Meet Deepa Harish Punjabi. A free-spirited and fun-loving homemaker who has enough energy to gobble up the Sun fives times over. And she has defeated Cancer. Sounds like a superhuman, doesn’t she? Well, she is.
Having found a lump in one of her breasts in June 2015, Deepa’s world came crashing down. After a lot of scrutiny, doctors declared that she had Breast Cancer. The first question that came in her mind after the diagnosis was “Why me?” What did she do wrong that fate had decided to devoid her of her family? Terrifying thoughts of her life ending followed, not to mention the unstoppable and unforgiving fear.
It was at that time that Deepa’s angels came to lift her. Deepa’s husband and her sisters proved to be her worthy saviours. They gave her motivation, inspired her and filled her with the energy that she so eloquently displays today. In the faces of her family, she found the power to go on and in their helping hands a message from God. Deepa lifted herself again and realised she needed to focus on facing the situation courageously both for herself and her family. She got her surgery done while wearing lipstick and kajal, so her husband and son don’t think she has been broken by Cancer. Even though she was pretty scared from within, she maintained a solid facade for her family and everyone who believed in her.
After undergoing Chemotherapy, our brave phoenix lost her beautiful locks of hair and felt her family would see her in a different light. But her children and husband took her new appearance very positively and helped her regain her confidence. Her caregivers stood by her at all times not letting the disease cloud their vision and focused on helping Deepa in her healing journey. Her family’s confidence helped Deepa to conquer this horrific disease and come out unscathed from her long and painful healing journey. She returned to her family as a healed and headstrong individual who couldn’t contain her happiness for having returned home after a long and bloody war.
Unfortunately, Cancer knocked on her door once again. However this time she was ready and pumped with motivation. Looking at her seven-year-old daughter she resolved to defeat Cancer again, and after 25 gruesome sittings of radiation, she emerged victoriously. Each day of radiation, she would send a selfie with a beaming smile to her sisters so they knew she would be back again from the precipice.
Along the healing journey, Deepa learned a lot about herself and the disease bent on taking her away from her family. Her mindset changed completely, and today she stands with her head held high and as an example for people like her. In Deepa’s words, “You should grow through what you go through.” With faith in Saibaba and her loved ones, Deepa emerged healthily and so can you.
As we all know recovery is not easy, and neither is fighting with the aftereffects of a disease like Cancer. What separates Deepa from everyone else is that she struggled through the loss of her hair and confidence, the metallic aftertaste of chemo, and several other hardships by never losing faith. She held hope close to her heart and went through the healing process with all her might. She kept her head cool, and her attitude positive; which was very difficult. But hey, so is life.
With her willpower getting shaken by each oncoming attack of the disease -weakness, chronic constipation, nausea- she held up her defences and responded in kind. Deepa stood strong for although Cancer had taken away her sleep and peace, she didn’t want the same to happen to her children and family. She didn’t want the love of her life to see her weak, and so she did the one thing she could do: smile in the face of adversity. One prime example is Deepa going alone for the Chemotherapy because she didn’t want her family to see that side of her. She took it as a challenge of her own and faced it alone, shielding her family from her pain. Such was her courage and her vigour.
When asked about her story Deepa relayed, “I think sharing my story with people and telling them what I lived through is a good message. I am on medication, and at times I feel petrified and nervous, but the magical practice of Buddhism is keeping me healthy and positive. I am breaking my negative health karma through this divine practice, and polishing and transforming my life. Cancer has forced me to understand that I have to focus on self-care and start thinking about myself. Live life to the fullest and happily ever after. My sisters and family kept encouraging me and supporting me in every way even though I wanted to quit. I emerged from my hardships believing in myself. My time is here, and I will never give up.”