Monica Gulati (Bladder cancer): “How cancer taught me to live”

Monica Gulati

I had finished a Ph.D. in NeuroImmunology from the University of Zurich in 2009. For some reason, I decided to quit Science right after Ph.D. During my research in Autoimmune diseases like Myasthenia Gravis and Multiple Sclerosis, I felt as if I would never be able to come close to a cure for these Autoimmune conditions just by Science. I felt the need for a perspective on the mental and emotional aspect of the patients as well, and only then a holistic integral approach could be planned.

I came back to India to be with my parents and began working with an organization that was dealing with college students and there I tried to bring actualization in them to live a true life. That work somehow resonated deeply with me. In 2010 I found my partner Lokesh and felt deeply connected with him for some reason. We then married in May of 2010.

Post-marriage, I started restricting myself to a limited role of being a daughter in law or a wife, thus overlooking my purpose of life. I realized that this was not my true identity. It felt like I was adjusting myself into a tight-fit shirt and wondering the roots of discomfort emanating. I became aware of all of these invisible incidences after I got diagnosed with cancer and this is when I discerned the importance of life.

And that is why I believe, Cancer came as a friend to me, bringing light in my life, in disguise. In 2014, after the birth of our second child, I was diagnosed with a Stage I Cancer of Urinary Bladder.

It started with a bit of bleeding in my urine. Since the bleeding used to clear itself after a couple of urines and was completely painless, I thought it to be UTI. But it wasn’t. In the beginning phases, it used to happen occasionally. But I got worried when the frequency increased to once and sometimes twice a week. I did an ultrasound and it revealed that there was some abnormal cell growth in my urinary bladder.

monica gulati

The Sonologist suspected something sinister going on in my bladder. And then I went to a Urologist, who agreed with the opinion of the Sonologist and pointed out the abnormal growth in the bladder.

I was suggested TURBT, a surgery to remove the tumors from the bladder. My world came to a standstill. The whole world and its activities did not matter. My attention turned completely within. Somehow my mind became extremely vigilant. I somehow had a forfeit that these were my emotions which had led to this concoction which was manifesting now as Cancer.

It was as if I was getting a practical demonstration of the thought at which I finished my Ph.D. “Thoughts and emotions are the ones that influence the body and an impaired balance manifests in the body as a disease or as a symptom” Now I had a very intimate experiment to fiddle around with.

Very soon, I found a mentor who helped me detox emotionally and mentored me to clear my mental and emotional prisons. I had put my surgery on hold for these 3 months in which I was taking once a week session with my mentor. After 3 months, I busted fear out of my system, and I was ready to face whatever was in a store for me, with gratitude. I underwent the surgery and then had a standard follow-up treatment of BCG instillations in the bladder for about 5 months. Because of the mental state that I was in, I was able to make peace with my existing circumstances thus being calm and composed than ever before. And, now I am very much grateful for the life I have and want to make it to the fullest.

There were painful phases during the treatment, but luckily with the support of the whole family and my new found faith in the universe, all was just a matter of time.

I am thankful that cancer happened to me. It woke me up to my essence, to my inner being. It opened me up to the love that generally waits to be unmasked within all of us. It gave a shattering blow to my ego and grounded me in faith for the universe and its creation. The Universe is not against us, rather it is for us, whatever happens in life is nothing but a signal to move deeper and closer to our true self.

If cancer would not have happened, I would have spent a lifetime fitting into those little roles, too constricted to contain the divinity, the spark of light that we all are. However, now since I have known the truth, I can do justice to any role that I play in this life.

I feel I was living with an even more serious illness than cancer. I was hardly living a richer and fuller life. But now, I cherish each day as it comes and I do not worry much about the future about-to-happen-occurrences, suffocating myself in the present.

I feel there is a strong faith that has emerged as a result of cancer, that if the Universe puts me on a path, it would make sure that I am taken care of. At the same time, it is not a passive state of living. I engage myself in works that deeply touch me, and evolve me, keep me closer to my essence. It could be anything. I consider the only ‘Swadharma’ is being in touch with the light that we are gifted with and rest all of it is secondary. Even cancer or remission then is secondary.

I have developed a strong deep connection with Kabir, an intuitive connection with the Dohas, with his songs from the folk oral traditions. I now run a Kabir Circle in my community, where we sing and discuss dohas and songs and relate them to our daily lives and share our experiences. I am also deeply associated with Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, which gives inspiration to me and gives food to my soul.

Whatever I engage myself in, I make sure that it is one with my whole being and I am not shredded into pieces while doing anything. And this is what cancer has gifted it to me.

monica gulati

I wonder how this tail of a dog that I was (maybe still am), would have ever straightened up if I did not have the noose of cancer hanging over my head.

There is a belief that the difficulty we are gifted with, brings light in disguise. It may be a difficult person, a difficult family, or a difficult situation. The role of the Universe is to get in touch with our light and for that, different situations are created, which we start to label as good or bad. In true sense, they are neither good nor bad, their only motive is to help us recognize that light.

Lastly, I would like to share some books that helped me during my journey:

Anita Moorjani- Dying to be me
Dr. Newton Kondaveti- Consciousness Heals
Stuart Wilde- Infinite Self
Brandon Bays- The Journey
Sri Aurobindo and the Mother- Integral Healing

I feel grateful to all the mentors and Gurus I met on this path and seekers that I have been blessed to connect with.

Since 2016 I am healthy : mentally, emotionally and physically. And now I feel, my life has just begun.