Viney K. is a health writer and advocate for healthy living. Viney was professor of English at IIT Bombay where she taught some of the brightest minds for 23 years (1974-97). She became a corporate and educator trainer and also co-founded a non-profit called GREAT Foundation to provide quality education to less privileged school students in Pune (India), where she's lived since 1997. In 2019, on turning 70, Viney quit all office work and became a writer to fulfill her childhood dream of writing. Completing a certified course in health-writing during lockdown, she is now published regularly in national and international magazines and websites. Viney is also a contributing writer for OneVillage!
What was your cancer diagnosis and how was it discovered?
I was in the best of health and in a training session when one morning I discovered a red flower-like image on my right breast. I felt frightened and got myself checked by a gynecologist the next day. A Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology (FNAC) was done and the report was positive. Mammography followed. I was shocked and shaken with the diagnosis.
What is the biggest piece of advice you have for newly diagnosed patients?
Get yourself tested regularly for cancer, even if it goes into remission. This is a treacherous disease and steals upon you on padded feet and throws you off balance when it enters your body.
What is the most important thing you learned from your cancer experience?
Don't ever believe you are in good health and can't get cancer. Learn as much as you can about this disease and the latest research on it, so that you are not taken by surprise when it attacks you or a near one. My greatest mistake was not to get a mammogram done every year because I feared the pain of the test.
What was the most difficult aspect of organizing your care/community?
My entire family stood by me throughout my treatment. I did not have to request any member for help. I am a never-married woman with no partner or children. My sisters, brother, their partners and children were with me every day. I had no difficulty organizing care, thanks to them.
What are three words you would use to describe your cancer experience?
I resented it.
Are there products, services, experiences or physicians that you couldn't be without?
I read about cancer, followed every aspect of treatment assiduously, spoke with my oncologists to find out about alternative ways of recovery from cancer, prayed with belief in God, used guided meditation for mental peace, and followed guidance from online survivors groups for ideas that they had used to go into remission.
Interested in connecting with Viney?
Connect with Viney via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kirpalviney. Read more from Viney in her article, How I Used Food to Complement my Cancer Treatment.