Parul Banka was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2012, the week she was turning 34. After having a successful career in Human Resources and learning & development, her life suddenly seemed uncertain and scary. Five months post the diagnosis, the doctors seemed to have ‘got it all’. However, the harrowing experiences continued on, not for months but for years. And it promoted her to write her cancer memoir – My Cancer Journey – A Rendezvous with Myself.
More than narrating her life’s story Parul, who is currently based in London, was insistent on writing this book because she is painfully aware of the social stigma instigated by the lack of knowledge about Cancer.
She wanted to disseminate awareness about the rampant spread of cancer and how early diagnosis exponentially increases the chances of beating it.
She says, “Cancer is a condition that is an epitome of fear, loss, despair, pain and mortality. Unfortunately, the incidence of cancer is increasing at an incredible rate. Cancer Research UK has forecast that one in two people (in the UK) will have cancer at some point in their lives. This data is unsettling and early diagnosis gives us the best chance of beating this monster. Awareness of cancer and its effects will motivate people to go and see their doctors as soon as they notice any symptoms that look alarming.”
Parul who currently works as a personal transformation and business coach feels that rebuilding her life after cancer was like learning to walk again. Her body has changed and she is still dealing with short-term and long-term conditions of the same.
Adjusting to the new normal has been a ‘massive rediscovery project’ but she is always enthusiastic to grab life by its sleeve and dive into projects she is extremely passionate about.
“Life suddenly felt too short and uncertain to continue doing things that did not completely interest me. And so, donning the hat of a coach seemed to be the next meaningful step in this direction… I now help people become the best versions of themselves through coaching. I also volunteer as a speaker for major cancer charities in London and help them raise huge amounts of funds that are used to look after cancer patients and their carers.”
Cancer has been a great revelation for Parul, surrounded by loving family and friends she realized the choice was always hers to make: kindness over judgment, to value hope over despair, to be grateful and to live life fully despite the uncertainties that a cancer diagnosis brings. Her advice to women battling Cancer is to persevere, come what may:
“Cancer is a long journey; you will need every iota of patience you can lay your hands on. Often there will be days when you might feel that there is no end to the struggle or the pain; on such days, it will be even more important to persevere and keep going. When you come out the other side, it will be all worth it.”