Back in 2013, when one of my very close friends confirmed that she was diagnosed with cancer, I couldn’t handle it. I sunk into my sofa and burst into tears. I was already missing the times we had spent together and this news didn’t help at all. But, 7 years later, when she was all better and happy to be a mother, I decided to write about her because I thought she could be an encouragement, especially to those fighting cancer.

At various instances, I was quite inspired, by her, myself. When I had heard half the news from common friends, I called her up and asked her about it. She spoke calmly and patiently explained to me what happened in the past few months. Of course, I cried only once we disconnected. During her treatment, she decided to lose the curls she was known for and confidently walked around with no hair on her head. She made it look so easy and natural. She endured all the pain with a smile on her face. The best thing was that she was herself whenever I spoke to her during those days. We would still joke and laugh as usual.

cancer survivor
Audrey Sequeira with her husband

But, here is sneak-peak about Audrey Sequeira, the cancer survivor and her journey with the second leading cause of death worldwide:

  1. Tell us more about you! (I already know, but this is for those reading)
    My name is Audrey and I was quite an active participant in various sports and outdoor activities back in the country I was born in: Kuwait. I got married in December 2012 and soon moved to Bahrain with my husband. Professionally, I am an accountant and have done my ACCA from UK. I recently became a mother to a gorgeous little boy, so, currently busy with the house and baby.
  2. How and when did you get to know about the cancer?
    A few months after getting married and moving to Bahrain, I began suffering from a persistent dry cough that would not go away. As I didn’t get a cold quite often, I initially assumed it was the Bahrain weather that did not suit me. But, then whenever I exerted myself, I would feel faint and weak. That’s when I visited the doctor. They said I had a cold but on insisting that I felt that something wasn’t right, the doctors agreed to do an x-ray where they found an abnormal mass next to my lungs.
  3. Which cancer were you diagnosed with?
    The cancer was called Non-hodgkin’s B-Cell Lymphoma, which is the swelling of the lymph-nodes. This mass would push against my lungs making it difficult for me to breathe.
  4. How was your reaction? And what about the reaction of your family?
    Initially, we were all surprised, shocked and confused because we were unsure about what exactly we were dealing with. But, my family was quite level headed and kept their calm, at least in front of me. Everyone was quite curious about the test results throughout the treatment.
    More than being afraid of anything happening to me, I was worried about the pain my loved ones would go through because of this and their fear of losing me.
  5. How and where did you decide to get the treatment, for the cancer, done?
    The doctors in Bahrain recommended that I fly to India within a week and do whatever has to be done in India itself. I guess they knew that it had reached a stage which required immediate attention. They also suggested that I do the treatment where I was comfortable, where I had someone to look after me and where I had my support system. We gathered all the information possible and decided to do the treatment in Bombay Hospital which had highly qualified doctors for such cases. And, with the help of my aunt (who was also a cancer survivor) we were able to stay comfortably throughout my treatment in Bombay. My doctor said that it was good I had come at the time I did or we could have had a different result, as fluids were rapidly filling in my lungs.
  6. In short, tell us more about your treatment.
    After several tests, my oncologist gave us two treatment options. One was the older and slower treatment and the one we opted for was a newly/recently approved aggressive treatment. It required me to go through 6 months of chemotherapy and included 6 cycles, with a 30 day gap between two cycles. This gap was meant to assess the immunity of my body and give it time to recover. Luckily, the treatment did not involve the injection treatment. During the cycle, my body was given strong doses of the chemotherapy medication through an IV line (intravenous treatment) once a month. The chemotherapy treatment was 99.95% successful. Then, I opted to go for radiation therapy every day for 25 days to cure that remaining .05%. After this, I spent time with family in India before I went back to Bahrain. In Bahrain, I concentrated on resting, getting myself back to good health and eating healthy.
  7. How long after this did you get pregnant?
    In 2016, we had a miscarriage by the end of three months, but the doctors said it was normal and that was why women are generally advised to be careful during their first trimester. So, we decided to give my body sometime before we tried again. In 2018, with God’s Grace, our conception and pregnancy term was successful without any complications or discomfort. And, in March 2019, I delivered a healthy baby boy.
  8. Who was part of your support system during these tough times?
    I have very supportive parents and loving siblings. They did not involve me in the technicalities of the treatment, back then, so that I could focus on healing myself. I’m also blessed to have a wonderful husband who stood by me, without giving it a second thought. My (late) Aunt Sandra was imperative in getting me through the treatment with ease. She was such a positive spirit and inspiration because she was also a cancer survivor. She passed away recently from a relapse. Her husband was also a great support during those times.
    Besides my family, it was Dr. BK Smruti, my oncologist, who was positive throughout this journey of mine. I am also grateful to my GP, Dr. S. Tampi who assisted me every step of the way. The nurses at Bombay Hospital were also very efficient and supportive.
  9. Did the doctors assess how one develops a cancer or tumour?
    No one could really pin point the actual cause for the cancer. According to the doctors, it could be anything related to our lifestyles or the food we consume or the products we use. But, after the treatment was successful, they did suggest that I adopt a healthy lifestyle and took care of myself from thereon.
  10. What tips, suggestions and advice would you like to give those suffering from cancer and undergoing the treatment today?
    a) First and foremost, like everyone says, the key is to be positive. Of course, with all the negative things that tend to bring you down, like fear of the treatment not working out, symptoms, illnesses, sicknesses, negative people, it is extremely difficult to look at this positively but you have to stay, be and think positive. Keep the negative vibes at bay.
    b) I had secluded myself in one room and stayed away from everyone, except my family. I would watch movies, play Candy Crush or the video games that my husband got for me. So, you have to keep yourself away from stress and you have to keep yourself busy.
    c) Basically, do things that make you happy, eat things that make you happy, talk to people that make you smile or laugh, think about happy and positive things. Smile at your doctors and nurses or you could share a joke and laugh with them, too. I strongly believe that a strong positive mental atmosphere helps you heal better.
    d) It is extremely important to go for your regular follow ups after your treatment.
    e) Last, but not the least, pray, have faith in God and fight one day at a time.

