Appearance in Ulta Beauty BRCF fund raising commercial

I am pleased to share that I had the amazing opportunity to participate in this ad.


Messing with the wrong person?

I read the heart breaking news of Julia Louis-Dreyfus being diagnosed with Breast Cancer yesterday. She has a special place in my heart as “Elaine” of Seinfeld. I loved her character and her candid ways. I was upset to read her announcement about being diagnosed and really hope that she goes into remission soon.

She said on twitter ”

One in eight women get breast cancer, today I am the one”

So happy to see the outpouring of support for her. However what is even more upsetting is the pressure that is starting to mount on her.  Apparently “cancer doesn’t know who its messing with!”
Well here is the reality, just as breast cancer happens to people without a clear reason, through no fault of theirs, it doesn’t go away because it suddenly realized that it was “messing with the wrong person!”
Yes cancer, please look for really weak, emotionally dead and frail people to attack because you need to pick the right people. Do you realize how dumb this sounds?
The truth is that cancer does not discriminate. It happens to all ages, all genders and to rich and famous and regular people alike. I love the anthems of inspiration and the encouragement to fight but I don’t know if folks ever consider the pressure these expectations put on the person diagnosed?
John McCain who is a hero in every sense of the word, is being cheered on to beat Glioblastoma of the brain , one of the most aggressive and mean cancers out there. Look, people don’t have the power to beat cancer. All they can do is maintain peace with the diagnosis, go through treatments, cope with the horrendous side effects and hope for the best. The internally resilient cope better with the let downs that come with cancer but it does not mean that they are exceptionally qualified to “beat” cancer.
We as a society need to realize the limitations that exist in cancer treatment. There are cancers that cannot be cured. Oncologists some times are just life extenders. Modern medicine has no cure for stage four breast cancers. It is ironic that Stage 0-3 of breast cancer are in the category of warriors who will beat cancer and the Stage 4 metastatic group who is likely to succumb to the disease is considered not worthy of being the cancer poster child even though it is the group that will suffer most at the hands of cancer. And don’t I know the suffering I have endured in the last four years!  I am a physician and a psychiatrist, if there were secrets to beating cancer, believe me I would know. But there aren’t. We know of risk factors and mitigating factors but no recipe for complete success.
As a society we have gotten very confused about how to support cancer patients. We make cancer about the person who is suffering from this disease. That somehow this person has some magical personality characteristics which allows them to be that one person who defies numbers and statistics and medical data. Yes there are exceptions and super survivors who live beyond the averages. Studies are being done to find how.

I truly do understand we are people not numbers but let’s not put the burden of an outcome on the patient. When was the last time we as society forced a diabetic to beat their disease and become a non diabetic warrior? We channel our fears of cancer killing our loved ones into transforming them as magical heroes beyond ourselves so the fear of losing them abates a bit. We all know heroes win, so it necessary emotionally to make them different and superhuman.
I often am told myself, “If anyone can, you can (beat cancer)”, I feel flattered by the conviction of my friends and followers but tell you a secret, I have nothing extra to put myself into remission than another breast cancer patient. I don’t think that the 113 women, who die of metastatic cancer every day, were less of “fighters” than I.

Cancer is a vicious disease and one can stand tall in the face of it with conviction and resilience but the outcome is the draw of luck and to a certain extent, good and timely treatment.
We still don’t know for sure, why cancer recurs after many years of dormancy. There are theories and studies but none point out that it was because it was messing with the “wrong” person.
We all conclude based on our faith and personality, why we were spared by cancer or not but let’s move away from putting the pressure on the survivor to somehow change the course of a disease that they have no control over. Someday, we will know more.

Let’s support those diagnosed with cancer with love and listening. Let’s cheer them through their treatments and keep their hopes alive with encouragement but let’s not set them up to be responsible for what is so beyond their control. Cancer is an unfair fight to begin with. Let’s not out more pressure on an already burdened souls. Some succumb to cancer and some don’t. That is life, raw and honest.

14 things women with MBC want you to know!

Metastatic breast cancer is an ongoing struggle
A lot of people don’t realize that treatment for stage 4 breast cancer never ends. “I often get asked how many rounds of chemotherapy or infusions I have left, but the truth is there’s no endpoint,” says Uzma Yunus, a psychiatrist who has stage 4 breast cancer that’s spread to her liver and skull. “I will be on a medication until it stops working, and then I’ll look for the next agent that might help.”

Lemonade with Vodka

Sept 23, 2017

So I start cycle #3 of Xeloda today. Unfortunately I woke up to the news of my Facebook friend with liver metastasis not responding to Xeloda and over last fifteen days ending up in hospice.I wish her an easy transition.This is what I live with emotionally.

That it could all be over in two weeks. I try to look at others who have responded and doing well. But it’s hard to turn the fears off. 

The second cycle was rough and my appetite has taken a nose dive. I can no longer tolerate desi food and spices. My hand and feet did take a hit and for the most part of last week , walking felt like walking bare feet on dry grass.

I no longer walk barefoot at home but wear padded slippers. 

Of course, none of this takes me down and I have lots of exciting things lined up for October.

I keep making the lemonade and at times add a little vodka to it.

Scans will be after cycle four.

Fingers crossed.

Cards keep coming. Thank you for the love and support!