Samira Daswani and Monika her mom during cancer treatments

A daughter's cancer experience through the eyes of her mother

Guest post by Monika Daswani, Samira's mom

It was the 17th of January 2020.

I was on a spiritual pilgrimage and the phone rang at 4.30am. The jarring sound startled me in the quiet of the morning. Samira was in San Francisco, and I was In India.

I spoke softly into the phone to hear Samira say, “Mum they have diagnosed me with breast cancer.” I was silent. I looked into my Master’s face and responded, "Samira, the cards have been dealt. We will not pack up. Let us shuffle the cards and play the game."

Cancer for a common man means death. I thought of my family members shaken, and I told myself, "I have to stand straight and strong." I recalled my Master’s words, “You are not alone. God is with you." I am a child of the Universe. I have the strength of my Father in me. This is the time to use it. 

My strength is my belief and faith in the Lord. But how would anyone else accept this? It is very difficult. It is even more difficult to walk the journey. What choice does one have?

The intent drives the goal. My family pulled together to divide and conquer. Together we became Samira’s strength. It was the year of COVID, but we all reached America just before the world locked down and turned 2020 into a memorable year.

Samira's family when she was young

To conquer the effects of chemotherapy, being a chef, I drew strength from my chant and cooked and fed Samira everything the body would accept. In His mercy my child glowed like a fresh flower.

Samira’s partner was her strength. I could not take her to the salon to shave her hair off. I could not nurse the third degree, thirteen inch burn from her radiation treatment. Arko took over where I faltered.

My daughter-in-law Karina, who visited India against all odds to nurse her father during COVID, brought me all the Indian herbs and millets that would help Samira eat healthy even in the smallest bite.

Having walked the journey, I would reach out to all to say: you can do it. Focus on your intent. Discover the strength within and conquer unitedly.

Visiting ASCO this year of 2023 awakened me to the Infinite Gratitude I could offer to have survived the journey and help those who will walk this path after me.

About the author:
Monika Daswani is the CEO and a member of Helping Hands's Board of Directors. With her leadership, Helping Hands pivoted from a general non-profit to embrace the mission to spread awareness about cancer diagnosis, early detection, and support other patients and caregivers. She was the primary caregiver to her daughter, who was diagnosed with cancer. A self-taught chef, Monika Daswani has dedicated her life to the gourmet food catering industry. She is the Founder and CEO of Kitchen Stories, a food catering company that has provided Kolkata, and numerous cities in India, access to global cuisine for over 2 decades.
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1 comment

What a beautiful story of faith and courage.

Kamal Sengupta

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