Suman (Blood cancer): “My second innings is beautiful”

Cancer survivor

Cancer is a beast. It is not just a disease but an experience that teaches you the toughest lessons of life. Fighting through cancer is a humongous task. The whole journey from the comfort of your home to the hospital bed is very scrutinizing. I say this because I know it. I have lived through it, and I have lived long enough to tell my story. There have been unfortunate demises by this disease, but trust me, it can be defeated. Everything depends upon the proper medication and your WILL POWER.

I was well off in my professional life when the doctor broke me the news. I am a native of Calcutta and have worked across the span of the globe. I have worked in the marketing sector in countries like Kenya and the Gulf countries too. But my tenure at Kenya is etched in my mind as that was the time when I got to know about my ill fate. The signs were pretty clear for a while now, but I should have been more careful. There were unusual swellings all over my body. They were spread around my neck and armpits. I also lost my appetite, and I must admit that I should have consulted the doctor before making any assumptions. The doctors at Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi, suggested a CBC. My ESR level was pretty high, and it touched 110,000. The doctors suspected lymphoma. They suggested a biopsy, but I was a bit skeptical about it.

As the medical facilities were not up to the mark in the country, I left for my country. I flew down to Chennai and got admitted in Apollo Hospital. I was lucky enough to have had myself treated under the guidance of a leading haemato-oncologist. I had faint hopes for good news, but the worst of my fears came true. I was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Lymphoma, also known as Blood Cancer. The words kept ringing in my ears, and they went numb after I heard that it was in the fourth stage. The doctor seemed very upset and said that I had a fifty percent chance of making it through. Everything happened all of a sudden. I was yet to watch my daughter grow up and become independent. I was yet to experience the various joys which I had put on my bucket list. It was not possible! Why me? But, deep down I knew that I had to fight it. For my friends, for my family and for everyone who loved me, I had to fight it.  So, with all the optimism I had, I began my fight with cancer.

The first chemotherapy cycle was painful, and I suffered from dire consequences like nausea, vomiting, and constipation. All of it was very excruciating, and I did not know where I would land up next. But what kept me going was my love for my family, my twelve-year-old daughter, and my loved ones. They were the primary source of strength that took me through this tough phase of my life. After I was diagnosed, I read The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddharth Mukherjee and Kiss of Life by Emraan Hashmi, so that I could take in the positivity from their experiences.  The total treatment duration was six months with five cycles of chemotherapy”

The treatment for cancer was quite costly. I was wise enough to have bought myself medical insurance. The insurance company ensured that I did not have any financial constraints during my treatment. After the results of the last few tests which declared that there was no more sign of cancer in my body, I was relieved. This was finally the day when I got a validation to live from my fate!

Currently, I own a start-up and am financially well-off. I stay with my family and have left my job abroad as it is challenging to manage my professional life with regular check-ups. I have realized the fact that life is unpredictable. Anything can happen at any given moment. I have started relying on exercises and yoga for fitness in place of medication. My second innings is turning out to be beautiful. I now make sure I live my life to the fullest!

Suman says that his fight with cancer is something worth sharing. He has seen tough times during his diagnosis and he says that it is all about the second chance. He goes on to advise people that they should not keep their bucket list pending for a long time as anything can happen to anyone at any time. With these words, he envisions that the people fighting with cancer imbibing a sense of optimism and positivity.