Noted film maker Deedi Damodaran was busy with the editing of a new project, in 2008, when the report confirming that she is suffering from cancer came out. Deedi was informed about it while she was still at the editing table. An array of tests and procedures awaited her in the evening and by night she was already on a hospital bed. Before Deedi could realize the severity of her condition, she underwent a major surgery the next day itself. The medication and further treatment were planned only after the surgery. She opens about her battle with the disease and how she fought bravely:
Deedi says that she was diagnosed with cancer when she was working as an active volunteer with the ‘pain and palliative care’ and was beginning to think that she indeed was doing a great service to the cancer patients. “It was only then that I actually realized how little the patients receive from our activities. The way I perceive and work in palliative care has significantly changed after I was diagnosed with cancer,” noted Deedi.
The film maker is of the opinion that creating awareness is extremely important so that it will enable the cancer patients to face the reality. “At least some people believe that the cancer patients are to be blamed for bringing it up on themselves. The patients have to wait for other’s mercy at many places. It is unimaginable to let the patients wait in queue to get a paper work done for their treatment. All these may force them to think that they are a liability and it will affect them mentally as well. The unpleasant attitude towards the illness would be changed if the financial burden that the treatment would cause is eased. Many do not realize that each type of cancer has different symptoms and treatment regimen. The cancer patients would be referred to as just someone who died of cancer. Cancer is like a huge ancestral home where many families live together,” Deedi makes her stand clear.
What’s in hair?
Deedi firmly believes that it is high time that the beauty norms of the society change. She says, “When I had long hair, I considered it a great tragedy if the ends of my hair were chopped more than a centimeter long. However, I felt relaxed and was at ease when I lost my hair. It was only after I was diagnosed that I realized that your real worth has got nothing to do with a centimeter of your hair strand.”
Deedi still believes that her recovery was a miracle. “I still have many health problems. There are many who had the same illness as I had, but didn’t survive for more than five years. My mother kept praying, ‘Save my child; instead let me have her illness’. A checkup was done when she began to complain that food tasted different. Everyone thought that she had liver cirrhosis. Further tests confirmed that she had liver cancer. She died at the age of 65, even before proper treatment could begin. I believe that my mother left this world, taking away my illness,” mentioned Deedi.
Will open up
“Cancer is not a monster. Shouldn’t those who survived say it aloud? I am ready to shout it out from anywhere at any time. I am not doing this for publicity and I don’t need it because I had cancer. I don’t postpone the phone calls of someone who fights cancer. I will talk to them no matter how busy I am, because I know what they are going through. When facing cancer, it is as if your body is fighting as a whole. So people should be made prepared to face it, realizing the severity of the disease,” concluded Deedi.