“It's no big deal. You diagnose it, treat it and carry on with normal life,” says S. Mahesh about the cancer she had a few years ago, in a rather matter-of-fact way.
A social activist at Makkal Mandram, an organisation near Kancheepuram working for rights of the Scheduled Tribes, she is a survivor of breast cancer.
“It was when I was in my early thirties. Now, I am completely fine and doing what I enjoy the most. Today, cancer is an ailment that can be cured with systematic treatment,” says Ms. Mahesh, who will soon turn 40.
After an initial surgery at the Government Royapettah Hospital in 2005, she found that there was a relapse a couple of years ago.
“I had ideological issues with getting treated at a private hospital. After the initial treatment at the RGH, I went to the Arignar Anna Cancer Hospital in Kancheepuram and was advised radiation and chemotherapy. Some of those days were hard, I admit. The side effects and pain can be hard to cope with. But once I got better, I only found myself coming out a stronger person,” she says. “Nothing has changed. Not even one per cent. I am working hard and loving it.”