I am Anil Patil from Nasik, Maharashtra. In the year 2002, I was diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer. I was just 28 years old then. I noticed blood in my stool and quickly made an appointment with my local doctor; the doctor initially said I had a fissure because I had none of the common symptoms of rectum cancer, such as weight loss or stomach pain. The doctor prescribed me medicine for fifteen days, but it did not help. Then I decided that I needed a second opinion. I consulted a gastroenterologist, who ordered a colonoscopy. The colonoscopy showed that I had a tumor in my rectum.
First of all, my brother and other family members did not want to disclose it to me. But my doctor suggested them without my knowledge; the treatment would be complex.
I was shocked to know about it. I married just three years back, and I had a three-month-old kid. I decided that I had to live for my family. I will do my best to fight cancer. My wife was very supportive during my whole journey. Even my brother and other family members also supported me at every step.
Challenges during cancer journey
There were many challenges I faced as a cancer survivor. But through it all, I took each day at a time and tried not to dwell on the challenges ahead of me. The experience I went through is not unique. Millions of people around the world go through it each year. The fact is, cancer doesn’t always destroy you; it often makes you stronger.
Adjustment with Colostomy bag
I underwent colorectal cancer surgery and was provided with a colostomy bag. A colostomy is a surgical procedure that changes the route of food waste through your bowels. When part of the colon needs to be bypassed for medical reasons, doctors make a new opening in your abdominal wall for poop to come out. With a colostomy, you poop into a colostomy bag. Everything was new for me, but I soon got adjusted to it. It took me some time to become comfortable with a colostomy bag. Now It has become just part of my life. I can do all my work with it.
Support from family
I am very grateful to have a wonderful family who was with me throughout the journey. My wife was supportive. My brother and all the other family members did their best to help me. Without their support, I could never reach this place. During treatment, my father sold his land to provide the best medical treatment to me. He did not want to compromise anywhere in it.
We all have goals for the future, whether to be healthy, travel to new places and meet new people, or raise a family. You have had to adjust your life because you or your loved one has cancer. But you don’t have to give up your joy in living. These are my thoughts for maintaining a sense of normalcy and resiliency – even on bad days.
After cancer, I do not think of the future much. Earlier I used to think of the present as only 30 per cent and the future as 70 per cent, but now it is just the opposite; I think of the present as 70 per cent and the future as 30 percent. I believe in living in present and enjoying life.
Message for others
The best advice I could give would be to have faith and believe that you will make it. Pray for yourself, your family, and for the care and hands of the doctors and nurses as well. I know that this mindset helped me recover and gave me back my normalcy, my life after cancer. Having a good support system and keeping a positive mental attitude is essential.