WOW | Coffee Break

It Came… They Fought… They Won! 

Life is unpredictable; you never know what is coming next. Three strong and resilient survivors: Dolly Gurung Yakthumba, an entrepreneur, Prerana Shah, a yoga instructor, and Mausami Gurung, a singer share their story and about how they won their battle against cancer.

Text by: Garima Golchha

How did you and your family react when you were first diagnosed?

Dolly Yakthumba: I had colon cancer. It was detected between the second and third stage of its development. I wasn’t very surprised as cancer runs in my family. However, my husband was quite shocked by the news. The very same day we broke the news to our three children and my mother-in-law.

I have learnt to see the brighter side of life, and remain positive no matter what life throws your way. Dolly Yakthumba

Mausami Gurung: I was diagnosed with meningioma brain tumour. My family was with me when the doctors revealed the result. It obviously came as a big shock. However, I am grateful that it was detected at an early stage.

Prerana Shah: I was diagnosed with a micro-adenoma brain tumour which turned into a macro-adenoma within six months. I was anxious and unsure of what the next steps in my treatment would be. However, I felt a little relieved when I finally understood the source of my chronic headaches. I am blessed to have a very close and supportive network of family and friends. They were more worried than I was but remained very optimistic. They were the ones who helped me throughout the healing process.

How important is communication with your family when dealing with a serious health issues?

Dolly Yakthumba: Your family should be aware of the situation as this would prepare them mentally and emotionally.

Mausami Gurung: Making your family aware of the circumstances is really important. They become your pillars of strength during the difficult times.

My main goal during the treatment was just to focus on getting better and living a healthy life. Mausami Gurung

Prerana Shah: Family and your immediate circle play a very crucial part in any issue, especially when dealing with something as serious as health. Communication can become difficult especially when one is feeling stressed and negative. When we are afraid, it feels as though no one understands or cares and everything seems to be a threat. Family members, too, can feel hurt and frustrated by this. We need human connection to heal, and communicating with love and care works better than any medicine or diet at the time of your treatment.

How did this impact your relationship with your family, especially your partner?

Dolly Yakthumba: I think we became closer to each other every passing day. I received innumerable support and understanding from my family. I felt loved throughout the entirety of my treatment.

Mausami Gurung: My partner and my family have been very supportive throughout, and as a result, we have only grown stronger.

Prerana Shah: My relationship with my family became stronger than ever. I have been very lucky to have the most positive and caring family. My father especially was very worried, but regardless, always stood beside me with his unconditional love and support.

What helped keep your spirits up and gave you support during your treatment?

Dolly Yakthumba: I chose to do my treatment and surgery in Kathmandu’s Nepal Cancer Hospital so that I would be in close proximity to my family and friends. Aside from that, my passion for gardening also kept me going as I felt more connected to nature.

Mausami Gurung: My main goal during the treatment was just to focus on getting better and living a healthy life. I made sure to maintain a positive mindset throughout.

Prerana Shah: Getting diagnosed with a brain tumour was a blessing in disguise. It made me evaluate my life, and rethink a few choices. It took me down the path of self-discovery and self care; I felt more connected with myself. I realised that although I was surviving, I was not really living. So I let go of everyone and everything that gave me stress and started to read more and listen to inspiring audio books. I decided to travel and explore myself. It has been a wonderful journey since.

Family and your immediate circle play a very crucial part in any issue, especially when dealing with something as serious as health.Prerana Shah

What advice would you give to a recently diagnosed cancer patient?

Dolly Yakthumba: I got chemotherapy done twice a month for a total of six months, and it took 48 hours every single time. Undoubtedly, it was a horrible experience, and I really wish no one has to go through it. But unfortunately, the reality is that it happens far too often, and many people have to undergo this experience. I have learnt to see the brighter side of life, and remain positive no matter what life throws your way. Keep faith in God Almighty.

Mausami Gurung: Don’t lose hope and battle through.

Prerana Shah: After you and your family decide on your medical treatment let go of things that make you unhappy or stressed. Do what you love. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh, and stop taking life so seriously and worrying excessively. Eat a plant based diet, stay hydrated, and meditate daily. Gratitude is the attitude you should have.

What advice would you give to family and friends of the patient?

Dolly Yakthumba: One thing I want everyone to know is that cancer is not a death sentence! Fight and you will survive. Cancer is within each of us, and if we create an acidic environment, cancer will thrive. If we create an alkaline environment, cancer will have a slower development. We live in such a fast paced, stressed, and overly worried society, and we are increasingly adding toxins and processed foods into our system, so, eat healthily.

Mausami Gurung: I hope that family and friends of the patient continue to provide unconditional support, care and love. This really motivates them to fight through the battle.

Prerana Shah: If you have friends or family in this position, make sure to show your love and be their source of strength. Do not focus on what went wrong but rather on what can be done at the present. Listen to them, sit with them, laugh and share as much as you can with them. Life is too precious and too short, so be the best person you can be for your loved one who is battling the disease.