#Personal Stories

If not for cancer, there would not have been any mountaineering…

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Radhika Iyer Talati: While it is said that good health and good sense are two of life’s greatest blessings, it is uncommon to keep good sense when good health constantly has evaded you.

As a finalist in the Gladrags Mrs India 2003, it had taken a lot of willpower and hard work to lose over 21 kilos to compete in the contest. I had been battling bad health consistently: chronic throat infections, hypo thyroid, a persistent eczema that tortured me and several miscarriages that broke me. This competition gave me a reason to get back in shape and conquer the demons within.

As a young mother all of 30 with three beautiful children aged 7, 4 and 1, it was an ordeal for me to consistently put up with these illnesses over the past years and I believed that I had seen it all. But there was much more going on inside of me, than that met the eye.

My menstruation cycle was giving me severe anxiety and my doctors told me that I suffered from severe adenomyosis, a condition that was later diagnosed as uterine cancer in its very primary stage (thank God for that).

But what followed was a raging battle within the body which was coping post my hysterectomy surgery. Hormone Replacement Therapy, more commonly known as HRT, was induced to pump in “estrogen” to help balance hormonal secretion of the lost uterus and ovaries. But little did I know that it left me susceptible to risk of breast cancer if taken for long. Moreover, it was the recuperating process that left me weak and lifeless. Here I was swallowing more than 32 pills a day, feeling terrible and lost. But I decided that if I couldn’t control my illness, I could definitely control the recovery. Managing whatever I could, I worked hard on my body, my kids and my work. But I could see my energy drain and I knew that I would forever be trapped between hospitals, work and home.

Here I was swallowing more than 32 pills a day, feeling terrible and lost. But I decided that if I couldn’t control my illness, I could definitely control the recovery.

It was nearly four years later that I happened to be introduced to a naturopath who helped me cope with diseases that debilitated my body and spirit. What happened after that, changed my life forever. The eczema that no other doctor could treat for years, went away in just a week. Within three months I was a new person. It was as though I’d found God, because all I had done was change my diet. In fact, I was eating much more with the diet. I had discovered Naturopathy and was loving it.

Just when I was feeling fantastic, I got diagnosed with stage 1 cancer in the right breast. This time, I immediately chose naturopathy as my choice of treatment. There was no way that I was going to endure another surgery and God forbid, more radiation or worse, chemotherapy. The very thought choked me and I took the decision to cure myself with naturopathy. I will not lie, the treatment was painful and slow but after 25 days, I was told that the lumps had gone and they would never come back. Truly so, the mammogram reports that followed endorsed that. What helped in this process, I feel, is this unwavering trust on both the doctor and his method. My faith in natural medicine is intact even after 12 years since I last fell ill. It was these illnesses that elevated me and took me on a journey of self-realisation. My tryst with bad health bought me face to face with the magical Himalayas that I have frequented every single year post 2009, where I was sent to recuperate. It was this disease that broke me and rebuilt me and helped me become a better mother, a more creative entrepreneur and an even more beautiful human being. If not for cancer, there would not have been any mountaineering, I would not have become a yogini and my mind would never have opened up to higher possibilities.

I am grateful I fell ill because it repaired my body, mind and soul- from within.

By Radhika Iyer Talati, Entrepreneur & Founder of Anahata, Yogini, Mountaineer & Philanthropist. The views expressed are the author’s own.