How A Song Moved Me: Gunjan Mohanka


Gunjan Mohanka is a cancer thriver, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. After undergoing a lumpectomy and chemotherapy, she has  turned to Tibetan medicine. In this article, she talks about her life post-cancer.

Living the ‘patient’ life post-cancer

Boy, was life good after cancer! A life without serious responsibilities. A life of TV and paperbacks, lunches with friends, exotic holidays. A life of laid-back domestic bliss. They say cancer changes you. In my case, it liberated me. Or so I thought.

After twenty-five years in the pressure-cooker world of advertising, I was finally free. Free to do anything. Free to do nothing. Thanks to cancer, there was no need to prove anything anymore. And what the hell, I deserved a break, didn’t I? After all, I had been through cancer!

Only, the break was by now becoming a way of life. And this didn’t escape the notice of those closest to me.

“Enough!” my boyfriend censured. “Go join those art classes you always talk of joining, but never do.”

My brother, like all brothers, was more unkind.

“Listen, you are not sick anymore, you know. If you don’t want to get back to writing copy, write out of home. Have all the bloody experience in the world and what are you doing? Chhilo-ing kaddu(peeling pumpkins)?.

But it was all water off a duck’s back. I was deaf even to the voice within.

“C’mon, write. You used to churn out stuff at the drop of a hat. Stickers to speeches. Ads to ad films. Leaflets, brochures and what have you. And now? Now you make writing some 500 words seem like a bloody challenge.”

It was true. I’d never write anything unless there was a gun to my head. I’d get the brightest idea. Tell myself I just had to work on it. Period! End of my article even before I started.

I run for life

And then Sanaya, my boyfriend’s daughter, sent me the link to a song! The song was I run for life by Melissa Etheridge. Oscar & Grammy winner, wife and mother, Etheridge created the song for Ford’s ‘Race for the Cure’ initiative to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer charities.

Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, Etheridge wanted, in her own words:

“To write a song that was personal; climb into people’s emotions and portray a woman who has had breast cancer but  is out of it.”

I am one such woman. Diagnosed with third stage breast cancer and I am cancer-free now. Etheridge’s song about the experience of suffering and surviving cancer has moved millions, as online posts will confirm. So it’s hardly surprising that it moved me. What’s surprising, however, is that it got me to move.

Etheridge’s song helped me to move. It could help you to fly. If your life has been touched by cancer in any way, may I suggest you try your luck?


  • What does your post-cancer look like? What are the things you always wanted to do?
  • Where is the block … what is holding you back from doing those things?
  • How can you get going? Who or what can motivate you?


The author, GunjanTo read about Gunjan Mohanka’s own story, click here.


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