No more do we know Sonali Bendre as only a beautiful actress who lit up our screens on various occasion, especially during the '90s. Sonali is now a warrior who has successfully passed through a taxing battle with cancer and still remains alert. Having been diagnosed with high-grade cancer, she flew to another country to get herself treated. While the country prayed for her, she put up a show of utmost bravery, inspiring many in the process. The actor, at the recently held CAHOCON 2019 organised by Consortium of Accredited Healthcare Organisation (CAHO) in Mumbai, opened up about her battle with cancer.
“I kept telling myself that I am putting in an eighteen-hour day, so obviously I am fine. And now that I look back, I ask myself – How did I do that? Then the question is – Why did I put up with this pain? What was I waiting for? For me to collapse and understand what my body was trying to tell me?" she said, recalling how she overlooked the signs that her body was giving her.
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World Cancer Day… who would have thought it would become such a thing… but it has! And just the mere mention of the C word brings dread in the hearts of anyone who hears it. We fear it so much that we’d rather not talk about it… which is why it’s important to have a day where we pull out the band aid and help us deal with this disease. I was scared too, but soon realised that burying my head in the sand was not the way to deal with this. And so… with the little experience I have had, I urge you all to take the time to understand it. There's more to cancer than being emotional or weak or even being called a fighter or a survivor. It requires you to study it, find out what works for you and to be diligent about your treatment. It requires days of strongly believing in oneself, of knowing that tomorrow will be better than today. It is not a fight against negative thoughts. It's taking a stand to not give in, no matter what. Most importantly, it is about living every day, and not just surviving. Just taking it #OneDayAtATime makes it easier to #SwitchOnTheSunshine. #WorldCancerDay
She also spoke about how women are often told (and taught) that enduring pain is a quality; especially with the reference of the painful process of giving birth to a child. "I did not look at what was happening to me. I did not ask too many questions. Probably as women, we are taught that ‘sehen-shakti acchhi baat hoti hai’ (it is good to have will power and tolerate pain). We have to be tough and endure pain. We are told that we have to bear a child, so we have to bear the pain. We are all told this and so we kind of internalise that. You tell yourselves that we can bear the pain and go on."
She also emphasised how crucial was it to detect cancer as early as possible and proceed with the treatment. Sonali's husband Goldie Behl was a rock-solid shoulder behind her. After the first lot of her treatment (and we do hope she doesn't need any more of it), Sonali has returned to Mumbai and has resumed work with much gusto.
More power to you!