About the Healing Circle
Healing Circle Talks at ZenOnco.io and Love Heals Cancer is the sacred platform where cancer fighters, survivors, caregivers, healers, and other health care professionals connect and listen to each other’s different ways of healing. People here are free to share their emotions, feelings, fears, journey, experiences, and happy moments without the fear of being judged. Everyone in this circle listens to each other with compassion, love, and curiosity. We all feel that each journey is inspirational and unique in its own way, and we all have the power within to fight cancer. Hence, we do not try to advise each other but rather try to rely on the power of silence to look within ourselves.
About the Speaker
Rajendra Shah is a cancer survivor, meditation expert, and motivational speaker. His cancer journey started when he was diagnosed with Rectal Cancer in January 2016. Even during his treatment, he was a figure of positivity and used to motivate patients while undergoing Chemotherapy sessions. He also used music as a sword against his problems and the cancer journey as a catalyst to begin many activities and hobbies. He is presently a Yoga and meditation expert and offers motivational talks to cancer patients and caregivers.
Rajendra Shah shares his cancer journey
I have always been very health conscious. I have been doing Yoga since 1982 and have been going swimming regularly since 1992. From 1994 to 2016, till my cancer was detected, I had been doing fast aerobic exercise with youngsters. I did aerobic exercise for about 20 years. I was going to Australia regularly because my daughter was there. I used to go for a body check-up every year. On 24th January 2016, a friend came to my house and asked me to go for a body check-up. I said I didn’t want to go for that because recently I came from Australia, but he continuously insisted, so I went for a body check-up. Unfortunately, I had blood in my stools, so I consulted the doctor, who happens to be my friend, and he asked me to go for a colonoscopy immediately.
On 31st January 2016, I went for a colonoscopy with my wife and a friend. The doctor immediately told my wife that it was cancer, but they did not tell me because I was not conscious at that time. The same day I also went for a CT scan without knowing the actual thing. I told my driver to collect my reports. He collected the reports and immediately gave them to me. It was clearly written that it was a malignancy. I got scared after reading that, and we immediately went to the doctor. The first question I asked my doctor friend was, “”how long would I live now?”” He said nothing would happen as I was very bold and something better will come up. I was supposed to go for a PET scan and MRI scan. But I was very reluctant to go for an MRI scan, since I am claustrophobic, and had to be given anesthesia to undergo MRI. The reports came and confirmed that I had rectum cancer located 7cm from the anus, and there started my cancer journey.
I immediately started my treatment. I took Chemotherapy and radiation. Radiation was tough as I am claustrophobic. I was supposed to go for my radiation on 5th February. I have a great circle called NHG, and for the last several years, my friends and I plan a get-together and sing songs the entire night. All my friends said that singing is like meditation. So I decided that I had to do something to put away my fear of claustrophobia. My first radiation was on 5th February, so I learned one song by heart called “”Jeena Isi ka Naam hai”” from the movie Anand. When I had to undergo radiation, I started singing that song and one religious sutra of Jainism, and my radiation was over very smoothly.
I did not feel anything and came out of radiation. I was supposed to take 25 radiations, and whenever I used to come out happily, the receptionist used to get surprised seeing me smiling. Every morning after getting up, I used to deep breathe for 15 minutes and did pranayama, then walked in my garden and then went for radiation.
The radiation went very smoothly. The receptionist saw that there were people who were very unhappy during their radiation, so she told someone to ask those patients to meet me. That person came to me and said, “”I am a priest, and I was praying for the last 35 years. Then why has this happened to me?”” I talked to him and got him motivated. I said to him that bad things sometimes happen to good people, so don’t worry, and everything will go right. I gave him a book named “”Oh God Why Me,”” which I had translated into English. I got connected with so many patients who were very upset, but fortunately, I was able to motivate them.
I was supposed to go for the operation on 27th April. I got admitted to the hospital on 26th April, and the doctor said that I had to undergo a colostomy. The next day I had my operation, which went on for four hours. When I came out, the doctor told me that I didn’t have to undergo colostomy and was very happy after listening. I took my mobile and got shifted to the ICU room and messaged all my friends that the operation was over and I was absolutely fine. I later got shifted to a room because the ICU environment was frightening me. I have a good garden at my home where there are a lot of jasmine flowers. There were no flowers on 27 April when I went for my operation, but when I came back home on 1 May, all the plants were full of jasmine flowers as if they were welcoming me. I was pleased to see nature’s beauty and found this incident as a miracle.
