chemo, I got bald in front him! And he was so accepting.
I have a twin sister and identical one. I believe she is my mother from past birth. She can move the world to keep me happy, energized and upbeat. My younger sister has become my friend after we spent hours together in the hospital. We three sisters share a very special bond, that has strengthened after encountering cancer. My mom and her sister are the primary caregivers to my baby, including me.
Despite all their painful emotions cropping out of my diagnosis, they never broke down before me. They have managed my home and baby meticulously. They spend free moments chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo (we follow the Buddhist philosophy of Nicherin Daishonin).
I have to say that my in-laws have also stood by me in every way possible! My mom in law chants Mahamritunjaya jaap everyday without fail! To be honest, this diagnosis brought Rahul (my husband) and me closer like never before. He has been my caretaker in hospital at night time and a punching bag too! In rough times we both realized how much we love each other and want to grow old together! On the other hand, the husbands of both my sisters (Samrat & Saurabh) have been there by my side ever since I got diagnosed.
And my friends and friends of friends have bowled me over by the amount of compassion, generosity and prayers they have been showering effortlessly on me.
When I was first diagnosed with cancer, like any other educated patient, I tried looking for hope and encouragement on the Internet. Ironically, what I found were dismal death statistics. It broke my heart! Imagine, with the toxic chemotherapy being pushed into your body, what you get to learn about is death? On the contrary, there are countless stories of marvellous victories over cancer hidden somewhere in a locality…some bylane! But I found no source that could bring those stories to the media and ensure that “cancer is conquerable”! There are scientific evidences that prove mind is more powerful than medicine. With heavy doses of motivation and inspiration, coupled with right medical care one can conquer cancer. Medical facts have proved it.”
Monika talks on starting a specific blog for cancer fighters, “When I found no motivation for myself, I vowed to CREATE it. That is when I decided to start my own website www.strongerthancancers.com that brings forth stories of victories over various cancers. Yes, working on my website gives me enormous amounts of good hormones, with a great feeling that I am not letting any cancer warrior fight his/her battle with a broken heart.
When I receive interview responses from these valiant warriors, and read through each answer, my heart pulsates with the feeling – YES! it is conquerable! Let’s tell the world through strong storytelling. I have a team of dedicated editors who work very hard to create a first hand experience through the responses that our warriors provide.”
Talking on what she misses since the diagnosis and treatment, Monika admits, “ I am a die hard foodie. I miss certain types of food I cannot eat anymore. I believe the rest that I miss is a normal life. A normal life that looked boring to me once looks beautiful!
Normal is beautiful. This is the learning cancer has given me. It has taught me to love myself and respect my body. It has also taught me that resentment, grievances or hatred of any kind should be out of your system. They are lethal.
In another 5 weeks, I am going for a life-saving Bone Marrow Transplant. I have found 100% match in my twin sister. What I now need is 20 lakh for the transplant. I want to continue living a long and healthy life as a cancer survival champion and pass on the baton of hope down the generations. If you wish to be a part of my survival story, you may send strong prayers and/or fund contribution (no amount is small – each amount means life to me). Please click this fundraiser link and contribute whatever you can with best wishes and love for me.”
We at Mums and stories wish Monika a speedy recovery and hope to be able to influence people to fund for her survival story. We also want to publish a happy story of complete recovery of this mum at the earliest.
Like, share and contribute for speedy recovery of Monika.