Life has an uncanny way of challenging us when we least expect it, putting our resilience and strength to the test. In the case of Dr Junia Deborah, an assistant professor hailing from Pondicherry, her journey as a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor is one filled with determination, courage, and an unwavering spirit. Despite enduring significant hardships and setbacks, Dr Deborah emerged victorious from her battle with cancer. Now, she aims to inspire and support others in their journeys towards healing and hope.
The Diagnosis and Treatment:
In 2013, Dr Junia Deborah began experiencing concerning symptoms, such as a loss of appetite. Recognizing that something was amiss, she sought medical advice and was devastated to receive a stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosis. Determined to fight the disease head-on, she sought treatment at a private hospital in Vellore, enduring immense pain and emotional strain on herself and her family, who had already suffered the loss of a younger sister.
After completing her initial treatment, Dr Deborah resumed her normal life, hoping to put the cancer behind her. However, just a year later, she began experiencing similar symptoms, which led to the disheartening news of a relapse—a rare occurrence in classic Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cases. This time, doctors recommended a high-dose chemotherapy regimen and suggested she undergo stem cell therapy.
Stem Cell Therapy and Resilience:
Stem cell therapy presented its own challenges for Dr Deborah. Finding a compatible donor from her siblings was not an option as an only child. Nevertheless, her medical team’s unwavering support and encouragement bolstered her spirits. To her surprise, it was discovered that her body yielded abundant stem cells, providing her with renewed hope and strength. In December 2015, she underwent a successful stem cell transplant, and within 18 days, her cells showed remarkable growth and returned to normal levels. This reaffirmed the power of confidence and the body’s resilience in the face of adversity.
The Journey Continues:
Following her treatment, Dr Deborah remained vigilant with regular check-ups and underwent radiation therapy. Despite facing a new challenge when a car accident caused severe head injuries, she maintained her faith and returned to the hospital where she had been treated, ensuring she received the best possible care. Grateful for her second chance at life, she embarked on a path of personal growth, pursuing a PhD and enrolling in a counselling course at CMC.
Using her experience as a catalyst for change, Dr Deborah began counselling and supporting fellow cancer patients, instilling hope, courage, and the will to fight. She became a beacon of inspiration, guiding numerous individuals through their own battles, offering them solace, and accompanying them to hospitals. Her dedication to empowering others and sharing her story has been instrumental in their healing journeys.
Lifestyle changes :
Dr Junia Deborah serves as an assistant professor, teaching and inspiring her students at a private college. Her resilience and unwavering spirit continue to motivate those around her, as her students actively participate in accompanying her on visits to patients. Through her personal lifestyle changes, such as adopting a natural diet and avoiding junk food, she advocates for the importance of physical and mental well-being. She follows regular checkups with a healthy diet to impact her healthy physical and mental well-being.
Message to cancer patients and caregivers :
Dr Deborah’s remarkable journey serves as a reminder that cancer is not an obstacle. With courage, determination, and a supportive network, individuals can rise above their circumstances, embracing life with renewed hope. Her message to cancer patients and caregivers alike is to face the odds with unwavering bravery, maintain a positive mindset, adopt a healthy lifestyle, and support one another throughout the journey by guiding and supporting them in their cancer journey.
In Dr Junia Deborah, we find an extraordinary survivor, an empathetic counsellor, and a positive spirit. Her story echoes the power of resilience, inspiring hope in all those who face their own battles with cancer.