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Parul Thukral was diagnosed with breast cancer on August 11, 2017. She got married in December 2015. Since she is also BRCA 1 positive, she and her husband decided not to have kids in the future and focus on Parul’s health as well as reduce the risk of recurrence. After diagnosis, Parul underwent 12 weekly cycles of chemotherapy followed by another 4 fortnightly cycles of Adriamycin. Thereafter, she underwent surgery in Mid-January 2018 followed with 25 radiotherapy sessions over a period of 5 weeks (5 days a week for 5 weeks).
At this point, after the 12 cycles of chemotherapy, Parul’s husband sent me an email on December 12, 2017. He gave me a brief case history and requested for nutritional and holistic treatment to help her with withstand chemotherapy better, reduce side effects and avoid recurrence of cancer, which was a big fear since she is BRCA1 positive. Her mother had also had cancer recurrences and Parul had grown up seeing her mother struggle with her cancers.Unfortunately, the normal treatment when patients undergoing chemotherapy that doctors give, their advice is limited to eat protein which translates to telling patients to eat paneer and drink milk, which itself is detrimental to the cancer patient’s health as milk feeds cancer cells and can make the cancer more aggressive as well as increase chances of recurrence especially if it’s a hormonal cancer. I understand the logic behind the doctors prescribing protein, as chemotherapy and the cancer itself causes the extreme and chronic fatigue and muscle wasting, but not all proteins are created equal and some can hinder the healing journey.
Hence, both the husband and wife were struggling with trying to combat chronic fatigue and muscle wasting with paneer and eggs and yoghurt and focusing on lentils and pulses for their protein intake. I always ask for the daily food routine when anybody signs up with me so that I can understand the level of aggression required to detoxify and rebuild a person.
My initial few weeks with Parul were tough. Parul was scared, had undergone so much trauma since childhood and was beginning to see cancer recurrences as her fate just like she had seen with her mother. Hence, the first three reviews went into helping her understand why it was important for her to keep the protocol of the charts that I was giving her and how each element was connected the other because we were looking at Parul not as “cancer” but as the person with the strength to overcome cancer. I was not treating cancer, I was treating Parul. Parul the person is a strong woman but whose emotional stability had been shaken by her own diagnosis. She had to overcome the disease and rebuilt her immune system by repairing it at a time when she was in extreme pain. This environment is provided by the right balance of, oxygenation and emotional well-being and is not just food. With her husband being her emotional strength, it was like Shagun ( her husband) and I working as a team while she was in and out of hospital, in order to ensure that we accelerated her recovery rate, increased her immunity and decreased her anxiety and pessimism for overcoming her cancer.
I remember my last line to Shagun on January 2, 2018 when he and I had fixed up the first consult to begin Parul’s healing journey:
Here’s dedicating 2018 to your wife’s healing.
And on Dussehra, Parul had conquered not just her cancer but also her emotional turbulence and is back with a bang being the strong woman she is. Her reports are absolutely normal, her cancer markers and inflammation markers are in range and she is dedicated towards continuing down this path of increasing immunity so that she can always stay healthy and avoid recurrence. It is rare to see such quick recovery from aggressive chemotherapy, surgery and radiation and still have a good immune system with in range inflammation markers in such a short period of time. In just 10 months, Parul and Shagun worked tirelessly towards reducing the side effects of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation so that gets her health and quality of life back via high energy and good health. And she did. Here is her account, in her own words:
My journey started when I turned 7. I was too young to understand what all this means when my mom was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. However, due to financial constraints, Dad took her to AIIMS and my mother underwent mastectomy. Since then, after every 5 years, she got cancer either in the breast or ovaries. In her entire life, she just had 6 chemotherapies because she was diagnosed either at stage 0 or stage 1. All this happened till the age of 45. My mother went to fight her ill health till the age of 58 when I got married.
