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Meet Cancer Survivor Vaishnavi Indran Pillai

CANCER. Man’s greatest fear in the 21st century. It could even make the strongest of them all crippled and drained out emotionally, physically and mentally. The mere whisper of the word itself would leave a trail of goosebumps on your skin. Cancer, or “The Big C,” as my society calls it, is renowned for the daunting process of diagnosis, treatment and prognosis adding up to a person’s daily lifestyle. 

Well, if you thought that chemotherapy is the final stop, you are definitely wrong, my friend. Chemotherapy takes around 4 to 8 cycles to be completed, and coping with the treatment puts a drain on a patient’s finances too apart from the emotional derangement. Hair loss, mood swings and lethargy are some of the many things that a cancer patient are forced to endure. 

In light of recent events, I have come across the journey of a cancer patient who had been fighting her second battle with cancer. Vaishnavi Indran Pillai, or more affectionately known as Navi, has slayed cancer like a queen.

29-year-old Navi, who’s an angel at heart and an optimist at mind, may seem like just your ordinary girl next door, but she’s a warrior born to fight until victory. Well, many of you readers out there might ask: what sets Navi apart from the other cancer survivors? 

Basically, Navi’s battle with cancer first began in the year 2013 when she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. At that time, Navi was just a 22 year old university graduate, striving hard to own a bright future of her own. She was extremely devastated getting to know that she had been diagnosed with cancer, which was something that she barely knew. All that she wanted to do was to get treated fast and carry on living a normal life just like her other peers. Thoughts of dying filled her mind too as she worried that she may not live for long. After undergoing the numerous therapies cancer could bring to mankind – namely, lumpectomy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, herceptin and hormone therapy – Navi was declared cancer-free in 2015

Melbourne, Australia became a city of joy and happiness for Navi right after she was declared cancer free. She pursued her master’s degree in project management, graduated in 2017, got a job she enjoyed really much and made tons of friends.


All was well in the city of dynamic art and culture until an annual checkup in her home country, Malaysia, rotated her life to a 180-degree angle. Her cancer was back. Nodules were found in her liver and back. The news was dropped like an atom bomb in Navi’s life.

Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer was something unexpected for Navi and she was ultimately disappointed. After all that she had gone through with her first battle with cancer, she spent a lot of time crying as she was just trying to build back her life from square one.

However, Navi didn’t feel sad for long. She took this as her calling to help and inspire others. In August, Navi started documenting her journey in battling this vicious disease via Instagram which has garnered over 6k followers, all hailing from various backgrounds as strangers touched by her story and positive attitude. For Navi, the worst part of cancer was losing her hair, but she came to better terms with it by posting pictures of her bald head on her Instagram wall. To her, it inspires women like her who are having quite some trouble navigating through the disease.


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A post shared by Navi Indran Pillai (@naviindranpillai) on


The best thing about her Instagram page? Her posts are completely authentic and raw, which means that there is nothing fake about it. From emotional distresses, scan results and even to the after-effects of her treatments, Navi manages to put it all out there on her Instagram page without losing her spirit to live and her urge to fight cancer.

Using the hashtag, #kissedbycancer, Navi aims to live a happy life and to appreciate the little things around her as she is grateful for cancer’s role in life as it taught her to live life to the fullest whilst fighting in the battlefield patiently.


Her friends played an important role in the battlefield too. Her chemotherapy sessions, which often lasted for 6 hours, were always filled with the joy of her friends. For instance, they would play Monopoly with her to take her mind of the treatment going on.

Well, the long wait was finally over. Why? Recently, Navi got cleared of cancer so that means she’s cancer-free now. Navi credited her success in battling cancer to her family and close friends. She even thanked her followers for their prayers. So, what’s next? Navi plans to travel all around the world and resort back to Indian classical dance which is something that she extremely loves.

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10 years ago today! 020808-020818 ?

A post shared by Navi Indran Pillai (@naviindranpillai) on

She still wants to play an important role in inspiring others by reaching out to cancer patients and cancer survivors. One of her mainstream plans is to raise funds to support those going through the same turmoil. What an angel!

As a wrap, kudos to Navi, and I hope that she achieves her unsung dreams in the nearest future to come. To my dear readers out there, life may throw you a ton of problems and difficulties but it’s up to you to overcome it in the best way possible. Take Navi for example. She managed to fight cancer with kindness. So, as a new year resolution, learn to be kinder to others and aim hard to enjoy life to the maximum level as you only live once.

Featured image via Vaishnavi Indran Pillai’s Instagram

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Preevena is a freelance writer and a beauty blogger who aims to be a successful influencer. In her spare time, you can find her reading or writing (sometimes both). She believes in independence and freedom for women. Being a staunch feminist, Preevena inspires women to reach greater heights. An introvert at heart and a rebellious teen at mind, she's a strong dreamer with an addiction to reading.

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