Imperfections are Beautiful: Sonali Bendre


Bollywood actress Sonali Bendre was diagnosed with high-grade cancer last year. She has been a source of inspiration for many for the way she battled with cancer. Cancer fighter Sonali Bendre has been very vocal about her fight with cancer since the time she has returned to India after getting the treatment in New York. Sonali had left the world shocked when she shared a post about her being diagnosed with high-grade cancer on her social media account. Since then she has become an inspiration to her fans and millions fighting cancer. Sonali Bendre appeared latest in FICCI FLO Bangalore Chapter, and addressed the gathering in Hotel Shangrila, along with a conversation with Rajeev Masand- A famous film critic. The discussion was opened by Shruti Mittal, Chairperson FICCI Flo Bangalore greeting Sonali Bendre.

She shared her feelings and the entire process from the time she got to know the disease and till time she is addressing the gathering here, Sonali says that “Every time I try to talk about it, It still brings that little bit of tingling in my skin. It does happen still.  But the good part is that I’m here today and I can actually talk about it. I can’t thank enough for that, my friends and my family and everybody. It takes about a week to realize that it’s getting worse. So every time my positivity would say okay let’s get on with this. And every day I was hearing something worse and every time a new report would come and something more is bad. So eventually we realize that it was far worse than what we thought. It was literally in an overnight that we went to the US and suddenly it was not so easy to leave home in two days because we didn’t know when we would return back. That was one thing I was very sure about, I just didn’t know when. But I could see it on everybody’s faces that they didn’t know if I would come back. So we reached the US that overnight and next morning the first thing was the appointment. I go there and my doctor tells me 30% chances of survival of getting through this. And suddenly it really hits me that everything that I’ve been doing, being try to organize my life, there was no running away from that fact and at that point of time I had to accept it.

And that’s when I made up my mind, okay fine this is the last day that I’m going to sit and that’s when I did ask myself why me, and that night when I was thinking about it. I said to myself but you know what it has happened and I’m not going to ask again in a negative way. My doctors said you have such a healthy lifestyle but it has happened because of genetics and if it is there in your genes, your healthy lifestyle will help you recover from it, it will help you deal with it but you get it. The way to deal with cancer what I realized is the early diagnosis and the early detection. So if you detect it early, because the treatment is harsher than the disease. It is so harsh to get it out of your system. So if you detect it early you don’t have to go through such a harsh treatment and that I think is a huge battle won. For an early detection not only have regular routine check-ups but cancer check-ups. Cancer is a very big world and there are different types of cancer and ways of detecting it and diagnosing is different. It’s not an easy thing to do. I have put out the post because I don’t want gossip around it. I had a show at that point of time and suddenly I didn’t want to disappear from the show. There will so many questions raised and definitely some gossip around it. So I just wanted my narrative to be mine I put it out in that way.

She also talks about the time when she lost her hair during chemotherapy and how it was an important part of her personality. Talking about her journey, the actress said, ‘When she looks back, life has all been about hair, as she has endorsed every hair product back in time ‘. The actress also talked about getting her first break via hair oil commercial. Recalling her first chemotherapy session and the night she could barely sleep, Sonali said she introspected and started to look at things in a much positive manner.

Sonali Bendre had shared many intricate details about her treatment back in New York. She had stated, “I think humor is the best way to deal with it. I laughed through it, I laughed with it. And I continue to laugh at it. There is no other way to deal with it. I think I will change my vocabulary. I remember that post-surgery, I would sometimes walk around the hospital with my chemotherapy IV in my hand, because I was bored of lying down. I told myself, I am spending so much of money here, so I will treat it like a holiday in NY, with a little bit of chemos thrown in. That was my way of dealing with it.” She said though the disease is scary, the treatment is more painful. “Early detection is most important. Right now the disease is less scary the treatment is actually more frightening and painful. If it were detected early, the cost of treatment would have been less. It would also have been a lesser painful treatment,” she added.

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