In Conversation with Vaishnavi Indran Pillai
Vivaah Celebrations commends the human spirit of fighting against challenges and adversities. This is proven yet again as communities around the world device their own mechanisms and frameworks to battle the wrath of the coronavirus that has consumed many lives and has disrupted socio-economic conditions in most parts of the world.
While this is a battle that has been recognized globally, there are many other challenges and battles humanity has been fighting over generations. The survivors and the victors are true inspiration for others fighting a similar battle. This October, we celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Heroes walk amongst us and are seldom recognized. They feed power to the weak, they lead by example and most definitely stand as strong pillars in the society.
We spoke to one such warrior who stared adversity in the eye, fought it headfirst and set a precedent for others battling breast cancer.
Proud to introduce – Vaishnavi Indran Pillai, a girl chasing her dreams of inspiring the community through various dance forms and performances.
When were you diagnosed?
I was first diagnosed in 2013 (I was 22 years old), it was breast cancer and then again in 2018 (I was 27 years old) I was diagnosed with relapsed breast cancer which had spread spread to the liver and backbones
What were your feelings when you received the news? How did you cope with them?
At first, I was shocked, I didn’t know what the severity of the disease was, but the second time was disappointment, as I thought I had beaten the disease. I wasn’t very good at coping with the disease but I did whatever I could to deal with it. I had a wonderful support system, my family, friends and now social media.
How long and intense was your treatment process?
Treatment for the first time was very traumatizing and agonizing. I didn’t understand the side effects of the treatment that would literally be so painful. Treatment lasted about 5 years. Basically, I had surgery, lumpectomy, which would take you about a month to recover from. Then its chemoport insertion which will take a couple of weeks to recover. Then it was 6 rounds of chemotherapy (once every 3 weeks), 17 rounds of targeted chemotherapy, 37 rounds of radiation and 5 years hormone therapy (this was oral tablets)
But then in 2018, I was again diagnosed with relapsed breast cancer, so there were another 6 rounds of chemotherapy, bone therapy, hormone therapy and targeted chemotherapy are for lifetime. I am still undergoing cancer treatment, and they are for life. It is very tough as it is financially, physically, emotionally and mentally burdening.
How did you feel when you were diagnosed again?
I was disappointed, scared, sad and broken. Nope, I was nowhere near positive, in fact I nearly gave up.
What inspired you to have such a bold and powerful bridal wedding shoot?
Honestly, I always dreamt of being a bride, however when I got cancer, that feeling vanished, but then I told myself, I needed to set an example for society to understand and believe in the deeper meaning of beauty and what better than a bold bridal wedding shoot. I’m still not married yet though as that was just a conceptual photo shoot but it felt great being a bride for the little while that I was.
What advice do you have to give to women who are fighting a similar battle?
Don’t give up, don’t lose hope. Fight this disease by living happily and positively. What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger
To follow Vaishnavi’s ongoing activities and inspiring life story, follow her on Instagram: