Healed: How Cancer Gave Me a New Life -2018
by Manisha Koirala (Author)
Healed is the powerful, moving and deeply personal story of actor Manisha Koirala’s battle against ovarian cancer. From her treatment in the US and the wonderful care provided by the oncologists there to how she rebuilt her life once she returned home, the book takes us on an emotional roller-coaster ride through her many fears and struggles and shows how she eventually came out triumphant.
Today, as she completes six years of being cancer-free, she shares her story-one marked by apprehensions, disappointments and uncertainties-and the lessons she learnt along the way. Through her journey, she unravels cancer for us and inspires us to not buckle under its fear, but emerge alive, kicking and victorious.
About the Author
MANISHA KOIRALA is one of India’s leading film actors. Born into the prominent Koirala family in Nepal, she made her Bollywood debut with Saudagar in 1991, before going on to establish herself as one of the leading actresses with films such as 1942: A Love Story, Akele Hum Akele Tum, Bombay, Khamoshi: The Musical, Dil Se, Mann, Lajja and Company. She took a break from acting in 2012 and returned five years later with the coming-of-age drama Dear Maya, Netflix’s Lust Stories and Sanju.
She was appointed the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund in 1999 and 2015, and was involved in the relief work following the Nepal earthquake in 2015. She promotes causes such as women’s rights, prevention of violence against women, prevention of human trafficking, and cancer awareness.
She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012 and has been cancer-free since 2013.
NEELAM KUMAR is a bestselling author, motivational speaker, soft-skills trainer and life-skills coach. This is her ninth book. She lives in Mumbai and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org as well as http://www.neelamkumar.in.
1 That Sinking Feeling
‘Uncertainty is life’s way of saying that there are only a few things you… Some highlights have been hidden or truncated due to export limits.
‘I am packed with broken glass and memories and it all hurts.’ —Henry Rollins
Yellow highlight | Location: 282
‘Confusion, when embraced, is the starting point for discovery, direction and decision.’ —Richie Norton
4 New York
‘For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.’ —Kahlil Gibran
5 Meeting Dr Chi
‘Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.’ —Desmond Tutu
6 Broken, but Picked Up by Love
‘Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.’ —George Burns
‘And sometimes, against all odds, against all logic, we still hope.’ —Unknown
8 Dr Makker Enters My Life
‘Life is filled with detours and dead-ends, trials and challenges of every kind. Each of us has likely had times when distress, anguish, and despair almost consumed us.’ —Russell M. Nelson
9 How Bollywood Came to My Rescue
‘Everyone wants attention, more or less. I just want a lot.’ —Zara Larsson
10 New Apartment Joys
‘Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, “It will be happier.”’ —Alfred Lord Tennyson
‘Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.’ —Paulo Coelho
‘Feelings are like chemicals; the more you analyse them the worse they smell.’ —Charles Kingsley
13 Stepping Out—Fearfully
‘I’m not bitter. Why should I be bitter? I’m thrilled to death with life.’ —Johnny Cash
14 Team Mumbai
‘Encourage, lift and strengthen one another. For the positive energy spread to one will be felt by us all. For we are connected, one and all.’ —Deborah Day
15 Home to Kathmandu and Chaos Again
‘Keep your eyes on the finish line and not on the turmoil around you.’ —Rihanna
16 Vulnerability—The Chink in My Armour
‘It has been said, “time heals all wounds”. I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.’ —Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy
17 Birthing the New Me in My Sanctuary
‘You can either ask the question or experience the answer.’ —Sri Bhagavan
18 Lessons Learnt, Wisdom Passed On
‘Healing is a matter of time, but it is also a matter of opportunity.’ —Hippocrates
19 Cancer as My Gift
‘A scar does not form on the dying. A scar means I survived.’ —Chris Cleave
20 Not Only through the Male Gaze
‘Just as the pure white lotus flower blooms unsoiled in muddy water, our lives, which are supremely noble, can continue to shine even amid life’s harshest realities.’ —Daisaku Ikeda
21 Living the New Me
‘Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.’ —Unknown
Ms.Manisha Koirala was interviewed about her book.
Here are the HIGHLIGHTS OF THE INTERVIEW:
The full interview can be accessed at:
Highlights of the interview:
Manisha Koirala: I want to work on making ‘treatment affordable ’
Richa Mishra BUSINESS LINE Dec 21, 2018
The 48-year-old actor has been cancer-free since 2013. She tells BLink that she has battled fear, is enjoying life in whichever form it unfolds and taking small steps to create awareness about cancer.
What prompted you to write about the darkest period of your life — your battle with cancer?
I felt compelled to write about it because it was a unique experience. People know that cancer is painful, that it is fearful, that it is a tough journey. But I felt that there was a need to give a first-hand account of what a person suffering from cancer actually goes through. This is not only about cancer. It is like anything that can happen to us that is fateful and leaves us shaken. Ignorance can be fatal, so I felt that I needed to tell this story.
What comes out prominently in the book is the lack of awareness about cancer even among the affluent. There is a need to focus on the detection process, on how to approach cancer and so on …
Absolutely, I think awareness is the key. My aunt, who lived in the West, was so much more aware when she was diagnosed with cancer. But in the West, it is different and it comes under people’s healthcare plans. Lives are saved because of this awareness.
Think of it this way. I came from an affluent family, am well- known and well-read. If I was ignorant (about ovarian cancer), what must be going on in average homes and with the average woman? This also made me realise that, by and large, women in our part of the world who are actual caregivers don’t take much care of their own health. Society also makes us prioritise — beta, pati, saas, sasur (son, husband, parents-in-law)… but we never care for ourselves. What we must realise is that if a woman falls ill, it leads to not only a financial burden but also an emotional burden on the entire family.
You also talk about an alternative method of healing. Is that mainly for one’s psychological satisfaction?
Yes, there was a psychological reason to it. I really didn’t want to lose the opportunity to heal myself. My mom, dad — everybody in the family — started reading (about cancer). What I generally saw was that everybody who had healed had also opted for alternative methods. But there are also those who have recovered only through medical treatment. I come from a certain system of faith and wanted to utilise everything around me. All I wanted was to heal myself.
As one reads the book, one gets the feeling that you have gone through very strong emotions — in accepting the disease, then there was a sense of self-pity and, finally, of victory. But there are moments where one feels that you are too harsh on yourself, particularly when you talk about your mistakes or about being unlucky in love
Yes, I tend to be self-critical at times. This is because during my cancer period — while I was going through the whole process of treatment — I had time to reflect. I really woke up to certain situations and realisations which I had never reflected upon earlier. I felt I had to be honest to myself, and in the book, too, the focus is on being honest. You are right, I am self-critical in parts.
You also write about your fears post recovery — of being accepted, of the implications of chemotherapy. You wondered if people would be sympathetic to you, or whether they would be harsh.
I was very nervous about how I looked or how I would be perceived because, prior to this whole cancer process, there were a few articles in the press that had really shaken me up. I was kind of nervous and scared about what people would say.
I went through one phase where I would go to Mumbai and then keep coming back to Kathmandu. I started avoiding people and withdrew into a shell till I started looking out — and realised that the fear was only in my head. I did receive a lot of love. I generally found affection, concern and care, which was quite nice.
You talk about the need for psychotherapy. How relevant is it?
Psychotherapy is different from psychiatric treatment. It is counselling by an expert. At home, everybody is ready to give free advice, but professional guidance is a thousand times more effective. There is also a huge connection between the mind and body.
I mentioned it because I think readers are becoming more aware of counselling. This should not be a taboo topic. In many cases, with psychotherapy, not only the emotional element, but the physical element too starts getting healed. I was very open to it. It should be adopted as nothing extraordinary, but as something required.
In the process, you seem to have “evolved” as a human being. You are open to speaking about your drawbacks, too. You also react with wit when people comment on your age.
The reason I talk openly about my minuses — alcohol being one of them — is that I believe everything done in moderation, or within healthy limits, is fine. I will not criticise someone but, as I look back, I say, “Okay, this is what I did not do right.” The book is about being healthy. It is part a reflection on mistakes and part-realisation that I really wasn’t my best version. I wanted to live a better life. And that was a promise I made to myself.
Yes, why talk of age when a woman is concerned? But accept your age. I am waiting for the change to happen!
I hesitate to make big plans now. I have shortlisted a few areas which I want to work on while making the most of what I am doing. I finished this book. There are two scripts for next year. Fingers crossed, these movies will happen.
Published on December 21, 2018
Hindu Lit Fest- Manisha Koirala January 12 2019.
You can see the full interview from 8 hrs 25 minutes to 9 .20hrs. of the link
The following are some of the highlights of the interaction with Dr. Sheela Nambiar. (from The Hindu, January 13,2019)
The next session is Second Act — Manisha Koirala in conversation with Dr. Sheela Nambiar.
Actor Manisha Koirala speaks about surviving ovarian cancer and her book on the same titled Healed. She mentions about taking a mental call on becoming stronger.
“I wanted to thrive, reach out the maximum potential of this life. As long as I live, I wanted to thrive.”
The ability to drop resentment is crucial, Ms. Koirala emphasises; and likewise, maintaining a balance between work and rest.
“Loving and honouring oneself, especially speaking as a woman, prioritising myself before somebody else, is something I have learned to do.”
Few other statements from the interview:
-Cancer taught me many lessons
-Social supports is vital
-Learnt the value of being in the present ( mindfulness)and focus on time and attention
-People have a lot of capacity to endure pain and overcome the adversities
-Being active physically is important
-I am stronger today in my will power and mindfulness
-Spirituality and faith in Divine is important
-Do not under estimate the power of prayers
-It is important, we must to ask and take help
-All of us have the choice as to how to respond
-Lovely to have the family support
-Social support is vital for recovery
-I have not been told I am cured, I personally feel cured
-NOT TO SURVIVE but THRIVE.