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HOPE From the diary of Meghali Baruah , Nagaon, 9 PM Today I finally received the matured 3-year FD from our self-help group.And this happiness couldn’t have been celebrated without a get together lunch with my 9 lovely ladies. I love this small family of ours. Everyone is so loving, so cheerful. Best part of my evening was watching everyone enjoying my special fish stew (Masor Tenga) and listening to my poems as I read through When I look back at the 10 yrs , I can feel a sense of proud and relief . These 10 years were more than just a life journey. It was a decade where I saw the world moving upside down around me and life giving me surprises, I never thought even in my dreams. Cancer took away a part of my identity and shifted my image completely. But what it couldn’t take was the sheer determination and the hopes. I kept within myself to live and make a change in the world. I still remember the day waiting for my Biopsy reports at B Baruah Cancer hospital in September 2010The doctors at the cancer hospital confirmed me that I had reached the advanced stages of Cancer and I can be treated best in Chennai Cancer Institute only. What I ignored as a minor disease in my body turned out to be a monster. Unaware of what was going to come by, I was at that time still hoping I could get treated in Chennai in the next 2 to 3 weeks and should be able to come back and celebrate Durga Puja with my family. My husband’s posting to Delhi at the same time made my life even more difficult. It was the time when Ratul, my younger brother and her wife decided to accompany me to Chennai and would stay with me till I complete my treatment2 weeks after those rigorous and painful treatment, my body had almost given up. I remember seeing myself in front of the mirror for the first time after the Chemotherapy, and all I could do was scream in disbelief. Over the next few weeks, I started losing all my hairs and my skin color. My body started to shrink, and I lost all interest to eat. For the first few days, I was ashamed of going out as I had a portion of my breast cut out and I was having an empty Skull. I was very ashamed of coming in front of anyone during those days. For a woman to look like this was nothing more than a shame. I felt as if my life had torn apart and there would be no one loving me anymore. I was so bothered about my losing beauty. All the time I kept thinking about my detoriating health and my inability to work. I started suffering from anxiety and depression. This made me sicker and leaner as I started skipping food and turning down medicines. My blood pressure also started fluctuating and I used to get high tempered very frequentlySomedays, Ratul and his wife would force me out of our room to walk with them along the roads of Greamsroad , Chennai – this was where all Cancer patients used to stay coming from treatment. We used to meet a lot of people from Assam who had come for similar treatments. Listening to their stories made me feel lot comfortable and helping me understand how life had been unfair to a lot of people like me . There were small Kids who were fighting cancer bravely and elders who were aged more than 70yrs but were fighting the disease with high spirit. My husband would send me books so that I can read and keep myself distracted. As I started taking medicines back and following the instructions from my medical advisors, I started feeling little better . My love for books and interacting with people around with similar stories inspired me more to become active and fight with this disease with conviction.I was fascinated to see the fish sellers in Greamsroad area in Chennai selling tons of sea fish around . I would always ask Ratul to buy fish so that I can make for them. Although I was not fully well, I took it as a challenge and started to cook and do my things on my own. I wanted to live as if this was the last day of my life . I also served my special Fish Stew (Masor tenga) to one of our Assamese friends who came for treatment in Chennai . 6 months after fighting the cruel disease I was ready to walk on my feet free of CANCER. My reports were normal and I had regained some weight to my rescue. Although not all but my hairs started to come again and my skin stared to regain its color. My belief and my fight was showing its worth. Once I came back to Assam, my challenges of sustaining were even more . For a woman staying alone without a husband and fighting cancer which had taken a part of my womanhood was hard for people to accept. I however decided to fight it all alone and live each day as the last one . I wanted to be with people and pursue doing things I loved the most . It took me almost 2 years to be better and come out of the disease completely . The next few years were much better. After I joined self help group in 2013 , my life changed completely . It was a great feeling to know and work with some amazing woman from the village . All of them loved me and accepted the way I was. We started making a lot of packaged food , taking vocational courses and generating employment for more girls and women in the village. I started becoming more financially independent and emotionally content . The only thing that grew in these years were my love for reading books and making more tangy fish stew . It was in 2017 on my birthday when I saved this 50 thousand rupees with a hope of renovating my house if I stay alive till then and here I am. Fighting all the odds of depression , mental, physical and emotional traumas into a life which I now love and value more than ever HOPE IS A GOOD THING, PROBABLY THE BEST THING AND NO GOOD THING EVER DIES !! Ankur Sharma8884201239

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