Ewing Sarcoma Diagnosis
It all started with a mild headache while I was 12 years old. My mom was applying balm and oiling my hair when she realized that there was a small lump on my head.
We were living in Nairobi at that time, and we immediately went to a general paediatrician. Even the doctors were surprised at how my mom could identify such a small lump just by touching and feeling it, but it was a mother’s intuition, and that worked for me. Doctors advised us to consult a neurosurgeon, so we went to the neurosurgeon, but he suggested that Mumbai has prominent and renowned surgeons who have handled such tumour cases and therefore it will be better if we came to Mumbai.
We took the next flight and came to Mumbai, where my mom’s entire family lives. We consulted different doctors, and finally met a surgeon who advised to do the Surgery immediately as the earlier we remove the tumour, the better it would be for me.
Then we had a Surgery scheduled, and I had 32 stitches on my head, but the news was not getting better as the tumour test reports came back positive, and I was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma.
Ewing Sarcoma Treatment
My cancer journey proceeded, and I underwent nine cycles of Chemotherapy and one cycle of Radiotherapy.
Whenever I used to go for my Chemotherapy cycle, I would always be playing games or reading a book. There was a volunteer who had games and storybooks, and she would share those with me. My mom used all these different methods to help me at that time and made sure that my cancer journey was not very sad.
Only Positivity Around
For me, the cancer journey was not a very sad one, because my parents were very positive. We took cancer as a common illness that can come to any person. We didn’t know what cancer was, we were completely new to it, but my dad started putting all his effort, and we just did what the doctor said. My mom used to take care of me. At that time, we used to stay with my Mama (Uncle) and their family, who was in Mumbai. At home too, nobody made me feel that I was severely ill or I had something serious like cancer.
I didn’t even know that I had cancer. As a 12-year-old, all I knew was that I had a lump which was removed, and I was undergoing a treatment called Chemotherapy.Even my mom would keep me away from doctors, and after each chemo or routine check-up, my mom would always ask me to wait outside, and she would talk to the doctors alone. I even created a story of my own, in which I called the cancer my clingy friend because it was something that doesn’t let go of you easily.
The Miracle Baby
The whole process of my cancer journey was very smooth because everyone was so positive around me. It took about one year for my treatment to get over, and the doctors used to call me a miracle baby since the lump was very small for a normal person to identify, but my mom did that. Secondly, I had ruled out all the possibilities that the doctor had said would happen to me after the treatment.The doctor had said that I might not excel well in academics, but I proved them wrong and did better than what I usually used to do at school. Then the doctor said that my hair might not grow back on the part where the Surgery was done, but luckily my hair grew everywhere. And thus, slowly everything was ruled out and I was declared an Ewing Sarcoma survivor. Doctors were so happy with my recovery that they presented my case at the Hinduja Hospital’s board meeting.
Not So Sad Journey
I don’t remember being sad throughout my journey. Yes, the Pain was there during the treatment, and I have cried no doubt, but I was just another 12 year old who doesn’t want to go to the hospital. But my mom always used to explain to me that if you want to get better, you have to pass through this phase.
And whenever I share my story, people get amazed at how strong my parents were at that moment, and because of their positivity and strength, I got through the phase easily.
In 2004, we decided to move back to Mumbai for my education and everything. At that time, because of the Surgery and treatment, I had missed one year of schooling. I have a sister who is just one year younger than me, and now we both were in the same class.
In school, I had a lot of problems with academics because I wasn’t able to cope with the studies of Mumbai and the teachers used to look at me very differently since I was a cancer survivor. But my mom never used to judge me based on the mark sheet, and she always used to see whether we have understood the concept or not. But later, I overcame everything and started excelling well in my academics again.
Then in my 12th standard, I met with another hurdle. On the day of my practical exam, I was down with meningitis fever, and it was so severe that I was taken straight to the ICU where I was in a coma for a week. Due to that, I missed my board exams and had to repeat, but I gained strength and passed that phase positively. I aspired to be a Nutritionist so that I can work in a hospital but due to meningitis fever, I wasn’t able to get the required score and landed in ECCE (Early Childhood Care and Education). I was upset in the beginning, but with the help of my college mentor, I developed a passion for being an Early Childhood Educator and worked hard for it. Today I’m very proud to call myself an Early Childhood Educator.