Surviving cancer: In conversation with photographer Joyeeta Trisha
For most, the single word that scares us out of our wits is probably cancer. A word that can echo through our lives within mere seconds of hearing it, changing every possible aspect of it. Lives are changed! Relationships are transformed, along with the deterioration of both mental and physical health.
However, today, the prognoses for most cancer patients are slightly better, thanks to the advancement of medical knowledge and expertise. A 'Breast Cancer' diagnosis is not necessarily an irrecoverable situation, as Joyeeta Trisha, a woman whose reputation precedes her name, discovered back in March 2021, when she was diagnosed with the particular condition for the first time in her life. Trisha, a renowned, freelance photographer of Bangladesh, imparts her 'survivor story' to Star Lifestyle.
Trisha was not feeling well for a few months at a stretch when she noticed a few swelled up, lymph nodes close to her breasts. "This is what scared me the most and I didn't delay at all in seeking medical help. All the time, praying that it was nothing," said Trisha.
A few days later, the biopsy results confirmed her worst fears.
"Nobody in my family suffered from cancer before, and I am the youngest of all my siblings! This was a shock to both me and my entire family. Being a single mother, the worst blow came to my eleven-year-old boy. He had already gone through the trauma of a broken family a few years back, this news just made things much worse…," reflected a devastated Joyeeta Trisha.
"To make things worse, my condition was classified as invasive cancer, more specifically a Triple Positive situation where the tumour was ER-, PR- and HER2 – positive. In simple words, the doctors explained that sometimes even chemotherapy has a hard time curbing the growth."
All this happened when Trisha was only 36 years old. The prognosis broke down the photographer completely.
"I went into a severe state of depression. I couldn't believe what was happening to me. All the while, hoping that I would wake up only to find out it was all a bad dream," reflected Trisha.
According to the photographer, the state of depression went on for some six months before she took up the camera once again and went out on a shoot one fine day.
"This act came as a revelation because once I took back the camera into my hands, cancer took a backseat. I was no longer a cancer patient, but a freelance photographer following her passion," said Trisha.
Today, after almost two years of the constant battle with the illness, the cancer has subsided and has not returned as was diagnosed earlier. "I think it has much to do with my uplifted mental state. If my mind decided to give up when I heard the news and stay that way, I think I wouldn't be here today," said Trisha.
After losing her beautiful silky streaks to chemotherapy, and her breasts to surgery, it is only natural for us to presume Trisha would be upset about her condition, but it's actually the contrary.
"I look at my earlier pictures and see a smiling, young girl unaffected by the troubles of the world. But today's Trisha is much stronger. I don't care if my hair is shorter today, it is only because I have survived a gigantic obstacle on my own. I am a warrior. And warriors don't worry about such trifles in life. Everybody has to die, one day or the other. It may be because of another illness, because of an accident, or anything else. What matters most is how I had lived my life however long I was given the time. This – I understand today and this is what defines JOYEETA TRISHA, as a person."
The cancer survivor had a few more necessary facts to share before concluding our tete-a-tete.
Today, she notices everything in its minutest details, loves unconditionally, became a more emphatic person, and enjoys everything that she is endowed with, not giving heed to things she does not have.
"Cancer has made me more optimistic actually, sometimes we take life too much for granted. This second chance in life has taught me to be a better person and actually live life the way it's meant to be lived.
A last piece of advice from the warrior…?
"Live life to the fullest, don't let anything in the world upset you. Even if it's cancer. Fight Back!"