Pacing towards Affluence:
At the age of 42, I had a career to vie for, a dutiful wife, a five-year-old daughter, and parents. I was making steadfast progress in the domain of Sales after working with some leading banks and financial companies in the country. I was always pushing myself to ‘DO MORE’. With enough money to splurge in an affluent lifestyle, life was pacing towards new heights.
A Screeching Halt:
I was getting worried about a painless lump on my neck and a white patch on my upper tongue which also wouldn’t wade by taking the usual mouth ulcer medicine. And then I had to consult my local doctor who asked me to get a biopsy done which I did and the report declared that I had Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
Bolt from the Blue:
The report shook my head to toe, I was feeling helpless, and thoughts unimaginable kept coming. With sharing this news with my family I was determined to fight head-on what was coming my way in the form of health issues, financial hardships, lifestyle, and many more.
The Ruby Hall Clinic:
I approached The Ruby Hall Clinic — a renowned hospital in Pune and got clarity on the entire medical protocol which was to be followed in my case. To begin with, a tongue surgery was performed where a portion of my tongue was removed and a patch from my wrist was slapped on.
Post-surgery, I had a tremendous weight loss and found out that I don’t look the same as I had with cuts, marks, stitches all around my neck, and face which was disturbing. Post this, I was asked to take chemotherapy for 5 cycles and undergo radiation for 15 days.
Life drops Bombshell:
I was discharged 2 weeks later and I had some time in hand to start the chemo and radiation. But then I got another blow in the form of my partner seeking separation from our marriage with my child. I was trying to return to my earlier life by joining the job again and keeping myself in high life condition.
Due to all these family issues, I had delayed my chemo and I guess that was the primary reason where the realization came in October and this time it was hitting me hard.
PET scan and MRI suggested another surgery and a larger cycle of chemotherapy and radiation. It was initiated immediately and it started with common effects like running nose, vomiting, and hair fall.
By this time my employer also felt the pinch of my absence and on mutual agreement, I resigned. I managed the series of chemotherapy well and was always keeping myself motivated that I can fight this battle and be a winner.
Post chemotherapy, I was asked to go for radiation for 30 days. This was one of the worst experiences since my earlier days from diagnosis. With blisters all over the mouth, no taste buds active, sleepless nights due to cough, and to working matter a feeding tube down the gut.
Even worse where I developed trismus where I could not open my mouth at all and to date, the situation remains the same with me only surviving on the liquid form of food intake.
Well, I conquered this tough therapy with whatever confidence I had and gathered and was back home with the confidence of being recovered.
My mother was the greatest help and support system in every way. My friends and colleagues are always motivated.
I am a living breathing example that anything and everything is possible as long as you have a positive outlook on the future. I never got down, I never said I wasn’t going to make it.
I got up every morning happy to be breathing and making it through another day because I wanted to OWN my life 2.0 and watch my daughter grow. This attitude has then and now kept me in high spirits for life.
The Birth of a passion:
Post my good prognosis I tried my best to return to my kind of work but that did not work out. This was the time when I thought to bring my cooking passion to work and start my CLOUD KITCHEN.
With no major capital at hand, I started a home-based food service where cooking to delivery is done by my past 3 years and still serving.
The digital platform and happy customers did their share of promoting my business. From here on I intend to scale up this business into a more structured form and also generate work. Because of this business which keeps me delighted and content I also could pursue another passion for bike riding and travel.
I purchased a big bike in 2018 and since then I have traveled to many places I desired. Parallelly, my check up was done every 6 months from 2016 to 2019 and then it came to a yearly check. My Onco doctor has confirmed that I have fought out the danger period of 5 years from 2015, the initial year of diagnosis. Till date reports have made me more confident that there is no evidence of disease in my body, and I am as healthy as before.
All I can say that If you have the right mindset, a great support system, and a WILL to take on and overcome this challenge of CANCER and its treatment. I end by saying there is certainly a good life after cancer only if you want to LIVE it with your terms.