“My story is a story of overcoming setbacks, obstacles and challenges that life throws at you. My story is about the power of thought. My story is about the power of choice. I want to be known not as a breast cancer survivor, but as a breast cancer conqueror,” said Indian classical dancer Ananda Shankar Jayant, who waged a successful battle against the deadly disease.
Delivering a moving account of her tryst with breast cancer at the 10th annual conference of the Association of Breast Surgeons of India (ABSICON 2022) here on Saturday, she said that nothing prepared her for what she was to hear on the first of July 2008 when cancer surgeon P. Raghu Ram used words like ‘cancer’, ‘stage’ and ‘grade’.
“Until then, ‘cancer’ was the zodiac sign of my friend, the ‘stage’ was what I performed on, and ‘grades’ were what I got in school. That day, I realised I had an unwelcome, uninvited, new life partner. I made the image of Durga, the epitome of creative feminine energy and shakti, my very own,” she said, adding, “My own tryst with breast cancer has seen me emerge strong and successful because of the extraordinary quality of treatment, the untiring support through pre and post-surgery management, and equally, personal, supportive, sympathetic, empathetic caring and counseling provided by Dr.Raghu Ram and his team, throughout the period of my treatment.”
Ms. Jayant said that she danced through chemo and radiation cycles, much to the dismay of the doctors. “I danced between chemo and radiation cycles and badgered my doctors to modify treatment schedules to suit my performing dance schedule. What I had done is, I had tuned out of cancer and tuned into my dance. Yes, cancer has been just one page in my life,” the Padma Shri awardee said.