By Anita Kumar
It was not the first but the third tumour that shook the very ground I stood on. Floods of memories were revived of my grandmother’s suffering as the cancer consumed her together with my paternal aunt’s that besieged her stomach eventually taking residence there before the cells proliferated and permeated every other organ. My father passed away the same way: cancer.
I was determined to live and that I realise today was a prerequisite to my recovery. I was 46, still had a life force in me and an enthusiastic to-do list.
After my second tumour, I visited a nutritionist who made me more aware of what foods had an acidic effect on my body, and I learnt to avoid them as far as possible. For an entire year, I only ate foods that were low in fat and were essentially alkaline. My body was still recovering from the fatigue of 32 radiation sessions. My eyes revealed the struggle to keep my body and soul together but my spirit was determined to arrive at a place of zest and zeal for life after virtually being at death’s door.
After consuming my organic green juice, I would go for an hour-long walk and even incorporated pranayama into my routine of recovery. I drank six to eight glasses of water. The long and short of it is that I lived by the book of healthy living; physically, that is.
Then came the third tumour. Just when I thought I had figured out an indisputable mixture to cure any further threats, life cast a shadow on my hopes.
At a social gathering, I happened to meet a holistic doctor who asked, “What are you carrying besides the cancer cells that you haven’t yet released? Let go Anita.” He advised: “Kill them before they kill you. Life is precious and not worth holding onto the weight of your resentment or anger or whatever else you are carrying in terms of your emotion.”
I wasn’t even aware that I was carrying such heavy baggage. I had indeed achieved happiness outwardly in my life after years of unhappiness but clearly I was walking through life with the weight that I should have dropped.
It is all about the inside out and when we allow ourselves to embrace the wisdom behind our illness then we are in a position to arduously work on healing our soul that impacts our physical body. Wisdom married to knowledge can often remove the power the cancer has over us.
Though I have a strong spiritual streak in me, I have never been a meditator. I began sitting in silence in the ease of my living room, shutting my eyes and visualising those who had deeply and irrevocably hurt me. I did this regularly to forgive them as I asked for forgiveness for the hurt I may have inadvertently caused them. I would then cut the cord and release them from my system with love and light.
This was a lengthy process as it had been years of hoarding onto emotions that no longer served me. In effect these hoarded emotions were disrupting my bio-chemistry throwing my system out of balance.
I listened to innumerable podcasts on self love and healing the past. Affirmations and positive self-talk became part of my healing process. Our cells respond to our words spoken and unspoken besides responding to our emotions.
Merely saying, “I am healthy and happy” is not enough but rather proactively matching our actions to our words is what brings about an enduring change.
All women are creative so learning what makes us an individual is an essential part of our personal and spiritual growth. I have been teaching calligraphy for over three decades but once I was struck with cancer, my focus shifted from my creativity to my condition. It was only when I was reminded that we are not our illness – it is not something I owned and it was an unwanted visitor – that I disallowed it to distract me from my real purpose.
Detoxifying our body is merely a fraction of the process; detoxifying the mind and heart is equally indispensable. I have battled with cancer three times in my life and I have no guarantees for the future but what I can ascertain is that I no longer hand over my power to cancer.
I have made a paradigm shift in my attitude towards myself taking absolute responsibility for my every negative thought, word and action. At the point when negative emotions settle within me I make a positive shift soon after. I consume thoughts and ideas that nourish me to enable me to flourish.
Anita Kumar is an author and entrepreneur. First published in eShe’s March 2020 issue
Also read: Why More Women Have Cancer Than Men in India