I Didn’t Even Ask Myself, Why Me: Manisha Koirala

Manisha Koirala speaks out about her life-changing experiences with cancer, and her return to Bollywood.

MUMBAI: Manisha Koirala has defeated ovarian cancer and has now made a refreshing return to life. She has always been a strong woman, but her experiences with cancer have made her even more headstrong.

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These experiences are being penned down in detail by Manisha herself to be later made into a 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?”

Speaking about her first reaction when she realised she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the actress said, “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.” For what happened next, it took all of her strength and courage, and her family and friends’ support to keep her going. “I don’t remember when it actually began to sink in – the fear… the disbelief,” she trailed off.

Although she was initially admitted to Jaslok hospital, her mother knew doctors in New York – school friends of her mother – and so Manisha Koirala was immediately shifted to Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York. “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.”

In New York, the actress had her hair cut. She underwent a surgery under the supervision of Dr Dennis Chi and her chemotherapy sessions began were overlooked by oncologist Dr Vicky Makker. The actress whose hair is growing back now, slowly but surely, said, “Doctors told me that chemotherapy would make me lose my hair. So I shaved off my head.”

She had friends outside the hospital too. “I 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,” she said. Subrata Roy Sahara was also instrumental in her recovery from cancer. “Subroto’s help was priceless. He had arranged a team to help me at all critical junctures,” she said.

Manisha has now begun a new regime in relation to her food and living. She says, “It is important to eat nutritional food which is high in protein, exercise regularly, pray, meditate, be optimistic, surround myself with positive people. I went out to locate shops where they sell organic food, zeroed down on a few of them. I have located similar shops in Bandra and Juhu.” The actress has always loved eating non-vegetarian food, but she has now started avoiding eating mutton, chicken or fish. She is also staying away from milk. “I learnt in New York that cows are fed with hormones and antibiotics,” she revealed.

Ask her about her return to Bollywood, the ‘Dil Se’ actress says that she is looking forward to working with the new and bolder Bollywood. “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,” she said.

Here’s hoping that Manisha Koirala’s inspiring story gives hope to a lot of other cancer patients. Her fans also wish her luck for her re-entry into Bollywood.

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