Audrey’s journey with cancer showed me how being positive can actually do wonders for you. I have met different types of people in my life and I have seen how internal optimism keeps you motivated through hard times. Even though I wasn’t around her when she was going through all of this, I thought that bringing out her journey would be a great way to celebrate her triumph in life. Also, perhaps this could motivate another woman struggling with an illness.

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While we are going through hard times, we tend to forget that there are others who are fighting to stay alive. I hope that this blog has given some of you hope, in case you’re going through crap. While it is pretty easy for us to post pictures for women’s empowerment and say that we support women, how many of us are actually celebrating another woman’s triumph? How many of us are actually lifting up another woman’s spirits or helping her through her bad times? How many of us send opportunities to other women without expecting something relevant in return?

During this season of Advent, let’s all give and help each other as much as we can. I am part of the Women Supporting Women community #WSWBlogHop and I truly believe that we should empower each other and grow together!

cancer survivor
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Check out Jyothi Jha’s thoughts on WOMEN EMPOWERMENT

Cindy D'Silva
Cindy D'Silva
Cindy D'Silva, besides being a mother of two angels, is a belly dancer, writer and photographer. She loves partying, bowling and eating sushi. There is a detailed biography about her on the ABOUT ME page in case you would like to know more. :)You can like and follow her Facebook page to get all updates on the latest blogs and more: https://www.facebook.com/blogaberry/

35 Comments

  1. More power and respect to Audrey for successfully defeating Cancer. Glad to know she has healed and a mom now. Blessings and wishes for her family. Thank u Cindy for sharing her heart-touching inspiring story of never losing hope.

  2. Akanksha Singh says:

    She is a fighter and a positive help for people like me who get scared even with the thought of it.

  3. Vaishali Sudan Sharma says:

    Wow !! You are such a strong lady and it feels so good to read about such strong women. More power and kuddos to you <3
    Also, good one cindy, you shared her journey very well.

  4. Jyoti says:

    This is very inspiring post i must say . Knowing about cancer itself is scary then think about the person who actually experiences it. Kudos to Audrey.

  5. Kavita Singh says:

    This is a much-needed inspirational story of strength and a strong support system we all need. You are one hell of a strong woman Audrey, hope you are living a happy and fruitful life with your family. Much Love:)

  6. I have had the honor of knowing such strong people in my life personally. Audrey is an inspiration and the most positive person I have read about lately. More power to her, and thank you for sharing about her journey with us.

  7. Having had close family members fight against Cancer, this post touched a chord within me. Reading about Audrey’s journey is really inspiring and is surely a story of solace and motivation.

  8. Amrit Kaur says:

    Ohh, it was a tough journey for her but she fought with it and survived cancer with her dedication and focus on her dreams. Family support matters a lot too.

  9. Dr Bushra says:

    Audrey Sequeira journey as the cancer survivor is very inspiring and motivating for everyone of us. I can’t even imagine the pain she’s been through and she overcome all hurdles with strong determination

  10. Very inspiring with pain comes courage and is truly so positive and inspiring interview. Yes being positive help because it gives hope that is a Fountain of positivity. Well written dear.

  11. Indeed her story is very inspiring and thank you for sharing it. Inner strength and positivity do go a long way in helping one heal. And having a supportive family like hers is like having a strong bedrock to stand on. I can imagine how shocking it must have been to get diagnosed with cancer at such a young age. So proud to see how they all dealt with it so calmly and ultimately triumphed. And finally really happy for their baby! Please pass on my congratulations!

  12. Shreemayee Chattopadhyay says:

    What an inspirational story. I can feel what she has gone through as in my home I did see my mom fighting against this dreadful experiences. But, the end is really wonderful. Congratulations to her delivering a healthy baby 🥰. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Judy says:

    Audrey Sequeria’s cancer journey right from getting detected to remission is really very inspiring. Kudos to her will and the support of her family because of these she was able to sail through this bad phase of her life.

