We are honored to share today’s "Survivor Voices" feature with a snippet taken from an interview with Anisha Thanki, a young breast cancer survivor, MBA candidate, and dog mom!
Anisha is a few years out from active treatment, and her words reflect the wishes and desires of so many cancer survivors navigating life after cancer.
“To me, being a survivor means continuing to see each and every day as a gift. Cancer is really, really hard, and I’d often feel like life was unfair for throwing this hardship at me. But changing that mentality to instead celebrate each day of life is what has allowed me to stay resilient and thrive even when I’m going through a tough time. I try to take care of myself even more as a survivor, which especially includes my mental health - I would be lying if I said cancer didn’t take a toll on my mental wellbeing. Little things like therapy, moving my body, and eating healthy meals make me feel like I’m on a path to a better, brighter future.”
“There was definitely a lot that I took for granted pre-cancer. I felt invincible, but I also prioritized my career over things I really wanted to do or places I wanted to travel. Facing mortality during cancer taught me that life is short and to enjoy each and every day. I’ve started to incorporate little things into each day that make life more enjoyable rather than waiting till I’m retired one day to have fun. Some of the things that used to annoy me no longer do - they seem trivial in comparison to a cancer diagnosis. After cancer treatment, I expected my life to go completely back to normal - I was so naive! While there is a lot of normalcy in my life again (I went to grad school, traveled with family and friends, resumed physical activities), I wasn’t the same person.”
“I wish I had access to a support group of survivors! My friends and family were there for me during cancer, but there’s so much they can’t relate to - constant hot flashes, brain fog, weight gain, telling new bosses that I needed time off for a cancer-related appointment, to name just a few. It’s easy to feel like I’m constantly complaining about my side effects to friends who don’t have advice on how to navigate these challenges.”
“I also wish I had been better prepared for post-cancer side effects. I may be cancer-free, but I break into hot flashes every day and night, gain weight while dieting, and have joint pain that makes running (one of my favorite hobbies) difficult. Pair that with navigating the dating scene while in menopause and the constant fear of recurrence, and post-cancer symptoms are almost worse than what I dealt with after diagnosis. Having access to treatments for these issues would make survivorship much easier for others like me.”
Thank you, Anisha, for sharing your experience with the VivorCare community.