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Home News and Update Year 2013 LIKE A PHOENIX, SHE RISES…


Times of India
10 July 2013
New Delhi, India.
Manisha Koirala, who has returned to the life she treasures after defeating ovarian cancer, talks about her six-month ordeal

Aaj main upar, asmaan nichey…sang Anne of Khamoshi: The Musical. And today, Manisha Koirala, the gorgeous actress who essayed the role can say the same. She has beaten all the odds and come out on top. Fate has bowed down in front of her zeal and courage.

The vivacious actress was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in November last year and after a six-month arduous battle, she has come out a winner. The actress returned to Mumbai on June 26 and today as she recuperates in her Versova home, she is discovering joy in the little pleasures of life. She is spending time enjoying the Mumbai monsoon, watching Woody Allen and Danny Boyle movies and hunting down the occasional organic food shops near her locality. It seems as if it is a rebirth and it was to Mirror, that Manisha opened up and spoke about the ordeal at length.

It all started with a by–chance discovery and it turned her world upside down. "Ovarian cancer is often not diagnosed early as its symptoms are vague. I used to get exhausted very fast and my stomach had bloated. And one day, I decided to go for a check–up." What the tests revealed, shook the ground under Manisha’s feet."I don't remember when it actually began to sink in-the fear… the disbelief…" her voice trailed off.

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Although, initially admitted to Jaslok Hospital, she was soon whisked off to New York. And it was Manisha’s mother who took the call: "Mom has school friends who are established doctors in America. Whatever had to be done had to be done immediately and I followed her instinct."

At Sloan Kettering Hospital in NY, Manisha underwent a surgery under the supervision of Dr Dennis Chi and her chemotherapy sessions began under the astute guidance of oncologist Dr Vicky Makker. Recalling the time, Manisha said: "Doctors told me that chemotherapy would make me lose my hair. So I shaved off my head." But, her luscious strands are slowly coming back.

It is during difficult times that true friendships are tested and Manisha considers herself lucky: "I was blessed to have my loving and protective family rallying around me. And I met two people who must be brothers from my past life- Dr Narula and Dr Narain. They constantly guided my parents and I on how I should face the challenge."

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And as per instructions, Manisha began with a new regime. "Now, it is important to eat nutritional food which is high in protein, exercise regularly, pray, meditate, be optimistic, surround myself with positive people." She has become particular about her food: "I went out to locate shops where they sell organic food, zeroed down on a few of them. Back in Mumbai, I have located similar shops in Bandra and Juhu," she said, emphasising that though she loves to eat non-vegetarian food, she avoids eating mutton/chicken/fish because she feels that the quality of non-vegetarian stuff in India is terribly wanting. "I am also staying away from milk. I learnt in NY that cows are fed with hormones and antibiot ics," she said.

Finally, Manisha was not fighting cancer but cancer was fighting Manisha. "I don't like the term fight. I would rather say the highquality treatment worked for me and I'm equally thankful for the prayers and blessings. used to chat with my Oneness teacher Namannji via Skype, while my mother’s guru Pilot Babaji visited me in NY and blessed me. I also pray to Poojya Pitaji from Sirsa. Friends from India and NY were constantly praying for me." Then came Subrata Roy Sahara, who helped her to reach out to some of the best doctors in NY. "Subroto’s help was priceless. He had arranged a team to help me at all critical junctures," she said.

The actress plans to get back to work by October. "I am inspired and excited by the bolder, unusual crop of films and directors that we witness today. I have worked with some great directors and am looking forward to newer challenges."

But it is not only films that are on her mind. While recuperating in New York, confined to her apartment, Manisha had started penning notes, which she intends to convert into a book some time soon. She intends to call it her 'memoir'. "I am meeting publishers. It all started when I began to reflect on the reasons of suffering from this cancer. Medical science says it could be due to excessive lifestyle, excessive radiations and bad eating habits. But, never for a moment did I let any negative thought seep into my mind. I didn't even ask myself: Why Me?"

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