Life was getting better for both me and my parents but things were planned otherwise. Just after a year of my marriage, my mom was diagnosed with Brain Tumour and chronic liver failure. At almost the same time, at the age of 28, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer which was a locally advanced metastatic cancer.
It seemed that the end was near, everything in life was getting worse and only one thing was going on in my mind – WHY ME? I was really scared to know that I will be having 16 chemotherapy sessions followed by mastectomy and radiotherapy sessions for almost five weeks considering that the treatment severely affects your liver, kidney & immunity in general. However, my husband motivated me to get the treatment and gave me the confidence that this is the first & last treatment you are having in your life. You will always stay healthy now onwards. Our family & friends were always there to support. But I was facing many issues – I was mentally broken, had anal fissures & unending nausea.
I was really concerned about the side effects of chemotherapy & radiotherapy and kept talking to my husband about it. During my last chemo, when my husband was sitting besides me in the hospital, he started reading one magazine and he got to know about Rachna. We got to know that she can help to reverse the side effects of chemo & assured us that there would be no recurrence if we follow her prescribed routine. My husband contacted Rachna and then we had a Skype call with her. In the very first call, she gave me all the confidence that she will help me recover & we should stop fearing recurrence if we are ready to change our food habits.
A few days later, my Mom was losing out and was surviving only on ventilator. The doctors mentioned that she may not live long enough. I, like every daughter, am very close to my Mom and I used to visit her after my radiotherapy sessions. By the time my radio therapy sessions almost got over, my mother passed away. I was broken but again when you have the best husband in the world who assures you that he will care for you like your own mother then you stay optimistic about life. I realised if God has given me the pain then he has also given me people in life who are always ready to take you out of that situation. Rachna has been of immense help and she came just at the right time when I needed her the most. I am thankful to her for showing me the bright side always!
Now after 10 months of the holistic treatment, I feel energetic & very positive about life. I believe my Mom is there with God & constantly praying for me & I am damn sure that best is yet to come. Also, I am sure nothing wrong can happen because I am giving best to my body and mind through Yoga & nutrition prescribed by Rachna.
Initially, when Rachna sent me the first chart, I felt a bit overwhelmed. I was just undergoing all the tiring treatments with doctors and chemotherapy had sucked all the energy out of me. I would read what was written, absorb only some of it and follow less than what I absorbed. Rachna explained to me that chronic fatigue and brain fog are common side effects of chemotherapy. There were times I followed 40%, which then became 70%. Then finally, one day, Rachna gave me a long monologue on getting a hold of myself. It was a stern Skype conversation where I felt I was standing in front of my school principal and had been a naughty girl. She got me back on track. Following the chart in parts was not an option, she told me. Everything works in combination with others whether it was the food, the supplements she gave me, or the gentle yoga or pranayama. The pranayama frankly, came onto my daily habits list the last because it was quite exhausting and boring to do. But as I began to see the benefits, my recovery became faster and my energy became higher, I finally gave in and started enjoying the 15 minutes I had to give to it every single day.
A large part of my quick recovery from such aggressive cancer is because along with conventional treatments, I ensured that I kept myself strong mentally and nourished myself physically. Because of Rachna’ diet regime, pranayama and exercises, my immune system stayed stronger and my muscle wasting and malnutrition, which is a common side effect of chemotherapy (as Rachna told me) were minimal. God has shown me the path to meet Rachna & her words of assurance are enough for me to think positive & be happy about the fact that my health & immunity is improving day by day. Today, I’m not just working towards staying healthy, I am focused on a higher quality of life and beating any chance of recurrence.
You can’t help it when you have bad genes but you can definitely do things that can boost your immunity and fight against the bad genes in your body. I am just following Rachna’s instructions to have that kind of immunity. I am very hopeful and positive about life because that thinking definitely attracts positive things. My own sister is hearing impaired by birth and life has been very difficult for her and all of us around but if she can stay happy and make most of it then…
WHY NOT ME.
Parul Thukral, 29 years, Breast Cancer Survivor & Winner