I, Mark Kageyama, was diagnosed with Prostate cancer in late 2020. In late 2020, I realized something was wrong with my body, and I was not feeling the usual way related to my health. The initial thought was it might be due to the ongoing pandemic due to which we all are not living the way we used to. Our lives were compromised. My initial symptoms were I started to feel pain in my leg right from my right knee to my right ankle. It got worse to the point where I could not walk for a couple of days. I decided to visit the naturopath, but the pain was not completely relieved. This prompted me to visit my doctor and get some testing done. It was then that I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. I underwent many medical procedures and tests on various parts of my body. During my treatment, I had several ultrasounds, biopsies, bone scans, and MRIs. Further tests found that cancer had metastasized and moved to my lungs and bones as well. This was when my journey with cancer started.
The news was shocking to ears in the beginning. I led a pretty healthy lifestyle, with an apparent good diet, exercising regularly 4-5 times a week. So naturally, coming around to this was challenging but not entirely impossible. I took a couple of hours to process this news and let it sink in. It was inundating in the beginning when my friends and family wanted updates. It was tiring and worn me out. My immediate thoughts were, I cannot lose this battle (cancer). I thought God would not put anything on me that I could not handle. Each of us has our struggles, which I was not ready to lose. I immediately started taking action. I proceeded to get my mind right first and my body healthy to fight this. I have too much to do in this life, and there is too much left to do for my family. I want to care for them, and I love them as much.
I also realized how important it is to have a strong support network by your side. I started my own YouTube channel, which is called ‘2BYourOwnHero’. It helped me to sort and channel my emotions in a way that would help and motivate others. I share my cancer journey on that and try to encourage people to appreciate life, enjoy health, and take advantage of the opportunity.
What kept me positive during the journey?
I, as a person, am an optimistic kind. I do not like to dwell on the negative things happening around me and deal with things as they come. This has been me since forever, and not just about cancer. I have always believed in life. I do not like to think about death much. Am I afraid to die? I am; it just depends on the day. I focus on living and not how I’m going to die. I focus on surviving this battle, being there for my family, and taking care of them. I put my mind to it, and it helped me. I used my positivity and kept thanking God for everything, like opening my eyes in the morning. I thanked God for each day. So, a positive attitude, feeding my mind with positive affirmations and thoughts, surrounding myself with a positive network and taking it one day at a time helped me.
Choices during the treatment
There were a lot of choices that I made for myself during this journey. The biggest and most important choice I made was accepting me with cancer. I would wake up in the morning, look at myself in the mirror, and try to get and love the reflection. It was a different me, a vulnerable person, and I needed help. This made the most impact on how I saw and treated myself. It helped me see my state better and helped me build my life around it and include it as a part of me.
Cancer causes a lot of muscle wasting and cachexia. My weight came down to 132lbs, and I felt weak. I made better food choices and changed my diet. I was vegan earlier, and after discussing with my Nutritionist friends and changing and tweaking my diet, I gained back almost 30lbs that I’d lost during the treatment and due to the disease. I felt fit, and my bones felt strong as well.
Lessons during the Cancer Journey
There is a silver lining to everything, and I would think of my journey as a cancer patient, the appreciation for every single thing and every single moment is the silver lining. I’m so thankful, as I said before, to open my eyes, also to walk outside the door and see the sunshine, trees, the blue sky, and to appreciate that. My first goal was to be able to reach my birthday in June. To open my eyes and live my birthday this year was the greatest. It was indeed a blessing.
Cancer has allowed me to see and understand what is essential in life and appreciate it. It is not anything earthly; it is being able to tell people how much I love them and being able to spend another day with them.
Parting Message to Cancer Survivors
Cancer is life-changing; it is life-altering. My parting message to other cancer afflicted and survivors would be to keep a positive attitude. Try to feel optimistic because that is what kept me going and fighting. Your physical health is affected and out of control, but you can try to take care of your mental health. Feed positive thoughts to yourself. Your solid mental state of mind will help to push you to keep going, even on days when nothing seems okay. My positive approach has elevated me through the whole process. Another thing would be to surround yourself with positive and uplifting people and inspire you to keep going.
You always have a choice. Do you want to live, or do you want to wait to die? I was not ready to wait to die.