Anchal Sharma reacted to her diagnosis of breast cancer by making the decision to fight it mentally and physically. Read about why she believes a positive attitude is important to staying healthy, and what prompted her to start an initiative to feed the poor.
Being in the real estate sector, I had a very active life. I juggled a hectic work schedule with my daily fitness regimen effectively. Everything was good, as I was living the way I wanted to.
But one day, I examined my own body and noticed some unusual symptoms that scared me. Since I’m aware about breast cancer and know it’s common in women, I decided to get a check-up. That’s when I was handed my diagnosis.
Decided to keep it a secret from my relatives
My immediate reaction was to request my parents not to tell my relatives that I had breast cancer. I wanted to keep this a secret. If you’re wondering why, let me tell you. The answer is simple: I wanted to protect myself from the attention and pity.
Despite their good intentions, at times people end up discouraging others who are ill. Though sympathy is good, too much of it makes the situation worse. In my case, I wanted to avoid this at any cost.
Decided to beat cancer at its own game
But otherwise, I took my cancer diagnosis in my stride. I told myself that I have no choice but to fight the disease, so why not do it with a positive frame of mind. It made no sense to sit at home and cry about it.
Instead, I decided to treat it like a case of typhoid, that people mostly survive.
The mind is very powerful. It can move mountains, and help you accomplish what’s seems impossible. But, if you think negatively, your mind can pull you down too. It can hinder your recovery, or the accomplishment of your goals. Pessimism is our worst enemy.
I still wear my smile
I refuse to live like I’m a cancer patient. My life carries on just the way it always has. I like to dress up well, wear my make-up, and my smile.
And I’m as independent as ever, so much that I even go for my check-ups alone. The doctors are amazed at my attitude!
Working out helps me feel good
My doctors suggested I stop working out at a gym. But I refuse to do that, since I’m crazy about my workouts. They make me feel so good.
In fact, my workout routine hasn’t altered much. Only, I avoid upper body exercises now. But I still make the most of my gym visits: I perform lower squats, extensions, leg curls and even do cardiovascular exercises (TM, cross trainer, zero runner, stepper, etc)sometimes.
As far as my food and eating is concerned, the major change I’ve made is to stick to home cooked foods, fruit and vegetables juices, and dairy products like buttermilk.
I’ve made my own medical decisions
From the time of my diagnosis, I’ve been an active participant in all my treatment decisions. Instead of opting for a regular chemotherapy procedure that involves a cannula and IV meds, I decided to get a chemo port inserted.
This is a device that’s been surgically inserted in my left collar, in order for chemotherapy to be carried out. So, I can be on my feet sooner after chemo appointments.
Another decision I made recently, was to shave all my hair off. I decided that since I was going to lose my hair due to chemo anyway, I may as well cut it off myself.
Taking things into my own hands gives me comfort, and a sense of control. Why let my cancer control me?
Started an NGO after being diagnosed
My perspective towards life changed slowly after I was diagnosed. Now every time I see the poor and underprivileged, my heart cries for them.
So, I started an initiative that serves nutritious meals to needy people. Called “Meals of Happiness” this is my way of helping others in need.