I’m Kavita Gupta. My husband, Mr Arun Gupta, was a passionate cancer fighter. Still, due to covid, we lost him last year in December 2020. And since then, I have been running his organisation, “Win Over Cancer”, which was his mission in life. We started our NGO for cancer fighters and their families. We converted all the problems we faced into the Win Over Cancer restored journey program.
When he was diagnosed with a rare type of blood cancer, it was devastating news for the whole family. But we never lost hope. We started researching about it. But this was a prolonged cancer. Its treatment was to observe until it reached stage four. After a few years, when it went to stage four, it became a very aggressive cancer accompanied by another kind of blood cancer, NHS. The treatment was very harsh. We both had to be at the hospital for 21 days a month for chemo and other treatments. It is when we decided to work for cancer patients and their family members. People get afraid when they are diagnosed with cancer. In 2015 we got ourselves registered as an NGO. Since then, it has been running quite passionately. He had severe side effects like skin sensitivity, pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, loss of weight, loss of hair, etc.
Helping the breast cancer survivors and journey henceforth
And one fine day, I noticed something called a prosthetic bra. I didn’t know what a prosthetic bra was. It is special lingerie with a prosthetic breast in it, and it’s worn by breast cancer survivors who have undergone breast surgery. When I went to the market, it was very costly. I was unable to donate. A doctor rejected the cheaper version that I presented. He said that it would be allergic to the patient who has sensitive skin. So I talked to more breast cancer patients and learned about them. When one breast is removed, there’s an imbalance in our body. So this imbalance in the body can cause shoulder pain and drop pain in your neck. So I had to do something for them. So, I did some research. I had some prior fabric knowledge. I started doing something with cotton fabric. And after a study and R&D of four to six months, I came up with the final product. I showed it to many oncologists, who were very happy with this product. So seeing our journey with cancer, how the families are financially impacted, and how they are being emotionally drained out, we decided to do it for free to the underprivileged.
Setting up an NGO
It has been our 8th project. Since then, more than 5000 patients have been treated under this project in the past five years. My husband used to say cancer is a beautiful disease because it teaches you how to live and love life. It is also the motor of our NGO. So live life, love life. Everyday people die because of accidents, heart attacks and strokes. They don’t have the time to share something with their family. But, cancer gives you the time to live to your fullest. That’s what he started after he was diagnosed with cancer. At the time, he was given a 10% chance to survive for the next three months. He got cured in six months. The chemo responded very well. In six months, his disease was in remission. I think this was all because of his positivity.
Being a caregiver
Giving up is not an option. We used to have a usual kind of environment at home. My doctor told me that my life was going to be held. But this smile should be on your face forever. He would be looking at his condition from my face. I was going to be the mirror for him now. If I broke down, he would break down. So I had to gather all my strengths. Since then, I haven’t ever lost my smile, at least in front of my family. And I think these are the small things that keep the cancer patient fighting. First, the caregiver has to be strong. Everybody can find a little way of hope in even the darkest of their own.
He always used to believe in suffering. Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. And he never suffered out of his misery. He had three lapses. In the end, he was fighting four types of cancers treated with blood cancer.
So these are small jokes that he used to crack. He had a very positive perspective on life. He was never afraid of his disease. Because when cancer happens, one thing is to accept it. The first thing is to put your full faith in your doctor. Then the results will be given by God, by the supreme power. So there is nothing in our hands. So we should worry about the things which we can change. When we accept the things, we will focus on the solutions. Focusing on the problems is not the solution.
Message to other caregivers
I suggest never lose your smile, at least in front of the fighter, because the patient is fighting cancer. But the caregiver is fighting two battles which are fighting cancer and negativity. They are responsible for keeping the patient motivated. Cancer doesn’t happen to an individual but the whole family. Giving up is not an option. It’s a crime to give up.
Three life lessons that I learnt
One is never giving up, and it’s a crime. You find your strength when you know being strong is the only option. Acceptance is the key to the solution. If you have a problem in life, you have two options. Change it if you can. If you can’t, then accept it. Faith is the key to fighting out all your fears. It can kill your fear.