There’s no finish line

Namrata Devikar
Sunday, 22 December 2019

Cancer could not stop these women from taking up and pursuing fitness

A major illness affects not just the patient but also the family. But the stories of Dr Mitali Upadhye and Dr Manisha Doiphode show how every problem can be turned into a challenge and overcomed.

Helping and treating patients was all that Dr Upadhye, a holistic cancer care consultant in Pune, did. But in 2013, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. “I had stage 3 ovarian cancer. And it was very unexpected for me. Most patients feel the same way. But I made a very conscious choice of not letting this deter my strong will to get better. And in that process, I decided to give myself time and heal myself,” says Dr Upadhye.

She emphasises on the power of holistic wellbeing for which one has to modify lifestyle, make changes in nutrition and heal emotional issues. “To make my lifestyle healthier, I picked up running. We often underestimate the power our mind holds over healing and recovering. For better impact of medicines, it is equally important to have a positive attitude. And running helped me through all of this,” says Dr Upadhye.

After being diagnosed with cancer, she took up walking and running, but her family was not really happy with the idea.

“I ran my first Pinkathon when I was ill. And my husband was so worried that he ran beside me all along. My son and my husband supported me but they were very concerned. However, running did make me feel more positive about myself,” recalls Dr Upadhye.

When she started to train early morning, she joined the group of Pune Runners. “Being there with the group and running helped me a lot. We all motivate each other and help each other. They have been great friends to me and have been my support system. just like my family,” says Dr Upadhye.

She further adds that running has now become a family time sport. “We all get very busy in our day-to-day life and family time is reduced because of this. But as I started running, my husband and my son also accompanied me. At first, it was their concern. But later they also started enjoying the energy which running gives. Today, we go to different cities like Hydreabad and Kolhapur for running in marathons. It has now become an activity that we all do together,” says Dr Upadhye.

Cancer with a positive twist
A geneticist, Dr Manisha Doiphode feels that in the darkest of hours, we find the light within us. “Cancer was difficult for me and my family. But during that time, I started a new venture. It was like a new hope. As doctors, we help patients to go through and beyond their illness. As doctors, the same applies to us as well,” says Doiphode.

Way before her diagnosis, she was into running. “Running always gave me a positive energy. I felt strong every time I finished a race. I have been running, meditating and doing yoga for a long time. After my breast cancer diagnosis, I had to undergo a surgery. And post surgery, chemotherapy and radiation sessions were advised. But during my chemo sessions and radiation as well, I did not stop going for a run,” she says.
Many women feel restricted when it comes to running. “They feel that they cannot run in a saree or are very conscious when they go out to exercise. I just want to tell them that they should not restrict themselves. You can run in a saree or anything you feel comfortable in. Running is about your wellness and well-being. So don’t let any barrier stop you from staying healthy,” she advises.

She further adds that during her treatment, she faced difficult times but putting on the shoes and running gave her hope. 

“During my chemotherapy and radiation as well, I did not stop running. I rested as I often felt weak. But after proper rest, I went for a regular run,” recalls Dr Doiphode.

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