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Vidhi (Caregiver): Dance Movement Therapist

Vidhi (Caregiver): Dance Movement Therapist

My Background

I am a counselor by profession and a dance movement therapist as well. I started working for Access Life NGO, where there are kids undergoing cancer treatment. I am basically from Nagpur and shifted to Mumbai four years ago. In the first year, I met Ankit, who is the Founder of Access Life NGO. Since I had just finished my master's and was looking for opportunities, I started working with the kids. I have been with the kids for the last two years, and my heart goes out to the kids fighting bravely with cancer.

I was trying to find a job in Mumbai, and one of my friends asked me to visit the NGO and ask them whether I can do counseling there, and they agreed. I think the universe just wanted me to serve kids somehow, and I just got the right opportunity at the right time.

Cancer Diagnosis

Both my grandfather and my cousin had cancer. My cousin was just four years old when she was diagnosed with eye cancer. I was very close to her. Initially, her one eye was removed because of cancer, so she could partially see. The cancer had spread to both eyes, so we had to remove both her eyes. She was just four, and on October 28, she left the world. My grandmother used to take care of her a lot. I was so young when this happened.

My grandfather had Prostate Cancer. He would complain of Pain in the abdomen. He didn't have to go through a lot. He just got diagnosed and passed away after two days of diagnosis, so we are grateful that he didn't had to endure much Pain.

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Experience with kids

I was very young when my cousin got diagnosed with cancer, and I didn't know then that I would be serving kids who are fighting cancer in my future. Whenever I see a kid, I get reminded of my sister.

I have been using different mediums like art, counseling, painting, fun games, dance movements and sometimes just normal stories to motivate kids.

I always used to play games with them. I always used to ask them about their wishes, and they always had a long list of what they wanted to do after they were free from cancer. So through games, I used to help them understand that we have certain boundaries that we cannot cross, and only when we recover can we cross those boundaries.

I would give them metaphorical examples and also engage in art therapy with them. I would provide them with paper and colors, and we would have themes where we needed to create things we wanted to do in life. The stories that would emerge were always beautiful. Kids always inspire a lot; they just spread joy everywhere.

We had days when kids would share what they were going through, and I assured them that I would not share that with anyone. One of the kids I started my first counseling sessions with said that she wanted to become an IPS officer and shared every step that she had planned for her future. After a few years, I learned that she had passed away. I spoke to her mother later.

Learnings from kids

I learned to be patient. We make our lives very complicated, but kids made me realize that we can make our lives simpler. I feel that I wasn't doing anything for the kids; the kids were doing everything for me.

I am a person terrified of injections, and I think it got better because of these kids. We visit them every Monday, and one day while we had storytelling, the kids told me that injections are their best friends now because they have got so immune to injections. They all told me various stories about how they overcame their fears.

I am a person terrified of injections, and I think it got better because of these kids. We visit them every Monday, and one day while we were storytelling, the kids told me that injections are their best friends now because they have become so immune to injections. They all shared various stories about how they overcame their fears.

Kids also taught me a lot of acceptance about our own self. They don't compare themselves with each other; they don't have any barriers to treating each other.

My life has changed a lot since I started counseling kids. Accepting myself the way I am is one of the biggest lessons I learned from kids. I used to feel inferior, but being with kids and experiencing their company made me realize that I am good just the way I am.

Counseling for Caregivers

I would counsel the parents as well. Counseling the parents is quite challenging because they question themselves where they went wrong that their kid got cancer.

Caregivers also taught me a lot. Even after what they are going through, they never lose hope. They always have faith. I make parents understand that it's not their fault that their kid got cancer. I listen to them because I believe that listening is very important. I ask them specific questions, and they eventually realize that it's not their fault.

Parting Message

That's excellent advice! Taking care of ourselves is crucial, and it's not selfish to prioritize our well-being. It's also important not to blame ourselves for things beyond our control. Being positive and reaching out for support when needed can make a big difference. And yes, doing more of what brings us joy is always a good idea. Thanks for sharing such valuable insights!

 

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