It all began with stomach pain
In 2018, I started working as a trainee engineer, and suddenly one day, I experienced stomach pain in my left abdominal region. I took some painkillers, but it did not help. The pain was increasing with time. I consulted a doctor. Firstly, it was diagnosed as gastritis; I took medicine to control it, but it did not help. Then I decided to consult another doctor. Here the doctor suggested sonography. The report confirmed there was an enlargement of the spleen. Then, I consulted another doctor, and it was revealed as blood cancer on further tests.
After the diagnosis, I was in shock. This was devastating news for my family and me. We were frightened by the sudden urgency with which things progressed from there.
Treatment and Side effects
My treatment continued for three and a half years. It was harrowing. I must say that this was the most crucial time of my life. I was given an injection in the backbone. I do not have words to describe my pain. My treatment will continue for another eight months. It is a challenging journey, but I am confident that I will overcome it.
As the treatment of cancer is painful, so are its side effects. I had constipation, loose motion, severe pain, infection, and fistula. Together with all these side effects, everything was unmanageable for me. As a side effect of chemotherapy, I had hair fall. It had a massive impact on my body. I faced dryness in my mouth because of that, and I could not eat anything, even though I was unable to drink water. Nausea and vomiting were other side effects. Its impact was visible on my body.
I am grateful to my friends and loved ones who stood with me in my difficult time. My friends were always there with me. During my treatment, I needed blood, and as per hospital rules, I needed to deposit blood there to receive it. My friends donated blood for me. My brother accompanied me throughout my treatment. However, the journey was challenging, but it became smooth with the help of friends and family. One thing that helped me through my hospital stay was the care and knowledge of the staff and doctors. I am very fortunate to get an experienced doctor for my treatment. Hair loss is something which comes with the chemotherapy used in haematology. It is scary when it starts to fall out but remember it’s only hair; it will grow back.
Life style changes
After being diagnosed, I made many changes in my lifestyle, which helped a lot. I started doing yoga, pranayama. I started taking care of myself. I do walk, exercise and meditation regularly. Meditation helped me cope with stress and the side effects of treatment.
Advice for others
My advice to anyone would be to listen to your body. Signs of blood cancer are very vague, and in my opinion, awareness of cancer is very much required. If you notice anything different in your body, no matter how small, make sure you get it checked and even ask for a second opinion if you aren’t happy.
Medical insurance is a must
Medical insurance is a must for everyone. Cancer exerts a tremendous physical, emotional and financial burden on patients and their families. Even in the primary stage, the cost of treatment can reach lakhs, making it difficult for anyone to manage. In addition to screening for early detection, diagnostics and medicine, the cost of post-care treatment and tests is also prohibitive.