About the Healing Circle
The Healing Circle at Love Heals Cancer and ZeonOnco.io aim to give cancer patients, caregivers, and winners a safe space to share their feelings or experiences. This circle is built on the foundation of kindness and respect. It is a sacred space where everyone listens with compassion and treats each other with honour. All the stories are confidential, and we believe that we have the guidance we need within us, and we rely on the power of silence to access it.
About the speaker
This is the Cancer Healing Journey of Poornima Sardana. She went through Ovarian Cancer, Endometrial Carcinoma. She initially had pain around menstruation because of the ovarian cyst that kept growing and turned out to be cancerous. She underwent chemotherapy, and the treatment was primarily allopathic. She always looked at the positive side and tried to find the next step during this journey. Her optimistic attitude, treatment, and the precautions taken by her had helped her defeat cancer. Poornima says, “caregivers are also warriors, and she feels gratitude for them as they suffer a lot during this journey”. She has successfully overcome Ovarian Cancer and has now adopted a more natural pace in her life.
Poornima Sardana’s journey
Symptoms and diagnosis
I got my diagnosis report in late 2018. I had a lot of pain and had digestive issues. First, doctors thought it was IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome). I had laparoscopic surgery. Like most people, I least expected it. Thanks to the biopsy of the tumour, I found out that I had ovarian cancer. I had to go through another surgery followed by chemotherapy. I carried out my initial treatment in Meerut. Then I moved to Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute in New Delhi for my second surgery and chemotherapy. I adhered to what my doctors asked me to do. I did a few things to make things easier for me. For instance, I adopted a rice-based diet. I personally found that rice was easier to digest as compared to wheat. I also avoided spicy food. I included a lot of fruits and fruit juices like orange juice, coconut water, nuts and seeds in my diet. Generally, you are told to avoid fruits and salad because of hygiene issues and getting an infection. But if you can clean them properly, you can have them. It worked for me, and I had a lot of fruit. I chose a healthy lifestyle and started doing exercise. I became pretty active after chemotherapy. I began to get enough sleep regularly.
The initial reaction of my family and me
I belong to a doctor’s family. My mother’s friend performed the biopsy. I didn’t know much about the results when she told me the results. I searched the internet to learn about it. I realised that the internet is the worst place to look for answers. When I told my father, he became upset, and my brother panicked. Seeing my family, I decided to stay strong. I made up my mind to expel cancer out of my mind. After chemo, I felt that I have gone through something big. Before this, I didn’t have time to reflect on the ongoing things.
Coping emotionally and physically
I read books and poems. My friends helped me a lot. People were with me but couldn’t relate to what I was going through. I made my connections to find the people who understood what I was going through. I leaned on them and didn’t feel alone anymore.
I started doing yoga to deal with side effects like back pain, leg pain, etc. When the doctor suggested it to me, I began to have faith in yoga. I stopped my sugar intake. I drank a lot of pomegranate and celery juices. I also took health supplements for my liver. I bought special shoes to help with weak legs after the surgery.
Change in outlook
I started to live healthily due to my illness. But during the lockdown, I reverted to my old lifestyle. I began to eat a lot of sugar. I even put on some weight. Earlier, I adopted a healthy lifestyle to fight cancer. I wanted to cure my illness. My folks got a lot of hope and strength from my attitude and behaviour. Then, I got back on track to living healthily. But this time, it’s not out of fear or anger. I am doing it because of passion. I love my body and want to be good to my body. I want to be healthy and happy. This time, changes are easy and visible quicker than the last time. So, my change in attitude has had an enormous impact.
I didn’t change overnight. I thought I would become full of gratitude and love. But I have become reflective. I started to think about life in an optimistic way. Now, I think before doing anything whether it is worth doing. I am figuring out how to live my life in the best way and how to become a better person. I care about my health more. I don’t go for a job if it is too draining and taxing for my body. I am working as a consultant for museums.
Scans can reveal many things
Doctors didn’t do any scans like MRI or CT scans for Poornima. She wouldn’t have to undergo laparoscopic surgery if they had done any scans. In fact, the tumour broke during this surgery. It aggravated her situation. The cancer stage worsened and became stage I C from I B. If she hadn’t gone through this laparoscopic surgery, chemotherapy would have been unnecessary. Doctors could have removed the tumour successfully through surgery. So, scans are vital to reveal the underlying illness or conditions.
Managing side effects
Even after the completion of the treatment, patients may have to face the side effects. They may need help from other people to cope with these symptoms emotionally. Although the fight seems to be over, patients may need someone to relate to themselves. It can help them to feel that they aren’t alone.
During the chemotherapy, patients either have constipation or diarrhoea. So, they may use a special seat with hot water if they feel their legs are too weak. The use of antifungal powder can help to deal with fungal infections. Your teeth may be affected, but non-alcohol-based mouthwash can help. Staying active can be helpful. Practices like yoga can help to cope with side effects.