  14. Cancer can dampen the spirit of not just the person suffering from it but of the entire family… so its how the patient deals with it and like Audrey, it’s the positive attitude towards life, will to survive and the zest for life that can keep you motivated in fighting this disease.

  15. Real-life stories like Audrey’s should be known to everyone. This is a real heroine who has faced so much trauma and adversity but still has come out strong and positive. My salute to her!

  16. Audrey js really brave. I have heard patients talkimg about the pain and the trauma. She is really an inspiring woman to have come.out a stronger person.

  17. Thanks for sharing your friend’s story Cindy. She is an inspiration. More power to her for being so strong through it all. I really wish her well and hope stays healthy and happy.

  18. Audrey is an inspiration for human kind. It’s easy said than done but fighting with such a deadly diseases is not easy .Hatts off to her strength and positive attitude towards life.

  19. Urvashi says:

    Having inspiration in a friend is the best experience of life. We learn so much from the people around us. I am pleased to see that you were able to acknowledge and support your friend to bring her story to your readers. We always forget we follow big stories only but learning and inspiration of life and happiness is coming from our own friends like Audrey

  20. A common cough is very easy to pass on as a regular everyday thing. I am happy that you are pass the worst. You have been really brave. Sending you more positively

  21. Smitha N says:

    Audrey life is seriously so inspring for all the cancer survivors… Being positive can achieve or heal anything a read up cindy well written your friends cancer phase is worth reading

  22. Thats really heart wrenching. Cancer is a silent killer. Your friend came out a winner. Kudos to her spirit, her contention and wishing her loads of health.

  23. Jhilmil says:

    Such an inspirational post shared by you Cindy! Dealing with cancer and healing with all positivity is so important. She is indeed one of the strongest women I’ve ever known.

  24. She is very brave. Even I have a cancer survivor at home my elder sister in law. The fight was tough for the entire family. Even kids braved it well. Glad she is healthy now.

  25. Arti Singh says:

    Women is a epitome of love and strength and this blog firmly confirms the same. There is nothing if a women sets her mind can’t change or chase. Thank you for sharing her story and inspiring us

  26. Such an inspiring woman and I’m happy that you have a good friend and she passees on the inspiration to all of us.

  27. Wow what a fighter Audrey is! I don’t think I’ve ever heard of someone conceiving after they survived cancer. Truly awesome and you have captured her story so well through your interview.

  28. Alpana Deo says:

    Audrey is an example of not loosing hopes even in the toughest of times. Knowing about cancer itself is scary then think about the person who actually experiences it. Kudos to Audrey. As she also mentioned about her supportive family, it is very important to be with your support system. Sometimes, their company and our willpower plays a very big role.

    Thanks a lot Cindy for introducing us to such an inspiring personality. congratulations to Audrey for her baby too.

  29. Very inspiring story of your friend Cindy. I can imagine your state of mind when you came to know of it for the first time. Positive attitude made Audrey sail through her tough times and I was awestruck with her beaming smile.

  30. Very inspiring share Cindy. One of my friends is a cancer survivor and she is such a positive person. I see that when one goes through such trauma it is those who have faith and who are strong that survive. We have much to be grateful for if we are healthy. Really applaud people like Audrey, who go through so much and inspire others. God bless.

  31. A beautiful post shared by you, Cindy. I have seen the pain closely as my mother had it 5 year’s back, she was detected with a stage 2 endometriosis cancer. Our world too came crashing down as she is the emotional bond that holds us together as a family. Positivity and early diagnosis is the key to fight this dreadful “C”. Three C’s helped us to fight back Communication, Composure and Chemo.

  32. Jyoti Jha says:

    It is with the force of positivity and determination that one can confidently sail through the difficulties life throws at us. Your friend is an example of such positivity. Her story and triumphant struggle through this unfortunate situation in her life, is very inspiring and heart-touching.
    Praying for her well being always!
    And you have truly pointed out ‘While we are going through hard times, we tend to forget that there are others who are fighting to stay alive’
    We need to be more aware of people around us, and reach out to one another.
    It was really heartwarming to see you connect with Audrey in her most difficult times.

  33. Archana says:

    I can’t even imagine the level of pain Audrey and her husband must have gone through, kudos to her courage to share painful experience and right way to live everything whole-heartedly believing it might help someone, somewhere going through the same pain. Great to know that your friend won the battle against the life threatening disease and that too with flying colors, certainly faith and positive attitude can do miracles!! Hope Audrey is living her life to the fullest with her husband and son in Bahrain.

  34. In my family my mother in law is a cancer survivor and I had seen that phase of dealing with the disease so closely. luckily, like your friend audrey she also recovered with her positive attitude and faith in God. i really like the tips that audrey has shared in the post. I agree positive attitude is first and most important thing that helps a lot in dealing with any adverse situation. also, quite impressed with your end message. I also feel the same, that it is very easy to share fancy pictures on SM but doing something more meaningful is way more important than that. loved your post so much. God bless your friend.

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