Fighting the Big C with Sormishta Mukherjee - Part 2

Fighting the Big C with Sormishta Mukherjee - Part 2

Mitisha Mavani

Cancer, you picked the wrong girl glorifies Sormishta Mukherjee's strength, bravery, courage and gratitude. One story is not enough to live up to the way she lived her life, dealt with her diagnosis and ushered in a new version of herself- stronger, resilient and persistent.

1) After your diagnosis, what was the one thing you were most scared of? One part of the process you absolutely dreaded?

The chemotherapy. I don't know what is scarier- Cancer or Chemotherapy. Everyone calls Cancer the Big C but the real big C is Chemotherapy. It is just scary, where there is so much build up in your head already because of all the movies you have watched, books you have read. When I was told about Chemo by my doctor, my heart sank. I remember I found out about it in the evening and I was pretty down and out. So yes, Chemotherapy was dreadful!

2) The one thing you were tired of hearing from people?

My hair had fallen, I was on steroids, chemo medicine, my feet were swollen, I lost my eyelashes and eyebrows and I was looking very strange and I knew it. And people would come to me and tell me, ‘oh my god, you still look lovely!’. And I would get so annoyed because I know I don’t have to look lovely and you don’t have to keep coming and telling me this. That used to irritate me a bit. And everyone would want to touch my bald head and it was so weird because it was just weird.

This other thing about people calling you a warrior. I didn't know how many people to go to and tell them that I am not in a battle with this disease, it is a journey where I am going to learn new things from it and I want to make peace with it. And sometimes, it kind of puts so much pressure on you to just keep fighting all day and everyday you cannot. And I wanted to look at in a way that this is a teacher that has come to teach me something and I wanted to make my peace with it.
Author of Cancer, you picked the wrong girl- Sormishta Mukherjee
Selfie of Sormishta Mukherjee

3) What motivated you to come out and tell your story?

When I got diagnosed I tried looking for something to read and
I couldn't find much. I luckily found a friend who told me all about it and I was so grateful and lucky that I met her. She was like a guide to me, she lived so close by and we could meet almost  everyday. On those days, I felt like what about people who don't have someone to talk to, so I wanted to document my experience. Everyone has a different experience, not everyone will have the same experience as me but even if someone can relate to the experience and journey I had, it would make me feel great! Even for the one person it would all be worth it!

4) Who was your source of inspiration during your journey? Did you join support groups, speak to other survivors? What was your coping mechanism?

There was no one coping mechanism. Everyday was different. My family and friends were my coping mechanism because they were there for me whenever I needed them. But now that we are on the topic, I think the one thing that really helped me was a routine. I had a very strict schedule and if anyone came any threw my routine out of order, I was very psyched. And another thing I did was every time i went for Chemo, I followed the same thing. I would wear the same clothes, carry the same bag, make the same sandwiches, just a strange thing I followed. To me it was a security blanket.

5) The one stereotype you want to shatter as a Cancer Survivor or a misconception that people have that you want people to get over?

My biggest thing is this whole concept of calling us warriors! It is a stereotype to consider it to be a battle! Not everyone wants to fight with the disease, we want to peacefully accept it, learn from it and then it will go. This is not a disease that you can battle, it is way sharper and stronger than that. It is something you have to peacefully accept and move ahead with at least in my case. May not be the same for everyone! Everyone has their own way of dealing with it and I am no one to take that away from anyone. If it is a battle for them and it has helped them, then great! But I believe it should not be a stereotype that you cannot force on everyone.

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