My world had come crumbling down when my husband suffered a massive heart attack in 2015. Within 2 years of that, I got detected with a rare form of cancer- Cholangiocarcinoma.
Back in 2017, when I was working as a software engineer, I had symptoms of jaundice. I fainted, my blood sugar went very high. The blood tests showed that there was some abnormality. Therefore, I got an ultrasound done. My family doctor said that it could be un-obstructive jaundice. He said there were some issues in the gall bladder, but no stones.
Cholangiocarcinoma- Detection and Treatment:
The PET scan was scary. I was told that there were issues in the liver and that a liver transplant was inevitable. I met Dr Soin from Medanta Hospital, Gurgaon, one of the finest doctors in the country for treatment. On the 18th of August, I underwent a 14-hour surgery.
Challenges/ Side effects:
When my Cholangiocarcinoma was diagnosed, I was sent for chemo sessions. There, I saw small kids undergoing the same pain. The entire team of doctors were exceptionally good. One of the counsellors taught me how to meditate. My body was deteriorating day by day and came down to 51 kilograms from 60 kilograms in a short period. I started looking weaker and weaker. I had to travel for two hours to reach Medanta for radiation. I would vomit, get nauseous, and fall weak by each passing day.
It was my two and half year old son who motivated me through the tough times. I am sure that I couldn’t have got through alive without him by my side.
I joined the ‘Brahmakumaris’ ministry for gaining mental and emotional strength. I got the strength to pull through the tough times from meditation.
Search for Hope:
I used to go through a lot of survivor stories online, and that gave me hope. I ordered a lot of books and tried to get rid of the toxicity in my life. I removed all plastic materials from the house and switched to organic food and a healthy lifestyle.
Unemployment and Recurrence:
I was laid off from the office. It was shocking beyond words. The company wasn’t performing well either. My health took another blow in the form of an ovarian cyst which had to be removed using laparoscopy.
I started assisting my mother’s business by helping her with digital marketing, implementation of ERP, vendor management, and overall management. The cyst re-appeared, and I had to go for an open surgery this time. But after the surgery, the liver cancer relapsed in my stomach. My weight came down to 49 kilos. I was put through 8 to 12 chemo sessions again, and in six months, I finally recovered.
Phase – Corona:
Today, I have started my own digital marketing business and practise yoga and meditation regularly. I believe in the power of affirmative talking and positive thinking. I try new diets every now and then. I have joined the Cancer Survivor India group and several other cancer groups.
I try not to be too attached to people and have started loving myself. I have stopped seeking validation from others and have started living one day at a time. Hell and Heaven are right here. Due to my Cholangiocarcinoma, the bile duct was blocked, and a tumour had developed. I was lucky that the detection was made quickly. A part of the liver, bile duct, gall bladder and my ovary has been removed. Therefore I will always have some digestion issues, but I have accepted to live with it.
If you are undergoing chemo, you are a survivor already. You should be careful even after the treatment is done, and should maintain a healthy lifestyle. Talk to your onco-nutritionists and onco-counsellors about your needs. Caregivers need to create a positive environment near patients. Online Consultancy by AI-backed tools like ZIOPAR, India’s first Artificial Intelligence-based tool for cancer patients, will go a long way in guiding cancer patients and caregivers with the right kind of doctors, nutritionists, and methodology.