Sonali Bendre speaks about her battle with cancer: ‘It had spread all over my abdomen but I never thought I would die’
Sonali Bendre, who returned to India after nearly six months in the US where she was being treated for cancer, has appeared on the cover of a magazine and is redefining life after illness. The actor shared a picture of herself on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar magazine.
Sharing it, she wrote: “There’s no one way to tell how our experiences change us or shape us. Not all transformations are visible. What I’ve learnt is to never let it hold me back. I’d rather dress up and show up! That’s how I would describe my shoot for the @bazaarindia cover.” Wearing a pale powder blue dress with her short crop of hair -- Sonali had to shave off her hair due to the illness, Sonali is a picture of hope.
Speaking to the magazine, Sonali said, “So when my PET [Positron Emission Tomography] scan showed up cancer had spread all over my abdomen, like fairy lights scattered all over, and when the doctor in New York said that there was about 30 per cent chance of it all going away, we were shattered.”
However, the 44-year-old actor says she and her family never lost hope. “But the thought of death didn’t come to me. I thought this was going to be a long struggle, but I never thought I’d die.”
Sonali recently appeared on a TV show with her best friends Gayatri Oberoi and Sussanne Khan as well, where she spoke about how, early in her career, her hair was the talk of the town. Not only did she get her first acting break, thanks to her luscious mane, she also endorsed a whole host of hair products during that time. “”Now that I think of it, my whole life had been all about my hair, even though it sounds superficial. I’ve endorsed every hair product at some point in my life,” the Mumbai Mirror quoted her as saying. Sonali had shaved off her hair during her treatment and had shared it with the world in a poignant post.
She recently appeared in her first ad post illness. Appearing in it, she narrated an incident from her childhood watching her grandmother tie a knot in her sari’s pallu so as to remember what all she had to do. She had written: “I once saw my grandmother tie a knot on the tail of her saree’s pallu. As a curious child, I asked her why she did it. She said she couldn’t remember everything all the time, so this knot would keep reminding her what she needs to do. I want you to also do this today. Tie a knot and take a pledge to share your #MujheSabNahiPata #IDidntKnow stories. Your story could help another mother be better prepared. I nominate @ruchitarambles and @chandrama_poetry to tie the protection knot and share their stories.”
Ever since her arrival in India in December last year, Sonali has been quietly but calmly getting back to her routine. The actor was seen celebrating Christmas with her close friends, Gayatri and Sussanne and their respective spouse and ex-husband. She also showed up at the wedding celebrations of Mukesh Ambani’s son, Akash Ambani and Shloka Mehta in March this year.
The actor also spoke about how at first they were not told about what stage of cancer she had. Speaking to Rajeev Masand, she mentioned how it was only after reaching New York that her doctors there told her that not only did she have Stage IV cancer, she had only 30% chances of survival. She also said it was her husband Goldie Behl’s decision to go to New York and that till she reached the city, she wasn’t convinced about it.
“I land in New York and next day, we go to the doctor. He looks at everything and we had sent all our tests and he says, you know, it is fourth stage and you have 30% chance of survival. That really hit me; I just turned to Goldie and I remember saying: ‘Thank God, you got me here’. Goldie always says that ‘tomorrow I’d rather feel I over-reacted, over-spent than under-reacted and have that regret that I should have done that’. There was no time for it and we were not told that it was fourth stage but Goldie had started reading about it and he was suspecting it.”
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