Symptoms and diagnosis
The early symptoms that I had were blood in my stool. I thought that it was piles and went for local treatment for the same. Even after six months of treatment, I had no improvement. Then, I went to another doctor who suggested that I should see a surgeon. My symptoms were not too drastic like loss of appetite, weight loss, and weakness. I went to TATA Memorial hospital for a consultation where I was diagnosed with cancer.
Reaction after hearing the news
I was so shocked after hearing the news. I was so confused because there was no history of cancer in my family. I didn’t know what to do next. My mind was blank for a couple of days. My daughter was also devastated to know about cancer. Slowly, all of my family members got the news.
Treatments underwent and side effects
I was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. First, I thought of visiting a government hospital. After seeing the condition there, I changed my mind and went to TATA memorial hospital for my treatment. It took almost one and a half years for the treatment to complete.
I underwent chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. After my surgery in April 2014, I had six rounds of chemotherapy and 25 cycles of radiation. Initially, it was very difficult for me to cope. But, slowly after a couple of months, I got accustomed and was able to bear the side effects.
After the surgery, my rectum was closed with a flap and I was given a bag. At first, it was very difficult to handle the bag. But, then I accepted that I have to live with it and now I can lead a normal life.
Overall my journey was okay and I didn’t face many difficulties back then whether it was physically, mentally, or financially. Now, my life is kind of settled and I am in the marketing department.
Coping up emotionally
I met some people who suggested that whatever happened had happened for good. I also started religious books in my leisure and selected a spiritual guru. I saw other people at the hospital who were also going through a similar situation and some of them were in worse condition than me. Then I realised that I had lived a large portion of my life compared to an 8-year-old child who also had cancer.
My support system
My support system was definitely my family. Apart from my family, I got a lot of support from “Story session of India” which is a part of the Indian Cancer Society. They conducted meetings to discuss the problems of the cancer patients and also gave possible solutions. They even helped financially.
My experience with doctors and medical staff
The doctors were great and I had a good experience with them. I have a very high opinion about doctors whom I consider very knowledgeable. So, I followed their advice very strictly and tried to become an ideal patient.
Things that helped me
My family supported me a lot. Apart from this, I relied on my inner call to stay alive. My son and little brother stayed with me and took care of me. This gave me strength. I saw motivational programs on youtube and television. It gave me the inspiration to continue with my cancer journey. The people fighting cancer were my ideal then.
I believe in an active lifestyle and I do exercise regularly. I also do yoga and meditation. I wake up early and go to bed at the proper time. I eat my meals timely now. I have started to do prayer and bhajans daily. I have started to not focus on stressful things. I have learned to accept things as they are.
Cancer has set my life in a new direction. Earlier, I used to take things negatively. But now, try to take things positively. Before, I got nervous even with the small difficulty and was unable to make any decisions.
I have realised that you can win even if the odds are against you and the difficulties are overwhelming.
Message to cancer patients and caregivers
I ask the cancer patients to not dwell on negative thoughts. They should believe that they can’t fight cancer and defeat it. They should not be nervous but stay confident and positive. They should believe whatever is happening is a good thing and they can face it. Enjoy your life and accept everything whether it’s good or bad.