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Kiran Bhoi (Blood Cancer): Your Life Beyond The Pain

Kiran Bhoi (Blood Cancer): Your Life Beyond The Pain

The Symptoms

My name is Kiran Bhoi. I come from a small village which is 2 hours away from Jalgaon, Maharashtra. So one day, I had difficulty eating and drinking. My nose was bleeding too and I got worried. I was advised by a friend to get my blood tested, to find the cause for the bleeding. I went to a hospital for a Blood Test and a CBC test. My haemoglobin level was 6.5. As a general practitioner, my doctor could not confirm whether it was cancer or not. Looking at the ERS, the doctor told me that I had a condition that required treatment from a better hospital in Mumbai.

My friend and I travelled to Mumbai as per the doctor's instructions. Doctors were hardly available on that day as it was a Sunday. However, we managed to find a doctor who reviewed my medical file and suggested that I get admitted to the hospital immediately. Blood Tests were conducted and a complete CT scan was also done. Initially, I didn't get any confirmation from the doctor of my condition, but he gave us my reports. The doctor asked me to bring my family because there was something unusual about my blood tests. We were concerned and I informed my parents about it.

The Diagnosis

When they arrived, the doctor told me I needed to get my bone marrow examined. A relative knew that this procedure was performed mainly for cancer diagnosis. So, we had to remain in Mumbai for treatment, even though my underlying condition wasn't given any term. The doctor informed my parents that I had cancer. My parents could barely keep it together. However, I had not been informed about it at that time. I was discharged in a few days and returned to my village.

I was treated very differently by the villagers. I had no idea what was the reason behind all this. My parents finally told me about my condition and asked me to go to Mumbai for treatment. It was very difficult to take in. I decided to go to Mumbai and the villagers bid farewell to me with tears in their eyes.

We went with the required documents to Mumbai and met a person who informed us that there would be large expenses. My friends asked me not to worry about the payment but to get my treatment done in another hospital since my illness was severe.

After a few test results, I was diagnosed with blood cancer and was informed by the doctor that I only had a 50% chance of survival. He further explained my treatment procedures. My family was shocked to hear the doctor explain about my illness. I was unable to cope, and I stopped talking all together.

The Treatment

I had to go to the hospital for Chemotherapy. I grew frail because of the treatment. Following this procedure, I developed a painful infection. My parents thought I'd not survive, seeing my illness. I thought I lost everything because I'd been diagnosed with such a severe condition. I grew extremely nervous. After a month, besides chemotherapy, a bone marrow Surgery was done with 4.2 blast cells left. I was notified that I'd need matching stem cells. My siblings were called to verify whether their stem cells matched mine. Doctors found a match with my sister's stem cells. I had to undergo high doses of chemotherapy, as well.

My haemoglobin levels decreased after eight days, and I required blood units. The doctor told me I needed a bone marrow transplant (BMT), where other stem cells would be implanted into mine. I didn't feel comfortable with this, but the doctors advised me to proceed with the procedure. Even though there were a few risks involved, this was the best option. I learned about the procedure, and finally, I gave my consent for BMT after three days.

The Surgery

As BMT was getting close, I began to worry a bit. I got admitted to the procedure. Two days before I got BMT done, I was put under observation. A catheter was inserted, and I was given high doses of chemotherapy. Compared to the previous sessions, chemotherapy was intense this time, resulting in hair loss and extreme fatigue. I had to follow a strict diet where spicy food was not allowed. The doctor told me 42 days later that there was no reason for concern. My Tai's stem cells were given on January 17, 2019, to see how many stem cells matched and it matched 92%. The doctors administered a stem cell growth injection. I vomited and did not eat or drink anything since a reaction was occurring gradually. After taking medications, my stem cells increased. I underwent BMT, and I was in a lot of pain.

I eventually developed a back ulcer and infection. Medicines were prescribed, but they caused a lot of discomfort, and I could not move. My mother helped me overcome these difficulties. Despite her lack of knowledge, everyone in the hospital praised her for her actions. Even a well-educated woman wouldn't have gone as far as my mother would have.

Soon I began to have trouble with my memory and spoke about unrelated things. I could not even answer questions from the doctor. When the excruciating pain hit me, I began cursing the doctor and the other hospital staff. My potassium and magnesium deficiencies forced me to visit the hospital frequently.

My mother took me in a wheelchair, as I couldn't walk. My friends always told me that I should not fear and enjoy life to the fullest. My courage to conquer this illness inspired people in the hospital. It's been six months since my discharge. I still need a lot of medication. I also have regular checkups.

The compassion and the care offered by the hospital's doctors and nurses were so exceptional that not even families would lend that care and support. They would try several ways to uplift my mood.

After the Surgery

I was required to do a follow-up checkup in 3 months. The villagers were excited to see me. But everyone kept talking about my cancer. My return to the village was during the season of weddings, where everyone danced and had fun. I was upset and thought I could have joined the others in their fun if I hadn't been affected by blood cancer.

Three months passed by, and I went to the outpatient department for a follow-up. After some blood tests, I was worried whether cancer would come back to me. However, the results were satisfactory, and the doctor told me that I would be contacted regarding any further procedures. The doctor asked me to wait for 9 months, he said I could receive treatment from my home town and he advised me that the sooner I did it, the better. He also emphasized the importance of being cautious.

My family took me out to breathe some fresh air. I feel like I didn't have cancer at that time. During my second follow-up, I felt better, and nobody mentioned cancer to me. I celebrated my birthday well, and everyone became emotional. My friends have also given me massive support. They made me believe I never had this illness. They also said that if I couldn't afford my medical bills, they would beg for money. They were also willing to send me abroad for treatment.

I thought that cancer was not as hazardous as people claim to be at this stage. Nobody in my village goes to the hospital to treat cancer, because they assume nothing can be done. But now, after witnessing my journey, this perception has changed. A few villagers distanced themselves from me when they realized that I had cancer. Friends reminded me that they behaved this way because of their lack of knowledge.

Parting Message

I only have one thing to say: Regardless of the type of cancer or stage of the disease, one should not feel burdened by it. People need to combat it as if it were a minor ailment. The people around me inspired me and gave me the power to hold on to life. They told me about the experiences of other cancer survivors, including cricketer Yuvraj Singh. Cancer is normal. Strive to win the battle and you'll definitely overcome cancer.

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