GIST Awareness Day – 13th July 2019
Here in Rashmi Sachade’s own words is her amazing and heartwarming strategy of making peace with what was once an unwelcome guest in her body but with whom she has now made a pact for living in in peaceful coexistence. Rashmi is FOM City Chapter Leader from Mumbai and a GISTer as she likes to call herself . This is a transcriptt of the talk she gave at the GIST Awareness Day FOM Meet in Mumbai on 14th July 2019.
I am a GISTer.
Since GIST is a very rare type of cancer, I am unique. GIST means Gastro Intestinal Stromal Tumour in medical terms, but to me, it is someone who is
G – Great
I – Intelligent
S – Smart
T – Talented
Like me !!!
When I first contracted cancer in 2004, I drove it away with the help of some really nice people (doctors). And went back to living a normal, happy life. But this cancer too is quite stubborn, it doesn’t leave you that easily. It had liked my body, and so again, it came back to live in my liver after 5 years, in 2009.
At that point I had realised that I cannot make it go away rather it was not going away. That’s when I thought to myself, why make an unnecessary enemy. Why don’t I befriend my cancer?
But then, even if my cancer became my friend, for how many days would you let a friend stay in your home?
So then I told my cancer, ‘Listen man, I can let you live here only for a few days or months for the sake of our friendship. But since I know you are too stubborn to leave, I will let you live in my body as a ‘Paying Guest’.
It was such a great strategy. As and when we have a free room in our house we give out to paying guest and we form an agreement with them. The same way I too decided to make an agreement with my cancer.
I said to my cancer, ‘Now that you have claimed your stake on my liver, let me provide with you with some facilities. But in turn you provide me with some too’
And it was literally the same way you tell your paying guests, ‘See, listen, just because we let you live here, does not mean you can bring in your friends and create havoc. You need to live peacefully and we will give you your food and tea on time.’
So I told my GIST, ‘I will give your nutrition, which is Glivec, in a timely manner. I know you don’t like it, but that’s the only thing keeping your calm. But in turn I need a promise from you. I need you to make a promise that the part of the liver you live in will be your only abode. I need a promise that you will not invite your friends who can forcefully take over other parts of my body.’
A little sternly now, I said, ‘And that is not all. Every 3 – 4 months I will take a report from my favourite doctors to make sure you are fulfilling your promise.’
GIST also said to me, ‘Done, done, and done! Okay then friend, Mar Ke Bhi Naa Bichedenge Hum… Meaning, I won’t be the cause of your death, and this is a promise.’
This is the story of how I befriended my GIST and made it a Paying Guest in my body. See that’s how smart we GISTers are. Either take out the cancer entirely, or just befriend it. What I meant to tell you is that if you take your medicines in a timely manner, consult the doctors regularly, live your life positively, and take care of your own selves, even cancer can become your friend.
My parting words to you would just be these –
‘Zindagi kabhi mushkil, to kabhi aasan lagti hai,
Kabhi uff to kabhi waah hoti hai.
Na bhulna kabhi apni smile,
Kyuki isse har mushkil aasan hoti hai!’
- Rashmi Sachade