Saturday, 10 December 2011

There are Ups and Downs in life. Just the indicators of a true, normal life.

Everybody goes through hard times and some really good times. We must cherish every single moment that we are surrounded with smiles and happy thoughts in our good times. And bad times are there to tell us that we have had better moments and there are still better times that are waiting for us right around the corner.
The above said, it is very normal to have a bad phase and be miserable when you're going through it. Even when you're miserable, there is a strong person inside you. You are strong which is why you are the one who is able to tell the world that you are going through hard times. Most people would hide their weaknesses and never be able to share their fears. I feel the same way sometimes. I feel that there is so much pressure to be strong and motivate others with your strength that its shameful to feel bad for yourself. That doesn't help me and never gives me the positivity to help and motivate others. I guess it is alright to be nervous about your fears and concerns. I think its alright to share if sharing will comfort you.
What I am trying to say today is that every person should be able to express themselves irrespective or their faith or beliefs or society. Do not let people judge you in your hard times.
I always open up to everyone about my experience with cancer and it may make some feel that I am seeking sympathy, some feel that I am making a career out of it; still others who feel that I am more outspoken than I should be... given that I am a mother, a wife and a daughter from an Indian background. Today, I feel like I am in a dilemma. I have conflicting thoughts regarding my health decisions. I want to be able to share more and I have not found the right words or the resources to say more about how I feel and how would sharing my thoughts benefit me or others who I try to help or reach out to? I am as positive about my future as I could be and yet I know there are things that need to be taken care of. I thought that by sharing what I am going through, I should be able to tell people that its normal to be worried and to express that worry or concern.
I hope more people would speak their mind and try to find solutions for their concerns without thinking about what opinion others may have of them.
Still very positive... still the same...Shikha :)

Monday, 5 December 2011

Its December......

Hello friends,
We are in December and its getting chilly. Warm thoughts and warm wishes are always good during the cold winter season. It is Holiday Season where I live and all the malls are decked up. It feels great to see happy faces everywhere. Amongst these people I see everyday, there are faces of those who are currently going through Cancer or are helping others who are going through this damn disease and yet others who may be grieving or missing their loved ones.
My heart goes out to everyone who is going through this painful phase or has someone in their family or friends going through it.
When I look back and think of my time going through my diagnosis, treatment and the consequences thereafter, I always think that no matter how strong I was and how positive everyone around me has been; I still hope and wish for a world that is free of any kind of diseases. There is so much that can be done if each one of us pledges to remind another of the benefits of good health. We all treasure our friends and family and want to see them live longer, happier life. How many times has a conversation circled around the weather? This conversation could have been about annual physical check ups too!
We girls talk to our mothers about so many things, most often complaining about petty things in life. I wish we could just every now and then ask our mothers or aunts if they had gotten a mammogram done or if they were due for one now?
Its so easy to reach out to our loved ones. Why is it then so hard to get this to be a part of everyone's routine?
If you really love someone and want them to stick around longer, ask them - When did you last get your physical check up? Should I call your doctor to set up an appointment for you? Do you need a ride to the doctor's?

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

November is also awareness month everybody :)

Even though October's status has been updated to being the past month, our bodies have moved on to November and our minds are open to information and we hope to create more and more awareness throughout the year.

As long as we live, we must take care of our body and must strive for it to function well. A healthy body is a happy body!

Breast Cancer awareness around the world has been very good and responsive in the month of October and that is definitely a good sign. I had so much on my hand in October and I am aiming at having more and more to do in November 2011. I know that I am giving away stuff for auction so that the money generated can help the uninsured and underinsured popultaion. I am also speaking at an African American Health Fair this month. I am so happy to see that there has been a lot of activity in India this past month! I feel proud that young doctors are taking resposibility for a better and healthier India.

On this happy note, let me leave you with a question that you need to ask your mother, wife or friends.... when did they last discuss their Breast Health with a doctor?

Also, Early Detection is your best protection!!!

Keep healthy,

Shikha :)

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Exercise - Lets Move!!

There are so many things that are essential for our body and we all know the importance of exercising, then why do we keep putting it off? Is it the word itself that makes us so tired just thinking of it?
We are Dads, moms, daughters, sons....we are busy with office, home, school. But why are we so busy? We are trying to make a career, make money so we can all live comfortable lives. How can one be so sure of comfort when the body inside is facing discomforts such as stress, obesity, high blood pressure or cancer?I always hear doctors say that Exercise is as essential for our body and health as food or water. But exercising does not mean heavy weight lifting or running a marathon. Taking a 30 minute walk around the block is counted as exercise. Dancing and moving around is exercise too. Exercise could be as hard or as easy as you make it.
First lady of United States of America, Michelle Obama quotes, "We are living in a time where we just don't have enough time. People are rushed. They're over worked, over scheduled. Not enough resources. ...But the thing that I want people to understand in this campaign is that families can make small manageable changes in their lives that can have pretty significant impacts." –Let's Move live web chat, 7/13/2010
We can do so much for our body by changing our habits that lead to lazy behaviour.
Get up...get going. It can save your life. :)

Friday, 7 October 2011

Why now?

I have been asked this a lot of times ever since I started working on spreading awareness about Breast Cancer and started lending a hand to all non-profit organizations that I work with; that "WHY NOW?" . And I am sure I will be asked this question again a lot of times in the future as well, since I wish to do my Masters in Health Communication and make a career out of my passion.