I went for the first Chemotherapy on 2nd June. Somehow, I was not satisfied with my doctor, so I told my friend, and he suggested another doctor. I met him, and the new doctor took more than half an hour and explained everything very clearly. I was so happy and satisfied, so I immediately changed my hospital and started my treatment under the new doctor’s guidance. I always advise that the doctor should give you time, and if he/she is not giving you time, then it’s better to change the doctor; there is nothing wrong with changing the doctor.
I went for a small Surgery for chemo port because the first chemo they tried to give through a vein was very painful. I was always in such a cheerful mode throughout my chemo days because whatever has to happen has happened, but now, you have to live your life happily because it will all be okay in the end.
The entire journey was so beautiful, and it was only in my 4th Chemotherapy when I had many problems, including Diarrhea. As my oncologist was not in the town, some of my doctor friends suggested me to take some medicines, and after taking them, I was good again.
I thought to do something because when you are unhappy, the time does not pass so easily. I decided to start learning singing. I have a karaoke system at home, and I started learning singing songs and learned about 150 songs. I was also doing meditation at home. There are many meditations, but I love the Osho meditation, “”The forgotten language of talking to the body and mind.”” It’s a beautiful meditation. I was doing meditation regularly, and it was giving me tremendous courage. I used to read a lot about astrology. Whenever I used to go for chemotherapy, my oncologist used to sit with me for 15 minutes not just because of any medical thing, but because I was so interested in astronomy. He used to come and ask about many things. He used to ask me a lot of questions about astronomy. I feel that you get a lot of time during cancer treatment, so I learned astronomy, singing, repairing mobile, and many more things.
Why do you say cancer is your best friend?
I was living a very routine and normal life, but after my cancer journey, I learned that life is beautiful, and we should just enjoy the present. Give time or at least smile to everyone. If you can make any person happy, then you are making God happy. My cancer journey has taught me to be kind, compassionate, and helpful to people. I decided that I will learn something new every day. I started a plantation which feels very peaceful. I got to learn music and plantation because of cancer, and in addition to these things, I realized who my real friends are. When my family and friends are helping me so much, then I should not make them unhappy. That is why I say that cancer is my best friend.
Taking the cancer journey positively
Birth and death is not our choice, but how to live our life is our choice, so let’s just live in the present moment and enjoy life. Whatever has to happen will happen, so why should we worry about it. This is a difficult time, and it will not pass easily, so learn something new because when you learn new things and occupy your mind in a positive way, something better will come out of it. Cancer patients and survivors should also develop new hobbies. In fact, everyone should have some hobbies because it will help them in their old age and life will become much more beautiful. Make good friends and do meditation because it helps a lot. Do deep breathing because it will help you in decluttering your negative thoughts. Whatever happens, keep your mind stable, and it will help you in having a wonderful life.
It is important to write down your thoughts. I have been keeping a diary since 1972. I write down my thoughts on my mobile. Nature will certainly help everyone in healing. Just seeing the sunset is so peaceful, and you get many questions about the sky’s color, the sunset and your mind gets occupied with good things.
Food for cancer survivors
I drink three glasses of water with squeezed lemon every day, followed by a session of pranayama. Later, I take turmeric powder because it contains curcumin, which is very good for fighting cancer. Antioxidants and Green Tea are also important for your body, so I take 3-4 cups of Green Tea every day. I eat oats every morning because they are good for your health. I enjoy what I eat. It would help if you properly concentrate on your food when you are eating. I also take ashwagandha every day.
A poem by Rajendra Shah
Choti si Zindagani hai, har baat me khush raho,
Jo chehra pass na ho uski aawaz me khush raho,
Koi rutha hai tumse uske iss andaz se khush raho,
Jo laut kar nahi aane wale unhi lamho ki yaad me khush raho,
Kal kisne dekha hai apne aaj me khush raho,
Khushiyon ka intezar kisliye, dusre ki muskan me khush raho,
Kyu tadapte ho har pal kisike sath ko, kabhi toh apne aap me khush raho,
Choti si zindagani hai har haal me khush raho.
Message for cancer patients
Young people already have a lot of problems, and cancer diagnosis makes them go under Depression. The support from family, friends and society is very necessary for them to come through the cancer journey. One- to-one-guidance is very important. They have to change the thought process and decide to get up and fight. You require skill, will and zeal in your life. Do kapalabhati every day because it can be very helpful for your body.