Make Me Stronger

A call to action. A cry for help. An opportunity for you to realize your power to give strength to someone affected by a blood cancer (Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma). Get involved. Make someone stronger.

Amazing. Priceless. Blessed.

2

Note: Story contributed by Ekata, dedicated to her family and friends.

It’s been about a year and a half since I shared my Heartbroken story. A lot has happened since then.

I became a CFO. We witnessed a miracle in our family, reminding us that miracles are possible. Our dad saved our mom’s life. My sister-in-law was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, underwent surgery and treatment and is progressing well. Our dad’s parkinson’s is progressing quickly. I started a 3-5 day high dose radiation treatment, ended up needing 9 weeks. My brother watches over us all.

I started radiation on my chest region in mid-July, but remission was never part of the conversation. Our goal was to improve my lung function which was severely compromised. The initial 3-5 day treatment was extended to 10 days. When we realized the prolonged high-dose radiation wasn’t going to be sufficient, we further extended treatment with low-dose radiation on my right lung region.

9 weeks. Daily radiation, Monday thru Friday. Weekly transfusions went from weekly to 2-3 times a week if not more. Daily routine tasks became increasingly difficult. Nowadays, my version of exercise is emptying the dishwasher! We had to take a few breaks from radiation when it became too much on the body, rest a day and resume.

Looking back, the past 9 weeks have been rough to say the least, yet Amazing.

I’m physically significantly weaker and completely worn down, yet I have never felt emotionally stronger and more blessed. I’ve spent time with many of my loved ones, family and friends. Sharing laughs, making memories. Serious conversations and silly ones, laughing at things that aren’t remotely funny, that’s how we do. Each relationship uniquely special and irreplaceable.

I learned how to ask for help which is very difficult for me. But I’m so lucky that my family and friends make it seamless for me to ask. Sometimes I didn’t even have to ask because they just knew. Friends and extended family were constantly present, physically and otherwise. Sharing laughs, making memories.

The #BOOM campaign, a surprise that was better than anything we could have imagined as an expression of love and solidarity. Wrapped in a bubble of smiles, giggles, jokes, optimism, support and genuine love. Every time we check Facebook we are reminded of what amazing friends we have and that we are not alone. The overwhelming love and support from family, friends, acquaintances and strangers has been incredible. (Note: If you aren’t familiar with the #BOOM campaign, please check out my FB timeline and you’ll see what I mean.)

We had the best outdoors, end of summer, thank you for being in our life, carefree, lets hangout and party like we did in high school party – Riding Rainbows.

All of this, completely altering the tone and feel of the past several months. Priceless.

We were worried, some of us were scared, but we didn’t lose our focus. How could we, surrounded by so much love, positivity and prayers.

Last week, the radiation treatment came to an end. Unfortunately, despite extending the treatment to 9 weeks, we weren’t able to get rid of all the cancer in this region. I’m also extremely immune-compromised due to the treatment. This comes with strict and not fun rules such as limiting visitors, wearing a mask, no touching or hugging, staying home unless I have to go to the doctor’s or hospital, etc. All with the hope to do our best to make sure I don’t get sick.

We will know in the next few weeks how the lungs are doing, how the body is recovering and figure out where to go from here. We are extremely grateful for the cancer we did get rid of and the memories we made.

A lot has happened since I shared my Heartbroken story a year and a half ago.

I still have my scar from my heartbreak but it has healed beautifully. I have two more similar scars but they aren’t as deep because I was more prepared. The cancer has spread and is very resistant, but I am even more resistant.

Some people consider the winner of battle to be the one who claims the land when the battle is over. But to me, the champion is the one who didn’t lose himself during the battle.

So, no matter what happens, there is no “losing this battle” against cancer. Every day I choose to celebrate life the best I can given my limitations is a win. Every day I chose not to let the cancer consume me or define me is a victory. Every day I smile and make others smile is a success. Every day I try to be the best that I can be, with the humble hope to touch someone’s life or inspire someone, is a triumph. All of these victories outshine whatever the outcome may be.

For now, we rest and get ready for the next #BOOM.

A lot has happened since I shared my Heartbroken story.

