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 healthcare professionals connect and listen to each other’s different ways of healing. People here are free to share their emotions, feelings, fears, journeys, experiences, and happy moments without fearing 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, and we all have the power 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 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 24 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, my friend, who asked me to go for a colonoscopy immediately.
On 31 January 2016, I went for a colonoscopy with my wife and a friend. The doctor immediately told my wife it was cancer, but they did not tell me because I was unconscious then. The same day I also underwent 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 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 bold, and something better would come up. I was supposed to go for a PET scan and an MRI scan. But I was very reluctant to go for an MRI scan since I am claustrophobic and had to be given anaesthesia to undergo MRI. The reports confirmed that I had rectum cancer located 7cm from the anus, and my cancer journey started there.
I immediately started my treatment. I took Chemotherapy and radiation. Radiation was harsh as I am claustrophobic. I was supposed to go for my radiation on 5 February. I have a great circle called NHG, and for the last several years, my friends and I have planned 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 5 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 came out happily, the receptionist used to get surprised seeing me smiling. Every morning after getting up, I used to deep breathe for 15 minutes, did pranayama, walked in my garden, and then went for radiation.
The radiation went very smoothly. The receptionist saw that some people were depressed 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 have been praying for the last 35 years. Then why has this happened to me?” I talked to him and got him motivated. I told him that bad things sometimes happen to good people, so don’t worry; everything will go right. I gave him a book named “Oh God, Why Me,” which I had translated into English. I connected with many patients who were very upset, but fortunately, I could motivate them.
I was supposed to go for the operation on 27 April. I got admitted to the hospital on 26 April, and the doctor said 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 I didn’t have to undergo a colostomy, and I was thrilled after listening. I took my mobile, shifted to the ICU room, and messaged all my friends that the operation was over and that I was beautiful. I later 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 returned 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 a miracle.
I went for my first Chemotherapy on 2 June. Somehow, I was unsatisfied with my doctor, so I told my friend, and he suggested another doctor. I met him, and the new doctor took over 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 they are not giving you time, then it’s better to change the doctor; there is nothing wrong with changing the doctor.
I went for a minor Surgery for a chemo port because the first chemo they tried to give through a vein was very painful. I was always cheerful 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 the 4th Chemotherapy that I had many problems, including Diarrhea. As my oncologist was not in town, some of my doctor friends suggested I take some medicines, and after taking them, I was good again.
I thought to do something because time does not pass quickly when you are unhappy. I decided to start learning to sing. 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. Many meditations exist, 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 gave 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 routine life, but after my cancer journey, I learned that life is beautiful and that we should enjoy the present. Give time or at least smile to everyone. If you can make anyone 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 would 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, 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 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 quickly, so learn something new because when you learn new things and positively occupy your mind, something better will come out of it. Cancer patients and survivors should also develop new hobbies. Everyone should have some hobbies because they will help them in their old age and make life much more beautiful. Make good friends and do meditation because it helps a lot. Do deep breathing because it will help you declutter your negative thoughts. Whatever happens, keep your mind stable; it will help you have a wonderful life.
It is essential 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 colour and the sunset and your mind gets occupied with good things.
Food for cancer survivors
I drink three glasses of water with squeezed lemon daily, followed by a pranayama session. Later, I take turmeric powder because it contains curcumin, which is very good for fighting cancer. Antioxidants and Green Tea are also crucial for your body, so I take 3-4 cups of Green Tea every day. I eat oats every morning because they are suitable for your health. I enjoy what I eat. It would help to concentrate on your food when eating correctly. 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 many problems, and cancer diagnosis makes them go under Depression. Support from family, friends and society is necessary for them to come through the cancer journey. One- to-one-guidance is very important. They have to change their 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 beneficial for your body.