Sunday, March 16, 2014


Fighting Cancer. 
A spunky student's tale.


“I want to fight my battle with cancer in such a way that each and every one around me would become so envious and silently wish ‘this is what I would do if I had the same disease’.” Does it sound like the words of a philosopher or a saint? If yes, you are mistaken. These are the words of Chandni G. Nair, a third year diploma student at the Government Polytechnic, Pala.

Commonly perceived as the killer-disease, cancer has breathed new life into Chandni’s otherwise introvert soul. She had been a silent yet active girl during her school days. She participated in various competitions held as part of the school youth festivals including Thiruvathira Kali, Margam Kali etc.
Things took an entirely different turn when she was in the second year of college.

What would sound like a night mare in any person’s life had happened to her too. She was diagnosed with cancer. The initial days were that of despair both for her and the family. The intense chemo therapy and radiation sessions were draining the life out of her. She felt sick in the stomach and had extremely painful head aches every now and then. She felt as if the world around her was falling apart. She says, “I did not want to eat anything and at times even wished that I would die instead of having to bear the gruesome pain.”

To add to the suffering, Alopecia slowly set in. It is a medical condition where the patient loses most of the hair due to the chemotherapy and radiation sessions. Unlike many others who would slip into depression owing to the trauma that hair loss would cause in a society like India, she put up a brave face. She hoped that the better things were yet to come.

Her already financially-overburdened middle class family was too poor to afford a wig for her. When she finally got one through the ‘Hair for hope’ hair donation campaign, she was ready to donate it to another much-deserving patient. “It was okay for me to go out with my short hair inspite of the constant stares and suspicious glances in the bus or on the road. But there are others who lock themselves up in a room because they cannot face the crowd without their hair. I had a feeling that my wig should go to a much more deserving person than me,” she notes.


The troubles had not really ceased as her health condition deteriorated like never before. She was admitted in a critical condition to the Carithas Hospital, Kottayam. The days in the Intensive Care Unit and the frequent visits to the cancer ward after her discharge showed an entirely new facet of life to her. She saw the suffering of the young children who were too young to know anything but cry and the old people who were barely sane. She saw people who were abandoned by friends and family just because they were affected by a chronic disease. She realised that the world has so much pain and grief in it and her suffering was merely a drop in the ocean.

The counselling sessions as part of her treatment were showing positive signs. She made new friends and things started slowly getting back to normal. The treatment days gave her plenty of time to read books and turned her to a writer. Now, she looks forward to publishing her life book of experiences. Her little group of friends visit the pain and palliative care unit of Carithas Hospital once or twice in a week.

She wants to do whatever little service she can do to help the needy. Also, she acts in an album that is being produced by the students of her college and dreams of making a documentary on cancer patients. During free time, she makes artificial jewellery for sale. Her diploma in computer science engineering has secured her a job in an IT firm in Kochi.

Fighting the ordeal, she has learned to shed the introvert self in her and come out in the open to inspire others with her story. She says,“There are so many people who lose everything just because of this disease. I feel that it is our duty to help them. A healing touch, a consoling hug or even mere presence would mean a lot to the suffering people.” “I sing. I dance. I read. I write. I act. I have a job. I have a family. The disease has helped me discover my real passion. The life which would have ended up in the coccoon of a cozy life is now chasing dreams. I love me.” she adds.
This article was featured in the news website The News Minute
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