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Lavanya Bahuguna


Jaipur’s Sana Chowdhary Remembers Her Win Over Ovarian Cancer & It’s Beautiful

  • JWB Post
  •  June 4, 2016


According to the wise, out of struggle comes personal growth. Ovarian Cancer didn’t ruin Sana Chowdhary’s life; rather it transformed for the better.

On National Cancer Survivors Day, JWB remembers the 4-year long struggle of the Wedding & Portrait Photographer.

Sana began telling us about the time she was only 20 when she felt an unbearable pain in her abdomen. After few checkups, they said it was a cyst around her ovary. So that she wouldn’t get shocked, her father tried to hide it from her that it was not just another cyst, but cancer. A deadly cancer that takes every life it enters. Well, that’s what Sana had always thought.

“Googling about cancer was the worst thing I did to myself during the therapies. The stats that I read weren’t updated from past one year and hence, that zoned me out. I didn’t want to die”, says Sana.

Sana had to leave her studies mid-way at LSR, Delhi. “I shut down all the doors that connected me to the outer world. I underwent a major surgery, where they cut me from my pelvic region till above my navel because it had spread. I was left with one less ovary and a lot fewer lymph nodes after the surgery. It was a do or die situation. We had to rush everything. Ideally, a 2-month time is given before a major surgery to chemotherapy because it’s risky, but in my case, we had no time left. My chemo started immediately. They had put a long PCC line through my wrist all the way to my heart for chemo medicines that would cure me of my ill fate.

I was given five cycles of heavy chemo dose for five days each. After my 1st cycle had got over, my body reacted with anger for subjecting it to liters of poison every day. I developed infections with shivering fever. Before the 2nd cycle could start, one day I woke up with a purple/blue left arm which scared the living day light out of me. It was severe thrombosis, and we had to take out the PCC line, and a port was put in my chest so that the medicines could go inside and kill those nasty cells”, remembers Sana.

Later, she goes on to tell how her life had become for those 4-5 months when she saw nothing but the four walls of the hospital. “You are thrown out of your life and left in the open with no one around you. Your screams and shrieks aren’t heard by anyone. Life became a big vacuum for me where all I could hear was how many people died and what were my chances of survival”, she tells.

The girl took another brave step when she decided to go bald. She recounts, “I went for a bath and poured water on my head when I was shampooing it. 50% of my hair came in my hands. I cried a little and then we called the barber at home. I saw my stereotypical cancer-self in the mirror, just like how they show in the movies. My elder sister was by side, and I call her the reason behind my strength. After the episode, both of us burst out laughing for my head was entirely bald, and I looked funny. My sister and I cracked a few Monk- jokes and I felt better.”

But inside, she had her conflicts going on. She explains, “They say that you go through 5 stages of grief when you find out about cancer. I refused to believe it. I was in denial. Well, that was stage 1. I was angry with myself. I was angry at the situation. I was mad at the God. I questioned ‘Why me? That was stage 2. However, I made a huge realization. I realized what if I die regretting that I didn’t do anything purposeful with my life. In this hour of darkness, I found that I’d had a renewed spark to live my life. I wanted to live. I wanted to fight for my family. It was a terrible sight to see their sad faces. All I wanted were those five months of suffering to end.”

Sana began painting her feelings (mostly, pain) on the canvas. Slowly, she realized she had a thing for art. Water Colors, Camera, Nature. Suddenly, she wanted to explore all of it at once.

She started with her mini Sony digital camera and Samsung Galaxy Grand. Today, she is a Professional Portrait and Wedding Photographer, who loves doing street and conceptual photography. Since she understands how to express emotions through photographs; she bagged a personal project regarding anxiety and depression.

Amidst medicines, injections, Bleomycin, Cisplatin, severe aversion to food, nauseated-self, baldness, depression, sudden throbbing pain, infection, Thrombosis, sadness, and emergency trips to the hospital, Sana could see how her family had bonded stronger than ever. She says, “I had a loving, protective and a super caring family that was with me throughout and loving and doting friends. They, I know, will be there with me through thick and thin in the future, as well.”

With tears in the eyes and a heart full of happiness, JWB threw some quick questions at the girl to explore more:


I love dogs. I love playing with mine, and yes, I call that a hobby. Apart from this, I like to bake, doodle and paint.

Travel destination.

Ladakh for some cool landscape and astrophotography.

One celebrity she wants to capture in her lens.

Kalki Koechlin.

In what frame do you see yourself ten years down the line.

As a successful contemporary wedding Photographer. Doing many-many wedding, baby, and maternal photo shoots. I want to travel all over India so that I can take my work everywhere. I am also planning to conduct mini photography workshops in Jaipur, let’s see!

One picture you want to archive.

The portrait of my family. Of course, along with my dog!

Message for those who’re fighting cancer.

I am telling this story because I want the young women fighting with Ovarian Cancer to know that even if the tides are against you right now, hold on to hope and just keep swimming because after a hurricane, comes a rainbow. Have faith in yourself and your fears will starve to death. Hold on to hope, and you will get through it. After a year or so you will remember the terrible times as just a bad nightmare. Do not shy away from the symptoms of cancer. And if ever you feel lonely, buzz me!

Message for us.

Today, it’s been four years that I’ve been living with Peripheral Neuropathy in my feet. They burn/ache/tingle 24/7 without ever resting. But you know what, I am the happiest soul on the Planet Earth! Are you?

Isn’t she the strongest and the cutest? *virtual-group-nods*

PS – You can check out her awesome work here and !



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