I was a graduate student pursuing graduation from Delhi University. In 2015, I was in my final year. I noticed a swelling on my right ankle. I consulted many specialists and doctors because I had some Pain. After some days, I could not tie my shoelaces, and I was gaining weight on a daily basis. I visited one hospital in Delhi, where they told me that it was a small tumor. They asked me to return on another day to get it removed. When I was in the OT, the doctor told my father that there is something risky. They were going to cut deep into my ankle and completely remove the tumor.
The Diagnosis and Treatment
After this surgery, I shifted to my hometown. But after ten days, I received a call that informed me that I was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, and I was at stage 3. I thought of various ways of suicide in the next 48 hours, but somehow I told my parents that I had been diagnosed with cancer stage 3. I realized that I’d never seen my dad cry before, but this gave me the power to accept the truth and fight cancer. I consulted doctors in Delhi and Punjab, and I was told that I would need an amputation. As a family, we decided to go through this amputation Surgery at the Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital. My parents were afraid that they would lose me, but my resolve to live was strengthened.
However, life was quite disastrous for me. I was bedridden for almost 1.5 years, after which I had to use an artificial leg. I was broken, not because of my cancer, but more by emotional trauma. I learned one important lesson: We lose our present to fulfill future goals.
Life After Cancer
Every person has a different definition of cancer. A lack of knowledge and awareness is what I saw in many friends and partners. I started the second half of life because I realized in 2016 that I had nothing to lose. In 2017 I started my journey as a motivational speaker. This was my first public speaking event. Here, I met a girl in the audience with whom I started a relationship, and we got married back in 2019. This journey has cost me a lot, but I know that I have also earned a lot when I see the other side.
I have some important goals I want to achieve in my life. The first one is to fight cancer, the second is to overcome disability, and the third is fighting my obesity. I have been trying to overcome my obesity. I lost 20 kgs six months before the lockdown. I lost another 10 kgs during the lockdown. A broken person must have the support of someone who has gone through similar experiences. This gives the person more confidence. I have been doing the same—consulting people through various sessions and even one-on-one personal counseling.
I was passionate about biking and racing, but I could not do the same when I lost my leg. But back in 2018, I purchased an Avenger, and it’s been two years. I have covered a distance of almost 40,000 km. Wherever I am going, I share my story. If someone can connect their problems with the issues that I faced, they will realize that they can survive the journey as well. Though I am a disabled person who doesn’t have a leg, I have been a part of over 50 marathons. Some covered 10kms, and another covered 21kms as well. I have been awarded at the state and national level, and I am working with some organizations related to cancer disability.
When I got my prosthetic leg fitted, it took me nearly 3-4 months to learn how to walk once again because I was bedridden for almost 1.5 years. People often ask their parents to share memories from when they were learning to walk. In most cases, people don’t remember those days.
Orphans don’t get parents’ love, and they don’t know it. But when people like you and I lose our parents, it hurts a lot. The same can be said for a particular disability. I never enjoyed sitting at home, but I found many interesting things online in those two years. I used to spend a lot of time on Quora. I started working with anti suicidal helplines.
The keyboard was my best friend at that time. I tried to reach out to more and more people to get some confidence and boost my morale. My sister, who saw me suffer and fight cancer, defined cancer as “You Can, Sir,” and this motivated me a lot. To date, I can reach out to more and more people spreading awareness and consulting them personally or even in between sessions. This is the main goal that I want to achieve.
People are never friendly to disabled persons. Whenever the term disability comes, you will be seen as an alien, or a beggar, or a poor person. So whenever I walked outside my house, people used to stare at me. They believed all the myths revolving around the word disability. Cancer taught me many life lessons, and now, I have some mantras. I keep going through these mantras whenever I find myself in need of a confidence boost. You might have noticed the hands of the clock; it never stops, irrespective of what goes in your life. Similarly, you must not quit. Take help from someone or crawl, but never stop.