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Anagha vs Cancer: Guest Blog by Sudha Menon

Post by: Sudha Menon



I first heard of Anagha Ghosh some eighteen months ago, just after the launch of my debut book, Leading Ladies. A close friend called to say a friend of his wanted to write a book and could I please talk to her to build up her morale.I took Anagha’s call while trapped in one of Mumbai’s crazy traffic snarls and even in the midst of all the din of traffic, I remember being instantly struck by the energy in her voice, her friendliness and her complete determination with her book project. She had already completed it and was looking for a publisher she said and I said I would be glad to introduce her to mine, Fortytwo Bookz Galaxy. I was about to disconnect the call when it struck me that I had no clue what her book was about. “ Its about cancer. I had cancer and survived it. My book is about my encounter with the disease,” she said. In the minutes after that conversation I remember thinking about how insignificant the aches and pains in my life were in comparison to the stuff people have to face.


I met Anagha for the first time a couple of months ago at the Prashanti Cancer Care Mission’s music therapy class for cancer survivors. After a thoroughly enjoyable hour spent experimenting with drums and exotic musical instruments, I was enjoying a hot cup of tea with the group, as cheerful a lot as I have ever seen, when she came up to me and introduced herself as Anagha. I did not remember her or our conversation but she soon reminded me. “I am so happy to run into you here. Thanks to you my book is ready for launch and it would never have happened without that introduction to your publisher”, she said, a bright smile lighting up her animated face.


Over the last few months I have met Anagha repeatedly at Prashanti’s survivor’s support group meeting. I, as a member of its advisory board and she, not just as a survivor but as a chronicler of her traumatic but eventually victorious struggle with the disease.


Anagha’s book, Face to Face with Cancer, is a riveting and in-depth look into what happens in the mind and bodies cancer patients and in the lives of their families and friends when faced with the Big C. She talks about the initial numbing fear that overwhelmed the family when she was diagnosed with cancer and of her long journey to recovery after an early detection and surgery by onco-surgeon Anand Koppiker.


It was in the period of recuperation, when the disease went into remission and her family went back to their normal lives while she still struggled to find her earlier energy levels that the book formed in her mind. She tells me that it came from the realization of how lucky she was to have come up-close with a disease that is a widely known killer and survived it. “I wanted others who might encounter it that cancer is not the end of life, necessarily. Sometimes, it can be the beginning of a whole new journey.” Spending countless hours on the internet surfing for information about survivors in other parts of the world and talking to doctors, experts and cancer charities in India, Anagha has written a well-researched book that talks about the stuff that helped her beat the disease.


And while the most important thing is early detection and treatment, Anagha says there are critical factors that might help prevent it or keep it from spreading fast.“Coming face to face with cancer has given me time to introspect and take stock of things. I am learning to live each day with greater appreciation. Once a cancer patient,  always a cancer survivor. One will never know if there is going to a relapse. I’m in the process of getting rid of my negative feelings by forgetting and forgiving various negative issues and people in my life. Daily affirmations and visualizations are beginning to be part of my life …If you want to live better, then celebrate your life, appreciate and honor it! Appreciate the people around you, moments and events in your life because you never know what the future holds for you!”


Anagha says her own encounter left her transformed, made her more tolerant and patient, more appreciative of them and of life and less critical of herself. It also left her with a hunger to do in a hurry all the stuff that she always wanted to do in life, including dancing, gardening in her tiny balcony and getting herself a pet. “This book is the first step in the direction of self-discovery.”Go grab your copy. Cancer does not always happen to somebody else…


(Sudha Menon is an author of inspirational book, Leading Ladies.)


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