We all discovered just how strong we are. How resilient we are. Friends showed us how strong we can be together.

Blessed.

3

________________________________________________________

Since March 2013, Make Me Stronger (MMS) volunteers have registered over 1,000 more donors to the bone marrow registry. The MMS family has also raised over $20,000 for different charities.

Collages, courtesy of Charmi Pena, http://www.charmipena.com

19 comments on “Amazing. Priceless. Blessed.

  1. MUKUND & NILAM PATEL
    October 9, 2014

    Daer Bahratbhai & Pushpaben,
    JS.Very heart touching story.Your family gives all of us strength & inspiration.You &
    your family members are always in my prayers everyday.Pu.Kanudada’s blessing are always with us.Ekta you are very strong women,May god gives you more & more strength everyday.
    Nilam & Mukund Patel

  2. Usha Mehta
    October 7, 2014

    Wow, you have contributed to my life by sharing your story. You are keeping me strong through life. Thanks for teaching us to stay happy

  3. Ela
    October 5, 2014

    Dear Ekata,
    JS. You and your family are true inspiration and good example of brave and strong mahatmas. You are on the right track of doing pratikraman and asking forgiveness for all past mistakes. May Pu.Kanudadaji bless you and guide you through this tough time of “bhogvato”. You, Bharatbhai, Pushpaben, Trupti are all in our daily prayers.
    Love Ela aunty/Suresh uncle and our whole family.

  4. Harshada Lotwala
    October 5, 2014

    Our Prayers and Trimantras to all Dev & Devis to do miraculous cure. Dada’s strength and anant Shakti be with you. Remember you are pure soul and nothing happens to the pure soul

  5. Dr.Shailesh Mehta
    October 5, 2014

    Mahatma Ekta,
    Jai sachchidanand.
    Truly appreciating and after all we are Pure self -Shudhatma , permanent and ever free from all pains ,just knower and seer. It may not remain like that but our knoweldge and conviction helps.
    Shaileshanandji (Dr)

  6. dinesh patel
    October 4, 2014

    Thanks for sharing your journey of courage & understanding. Its like when one makes a travel log of a tour. Your travel log gives the description of the in-sight of the inside.
    We pray the ‘Dada’ within you.
    Jai Sachchidanand

  7. Neha Badheka
    September 29, 2014

    Dear Ekata,
    Sending you positive energy and big hugs! You are truly a champion not in just words but in the actions you have taken in this fight. Thanks for sharing your story. xoxo Neha

  8. (bena)archana
    September 27, 2014

    dada with u ,jsca,dada’s blessing w u u r fighter ND U MAKE IT ONE DAY WITH SMILY FACE
    WITH ALL MHATMA’ PRTHANA,GET WELL SOON

  9. Pragna
    September 26, 2014

    Dear Ekta,

    Yours is a very inspiring story. I do believe in miracles. Of course, the love and support of friends and family is better than any medicine to make it easier. You have given us an inspiration to be stronger. You and your family members are always in my prayers. I know Kanudada’s blessings are with all of us.Take care.

    Jai Sachchidanand,

    Pragna

  10. Bharat Shah
    September 25, 2014

    Dear Ekta,

    I feel truly blessed for having known you. Knowing your story has brought me closer to the search of meaning in my life. I now realize what it means to have a meaning in life.
    God bless you and your amazing family.
    Bharat Uncle..

  11. Kinnary
    September 25, 2014

    Ekata may his give U the power to be stronger each day and may god show a miracle u r a very strong woman I really feel for you and your family

  12. Nisha
    September 25, 2014

    So beautiful and touching Ekta. You show rays of strength like the sun shining it’s way through a cloudy storm. You give so many people hope and it’s truly honorable and admirable how you started a positive movement of awareness about cancer – Boom, Make Me Stronger, the TV Asia special, are all powerful movements filled with amazing energy and prayers that can make miracles. In this entire process, you have even managed to help others. You will always be my inspiration.

  13. Simi Tolani Shukla
    September 25, 2014

    Goosebumps — you can see them all over my skin after reading your post. You and your family are the definition of the words “inspiration” & “strength”. Sending wide, ever stretching air hugs your way. #BOOM

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