The year 2016 was a especially hard one for Shruti Sethi. Her demanding job was stressing her out and things were not very pleasant at home either. The Mumbai resident was coming to terms with a troubled marriage. She knew she was clinically depressed but what added to the burden was the pressure to show a calm and happy face to the world.
And then, she was diagnosed with cancer.
“My body had started showing symptoms for a few months. I craved sugar more than ever, I got sick more often and my energy was at an all-time low. I blamed all of this on my lifestyle. But then a lump on my throat signalled towards something more serious. It wasn’t painful but it was unusual and I got tests done. I had Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” Shruti shares with The Better India (TBI).
Naturally, Shruti found it hard to process the news. She was just 34 and didn’t think she had the strength to face such a horrible truth. She retreated further into her shell, refusing to talk to even close friends.
“By then, I had separated from my husband. The only thought running in my head was, why me? I already had so much on my plate to deal with. Wasn’t that enough?” she shares.
In such dark times, she found comfort in presence of her parents supported her during her chemotherapy sessions.
Though she didn’t know it at the time, Shruti would go on to not only overcome a potentially deadly disease and also guide people to lead healthier lives. You can join her online workshop by clicking here.
Cancer: A Battle for The Body and Mind
Hodgkin’s lymphoma affects over two in 100,000 people in India. Early diagnosis can help one battle it but once it reaches a higher stage, it becomes increasingly difficult to triumph over it. By the time Shruti woke up to the very real possibility of the disease becoming fatal, she had already reached stage 3. She also knew it was still not too late to get serious about her treatment.
“Initially, it was difficult for me to accept the situation and I was in denial for a long time. A few lifestyle changes were inevitable but I started coughing abnormally in November of 2016. I couldn’t move my arm or neck. That’s when I snapped back to reality. I had reached the third stage of cancer and now, I had no choice but to accept it. Chemotherapies began and I had begun researching on how I could alter my lifestyle to deal with the aftermath of the chemo sessions,” she says.
Several doctors had suggested she switch to a plant-based diet. A vegetarian throughout her life, Shruti had to give up her favourite butter and cheese. But these were small prices to pay for her health. At the same time, she began practising yoga because chemotherapies were going to have a huge toll on her physical and mental health.
Speaking about her recovery, Shruti says, “Nutritionists had recommended a whole grain plant-based diet to me and an inclusion of anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer foods. A combination of effective chemo sessions and a vegan diet really helped me. I was cancer-free in four chemo sessions. During recovery, I could feel higher energy levels and although I was never a morning person, I could now wake up around 5 am for my yoga sessions. I lost my hair to chemotherapy but a high nutrition vegan diet brought them back!”
Learn Shruti’s vegan, dairy-free recipes that helped her enjoy her favourite dishes. Join her online workshop by clicking here.
Showing the Vegan way, from Mumbai to Jaipur:
Shruti is happy to share that she has completely recovered from the lymphoma today and all of her medical reports since 2017 have been normal. She shifted to Jaipur a couple of years ago to start afresh and as she shared her story in her social circle, people encouraged her to become a life coach. A change she happily embraced.
“People battling diabetes, PCOS and other lifestyle diseases come to me seeking guidance on how to give up dairy. I walk them through the process and share recipes and tricks to incorporate a vegan diet in their lives. When you make a lifestyle change as huge as this, you need constant guidance and encouragement, at least in the initial stages. Through my social media groups, I provide them that,” says the cancer-survivor.
She has conducted successful sessions in Jaipur, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Dubai and other parts of the world. If you are on the brink of becoming vegan but just need the right push, then Shruti’s online workshop is the encouragement you need. She will give a demo showing how to prepare various dairy-and-preservative-free recipes and also show how to make almond milk, dairy-free curd, dairy-free buttermilk, peanut butter and vegan mayonnaise. You can learn all of this at the comfort of your home.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)