T Cell Lymphoma Diagnosis
I had some lumps on my lower arm, but initially, I thought that it might be some fat lump that had occurred somehow due to my workout. But when it remained the same, I consulted a doctor, who gave me steroids and antibiotics, and also asked me to do an ultrasound. Nothing came out in ultrasound, but all of a sudden, I developed a fever. I had a continuous fever for 10-15 days, so I got admitted to the hospital. Doctors were not sure that what it was, so they were doing some tests, including tuberculosis tests, but everything came back negative. My SGPT and SGOT level stood up, so I was referred to a liver specialist. While consulting the liver specialist, I had an episode of epilepsy, and I was shifted to the ICU. They did a bone marrow biopsy, which revealed that it was Hemophagocytosis. I was then given steroids, which continued for two and a half months, but that suppressed the exact diagnosis.
After 3-4 months, the fever started coming up, I started gaining weight and could feel the lump again. So in December 2017, I went to the hospital where doctors took out my lump and sent it for biopsy. When the reports came, we got to know that it’s T cell lymphoma with HLH, which is a very rare kind of combination.
T Cell Lymphoma Treatment
When we were trying to decide on the treatment, within a few days, the T- cell lymphoma multiplied. On 15th January, I got admitted to the hospital in a half-awake situation. On 16th, I suffered multiple organ failure, so the doctors shifted me to the ICU. On 17th morning, I had a cardiac arrest, and doctors said that they couldn’t do much and that I was no more. But they performed the CPR, and I got revived. They put me onto a ventilator, and I immediately slipped into a coma after that.
I was on a ventilator for a month and a half, and the doctors were trying to revive me. During that time, I underwent a tracheostomy. There was a small lump in my right eye orbit, so doctors thought that cancer might move into my brain too. They started giving me steroids, and after that, they gave 5% of chemotherapy. Doctors were of the opinion that I wouldn’t survive, but we can try chemo; if he manages 5% of chemo, then we will have a chance. I responded to chemotherapy and post that they again gave me 50% of chemo, and from 5% to 50%, I survived through the entire complexities.
Things started moving in a better direction, so they gave me six cycles of chemotherapy. After six cycles of chemo sessions, the prognosis was good, but as the cancer was very aggressive, the chances of reoccurrence were very high. So doctors immediately performed an autologous bone marrow transplant. During my transplant, I discovered pneumonia and had a severe fever. So again, I was on the verge of slipping into a coma, and doctors were on the verge of putting me on a ventilator. After the transplant, there were no chances to survive, so they took the risk to put me on a ventilator immediately after transplant. Their risk worked up, and the transplant went well.
After a month, there was an ulcer that grew on the lower half of my body, and there were many such things that I underwent during my Bone Marrow Transplant period. But everything went fine after October and November, and I started making significant progress. In January 2018, doctors declared that there were no more symptoms of cancer now and I just had to take palliative care hereafter.
I am now in the second year of the transplant. I go through PET scans and some tests regularly to keep a check on my health.
I had received so many opinions about trying different treatment methods, but I decided to stick with my doctor’s advice. I had a belief that the treatment I was going through would work for me, so I didn’t move into anything else, and I think, in the end, that worked for me.
My wife and my eight-year-old son always motivated me. I was the only earning man in my family, so I kept motivating myself that I had to survive for my family. I always had the thought in my mind that an 8-year-old kid cannot live without his father, and this is what kept pushing me to fight against all the odds.
The Good Changes
I came out of an artificial world. I am now very straightforward and blunt. I do what I want to; I don’t focus on what people say about me. When I started working again, people didn’t have confidence in me that I can move up or not, I felt like the whole world doubted me, but still, I kept working with the same spirit.
When my prognosis was good, my mother in law had passed away due to cancer, and I went through depression. That was a tough phase in my life, but I never gave up. There was no choice for me; I had to fight, so I did.
You can’t predict your life. I was healthy; I never had a fever, I have always been positive, I had goals, I moved up in my life very fast, I had a very good career. And when you are moving fast in life, you have your aspirations, goals, life, plans, but for me, everything came down with the T cell lymphoma diagnosis. It drained me out financially, physically, and mentally, but the positive side was that when I started thinking about myself, I forgot what the stress is. I believe that certain things are not meant for me, and that’s okay. I do what makes me happy. Everything is more about the mind. What matters is how you think and how you develop your thoughts. If you have your thoughts right, you have your things right. What is going to happen is not in your hand, it will happen, but you don’t let your mind go in a negative direction.
You can’t give up. When you don’t give up, it’s not only about you; it’s about the people you have; your caregivers. You can’t give up and let their efforts go in vain. For me, my wife acted as my booster. She was very strong; she was the one who never cried and always stood beside me. She was the one who actually inspired me throughout my journey.