Viji Ramakrishnan

Thriver since 2002: Acute Myeloid Leukemia

We’re delighted to introduce Viji Ramakrishnan from our first batch of Cancer Awakens Sherpas. Based in Singapore, she is a home-maker and part-time cancer volunteer at the Singapore General Hospital.

I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2002 and underwent 6 rounds of chemotherapy followed by an Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant in the same year. I have been in remission for the last 15 years.

I was extremely bitter at first – about cancer, the savage chemotherapy and my recovery prospects. I went into a kind of depression. Gradually but surely, the same cancer made me value ‘everything’ I had and did. I felt thankful for my family (including my very understanding husband!), my prayers, my friends, my daily routine and my helper. I smiled and laughed more. I forgave quickly. I felt beautiful and authentic. I stopped judging or comparing. I always thought of abundance. I began learning new skills, languages. I became a compulsive optimist.

My biggest lesson

What the doctor says is prognosis. What we decide to do with the prognosis is entirely up to us.

My motivation to become a cancer-coach

I wish to be a person who has ‘walked-the-path’ and not just someone who lectures. I wish to learn more about empathising with others and their ailments. I am sure I will connect/touch the patient on the other side.

My experience at the Coaching workshop

Invigorating! That is the first word that comes to mind. I had a paradigm shift from being ‘a necessary soothsayer’ to becoming a ‘beacon’ in a cancer-patients’ lives. That’s HUGE! I became aware of the wide space that is available for me to enrich a patient’s/ caregiver’s life.

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