A FEW TIPS TO CANCER SURVIVORS… from teacher Sulakshana Sawant!

INAUGURAL CEREMONY OF 11TH EDITIONOF INDIAN BRAST CANCER SUVIVORS CONFERENCE..Lighting the ceremonial lamp are Chief guest Sulakshana Sawant, Deveika Bojwani, guest of honor Dr Victoria Chowgule, Dr Mandar Nadkarni, Dr Shekhar Salkar and others. The two day conference was attended by over a 105 cancer survirors from Mumbai, Pune and Goa.

AT the 11th edition of the Indian Breast Cancer Survivors Conference at the ICG Panaji on October1-2, 2023 there were some eloquent, practical speakers and one of them was chief guest Sulakshana Sawant (CM Dr Pramod Sawant’s wife who is a down-to-earth teacher), she gave the inaugural talk and offered some memorable tips to the gathering of cancer survivors, about how they should balance their life between personal life and work life.
I must say she is a teacher to the core, Sulakshana Sawant, comes across as a warm-hearted, very approachable person. Her words are memorable although she exclaimed she runs short of words when listening to stories of cancer survivors; she too has seen family members struggling with cancer and they remain in her memory.
This is to say teachers are usually eloquent. Sulakshana Sawant advised women to be aware of how cancer progresses, they should like most of us today try to move towards healthy living by making desirable changes in three things at least which could be the cause of cancer: the kind of food we eat, the kind of clothes we wear and the kind of homes we live in. Evolution is a continuous process and oftentimes these three things make all the difference for the better or for the worse…for example, it’s less known that the clothes we wear with their chemical pigments contribute towards the pollution of the earth!
Then there are the comforts of technology which we seek in our homes but how much do these contribute towards overall health…one must be genuine about needs for better living. She expressed pleasure to be at the event and said too was collecting a lot of energy from the cancer survivors present. She listed five challenges to wake up to daily… …the first is to do something different like maybe baking a cake!
Wake up to a challenge every morning, she urged, and go for it, “don’t see others as richer, healthier, fitter but see their yesterday when they were struggling….” Self-help works miracles and knows no boundaries! Write a letter of gratitude to someone, go down memory lane and see how “even if you do four good things you will be remembered for the one wrong thing!”
Get creative like men, “Men are more creative.” Women too must rejuvenate themselves doing things differently. And finally, the clinching principle: have a bird’s eye view of life! In a charming anecdotal story she has these five friends lost in a forest, they decide to go different ways to find the way to a village and of course they get lost and have some undesirable mishaps. All spent time going back and forth and faced some adventures…but the fifth friend just climbed a tree and from the top was able to see the way to the nearest village. This is called getting a bird’s eye view of a situation!
When confused it is always best to sit back and see if there’s a bird’s eye view of life…needless to say Tr Sulakshna Sawant disarmed everybody at the meet. And also with the Marathi she read out by Vinda Karandikar titled “Ayushala”…Karandikar is the famous poet of Maharashtra who with his poetry got to the heart of common people’s woes…one of these days I must get the poem translated from the original Marathi in English and share it here!
FUNNY or not funny, I must confess after this meet of cancer survivors and listening to them, some of them are my friends, I came home thinking I don’t want ever to get cancer and even if I do I don’t want to be treated, I mean, what’s the point of suffering through chemotherapy, radiotherapy, etc, when I’m already in my mid-70s and every day is a bonus. I will live on natural painkillers and say no to any cancer treatment and if I’m gone with the wind, I’m gone with the wind.
WHY do we get cancer? That’s a long twisted story and sometimes I wonder like heart disease it is because our body is enslaved by our mind and its terribly ways of thinking? After my bypass I remember a high and mighty doctor telling me the “widow’s block” at my left artery T section meant I was not godly in nature and perhaps didn’t believe in God. I was so angry. I don’t believe in God or gods or goddesses per se but I believe in minimum religious practice, preferring to see the divine reflected all around me in trees and flowers gardens of paradise and of course in you and me…we are divine or we are demons!
Listening in to some of the breast cancer survivors at the above meet left me thinking about how this disease can turn life upside down for the women coming from varied backgrounds – all want to get back to normal living with their family and friends and yet how difficult it can be. It is almost as if society perceives cancer survivors as flawed and handicapped, which is far from the truth! Most deal with the challenges which come their way with gutsy courage and learn how to tackle the nasty things which come their way – I must say these cancer survivors meets and workshops do wonders for their morale and knowledge of the disease which is more or less in every family today. The Big C is no longer feared like it was at one time and this perception itself is coming a long way – with awareness treatment is faster and so is remission. Cancer is not a dirty word, okay.
In fact, in session after session, one learned how prevention is always better by just making a few lifestyle changes for the better. Begin with changing your eating habits – the food we eat makes a big difference; likewise I would say as Sulakshana Sawant points out we need to be conscious of the kind of clothes we wear and how the ways in which we live and think contribute towards the mega contamination of the good earth. Think how much chemical technology we invite into our lives to make our homes more and more comfortable, like that! Draw the line somewhere. We draw the line where more makes no sense for junk food offers no nutrition, if we breath dirty air all the time we end up suffering respiratory diseases, and if we drink acidic beverages it will take a toll of our organs.
I always see Mother Earth as divine and we must respect her womb and bosom which nourishes us all…we know now to what our extent our mega techno-driven civilisation is poisoning the good earth as surely as it is poisoning us. Think about all this and don’t just think and sit on the fence forever! On that note it’s avjo, poiteverem, selamat datang, au revoir, arrivedecci, hasta la vista and vachun yeta here for now!

—Mme Butterfly

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