I feel that I am very good at public speaking. I have great communication skills and I am very social and like to reach out to people. I guess I would have applied those skills somewhere if not towards spreading awareness on this particular cause. I am very proud to say that I went through my Breast Cancer treatment with a positive attitude. I fought like a warrior. I did whatever I could to stay alive and help my family by being here, and not on the other side. Unlike some who choose to stay quiet about their illness, I chose to do something about it. Some people are proud of what they see and others tell me to keep it hush hush. Some say that I have another reason now to participate in social gatherings. I do! And I deserve to! I am one of the very few South Asian people who have a voice and I am not afraid to use it. If everyone went about their treatment staying quiet, where will the awareness come from? Where will you find survivor stories from people like you? These are real life incidents and can happen to anyone. Who will prepare you and support you when you have to face something like this?

It is people like me who have had a first hand experience with this disease who can talk about it. Once you go through it, you know whats it is like.
I pause to think about people with a weak or a sensitive heart who face hardships during their time in treatment. Some people are not comfortable to open up about their conditions, their suffereings, their stories. I respect their privacy. They are survivors too.

But when I see people die without proper treatment, or misdiagnosis or ignorance; I am not going to stay quiet.

So, to people who ask me, "WHY NOW?"...I should ask them: "WHY NOT?".

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


It is October and the world is celebrating Breast Cancer awareness month. There are pink decorations, cup cakes, donuts in pink ribbon shapes everywhere. People are wearing pink bands, pink pins, pink head gears and I myself went around the town putting up pink ribbons in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month. There are so many products that are packaged in pink boxes or are sold in pink color, the proceeds of which benefit some or the other non-profit organization.
One of my friends told me that they were asked to wear pink on the first working day of October and everyone was very supportive and did accessorize with pink jewelry or wore pink outfits. Their office was all about pink. They ordered a pink icing cake and gave away pink goodies. My questions to her were, "Did you discuss why you were doing all this? Was there a speech about the awareness on breast cancer? Did you learn about where the proceeds from such fundraisers go? Do you know what kind of research are people doing with the money they raise? Do you know what is Breast Cancer? Do you know how to do a self exam and have ou ever done one on yourself?". The answer, as I had expected it to be, was "NO".
How do people help in spreading awareness about breast cancer by just dressing up in pink or by purchasing pink products or chewing a gum in a pink packaging, the proceeds of which will benefit a reserach program that they have no idea what its all about? How do you support the cause, when you are a part of why we need this awareness?
There have been so many supporters to my cause. There are so many people who cheer me up or tell me how proud they are that I am so positive and survived this disease with a brave heart. I can actually count how many or how few of these people, family and friends, have actually done their own breast exams or gotten a mamogram after the age of 40. It is shocking that people who motivate me in what I do to spread a word about breast cancer have not yet learned why I am actually doing this. It saddens me to know that my very close friends and relatives who have all the means to get their regular health exams fail to do so. Is it because they are too lazy or scared of what they will learn about their health. If they are so scared now, then what will they do when they are actually faced with something that they fear happens to them?
I feel like I want to shake these people, open up their mind and shout in their ears!! Wake up!!
Yes, its October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but what are you doing to make sure that this is not a month that you want to support because you or you family member/friend is going through it. Leave apart October and the cause attached to it, how about just a regular physical exam?
Stay in tune with your body. One life, one body - Respect it and Love it!! Its your own!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Impotance of Vit D in fighting cancer

Vitamin D plays a very crucial role in the body's immunity. Presently, significant number of trials are going on, evaluating the role of Vitamin D in cancers, especially breast cancer, pancreas cancer etc. Over last few decades, life style has changed, professions have become more indoor based, and there is lack of adequate exposure to sun, resulting in a decreased synthesis of Vit D by the body. It's not that Vit D will prevent cancer, but it plays a vital role in our body's immunity which can fight cancer.
According to a recent symposium on Vitamin D and breast cancer in London, (Carole Baggerly, Cedric Garland) it is advisable to maintain the level of vitamin D in the serum to 100 - 150 nmol/ml (40 to 60 ng/ml).
I got the Vit D levels of all my family members, and all of them were on the lower side of normal. I would suggest to the readers of this blog to consider getting their Vit D3 levels as also Vit B12 levels (for those who are pure vegetarians).
And to put forth the old saying, 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away". There is so much truth in that. It's not about the apple, but fruits in general. We must ensure a daily intake of fruits, especially citrus fruits.   

Plans for October

October is approaching, and this time around, intend to put in some more effort along with some non governmental organizations to promote breast cancer awareness and adopting a healthy life style.
There is so much misconception amongst the lay man about cancer treatment, that many of them, even in cities, go for outright alternate therapies, and come to an oncologist, only when the tumour is fairly advanced. This cycle needs to be broken and I only hope to see more ladies getting detected in stage 1 of breast cancer

Thursday, 1 September 2011


Oktoberfest is one the biggest celebrations in Germany. But for me, October has a special relevance apart from being my birthday month. This month has been dedicated world over to Breast Cancer awareness. Being a survivor, this cause is very close to my heart. I wish that someday the impediments of fear, narrow-mindedness and ignorance can be removed from the process of learning more about this disease. And this may afterall not be a disease one day.
To all the people that will someday follow this blog and will openly express themselves here with concerns, fears and thoughts, I am happy that this is a place that has been created thinking futuristically about the awareness it will create for many in India and abroad.
Hope that my notes always find everyone in good health,

Monday, 29 August 2011


Welcome to the Breast Cancer India Blog. The intention of this blog is to share all recent info on breast cancer as well as experiences; and anything under the sun related to breast cancer. We have a team of dedicated bloggers, who will be regularly updating. If anyone is interested in joining to help us in the blog, do please let me know.