One year since she opened up to her devoted fans about her cancer journey, the beloved Bollywood film star Sonali Bendre is thanking her fans for being “instrumental” when they stood by her during her ordeal.
In an emotional post on Instagram, Bendre, 44, quoted the Indian poet Rupi Kaur, writing “Stay strong through your pain, grow flowers from it. You have helped me grow flowers out of mine, so bloom beautifully, dangerously, loudly. Bloom softly. However you need to just bloom.”
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stay strong through your pain grow flowers from it you have helped me grow flowers out of mine so bloom beautifully dangerously loudly bloom softly however you need just bloom. @rupikaur_ (Milk and Honey) It’s been a year… I can’t tell you how instrumental YOU ALL have been… Thank you for helping me get through this and for helping me #SwitchOnTheSunshine #Gratitude #BeFearless #OneDayAtATime #MyNewNormal
Later in the post, Bendre added: “It’s been a year. I can’t tell you how instrumental you all have been. Thank you for helping me get through this and for helping me #SwitchOnTheSunshine.”
She also employed the hashtags “#Gratitude #BeFearless #OneDayAtATime” and “#MyNewNormal”.
Bendre first announced that she was diagnosed with cancer in July of 2018 with an Instagram post. “Sometimes, when you least expect it, life throws you a curveball. I have recently been diagnosed with a high grade cancer that has metastasized, which we frankly did not see coming,” she wrote at the time. “A niggling pain led to some tests, which led to this unexpected diagnosis. My family and close friends have rallied around me, providing the best support system that anyone can ask for. I am very blessed and thankful for each of them.”
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Sometimes, when you least expect it, life throws you a curveball. I have recently been diagnosed with a high grade cancer that has metastised, which we frankly did not see coming. A niggling pain led to some tests, which led to this unexpected diagnosis. My family and close friends have rallied around me, providing the best support system that anyone can ask for. I am very blessed and thankful for each of them. There is no better way to tackle this, than to take swift and immediate action. And so, as advised by my doctors, I am currently undergoing a course of treatment in New York. We remain optimistic and I am determined to fight every step of the way. What has helped has been the immense outpouring of love and support I’ve received over the past few days, for which I am very grateful. I’m taking this battle head on, knowing I have the strength of my family and friends behind me.
Bendre has not specified with what manner of cancer she has been afflicted. She traveled to New York to be treated for her cancer, and while there she held sessions of her book club online for her fans in India. The club focuses on New Age books.
Since her bold disclosure, Bendre documented many milestones in her cancer journey on social media — including losing her hair, struggling with treatment, and all the ways cancer has changed her perspective on life.
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This is me. And in this moment, I am really happy. People give me strange looks when I say that now, but it’s true and I’ll tell you why. I am now paying attention to every moment, looking for every opportunity to find joy and #SwitchOnTheSunshine. Yes, there are moments of pain and low energy, but I am doing what I like, spending time with people I love, and feeling very loved and happy. I am extremely grateful to my friends, my pillars of strength, who at a moment’s notice, arrived to be with me and help me through this. In between their busy schedules they find time to visit, call, message, FaceTime… basically never leaving a moment for me to feel alone. Thank you for showing me what true friendship is. #HappyFriendshipDay, ladies. Blessed to have you all in my life (including the ones not in the picture… You know who you are) @gayatrioberoi @suzkr P.S. Nowadays I spend far less time getting ready because I don’t have to fuss over my hair! ????#BaldIsBeautiful #FindThePositive #OneDayAtATime Picture credit: @hrithikroshan
This spring, Bendre spoke at the a Consortium of Accredited Healthcare Organizations conference about the importance of knowing your risk. “Early detection is most important,” Bendre said. “Right now, the disease is less scary … the treatment is actually more frightening and painful. If it were detected early, the cost of treatment would have been less. It would also have been [less] painful treatment.”
She also mentioned how important it is to be familiar with your family history, adding that she had relatives with cancer, but wasn’t aware of it — or that she could be at risk as well. “I wish I knew about it,” she said. “I wouldn’t have thought this would happen to me … I felt if this was so prevalent, why did I not know about it?” Bendre called on medical professionals and hospitals to work to make people aware about things like family risk and keeping up with recommended screenings.
Bendre may not have been specific about what type of cancer she is battling, but the fact that she has been so open about the ups and downs of her journey is really encouraging to people who have been through the same thing. And the SurvivorNet family is 100% behind her message of raising awareness. We recently spoke to Genetic Counselor Rachel Webster, who works with patients at MD Anderson Cancer Center, and she said families should absolutely be sharing their health histories.
“If someone in your family is found to have a predisposition to cancer … the first step is to start testing relatives most closely related to you,” Webster told SurvivorNet during a discussion on genetic testing (she was not discussing Sonali Bendre). “Those relatives might be brothers, sisters, parents, children … those first degree relatives are the ones that are at the highest probability of having that same genetic predisposition. Genetic counselors have specialized training in order to figure out what genetic testing might be the most useful for you and your family.”
Bendre is married to Indian film director Goldie Behl and the couple have a teenage son.