Since I was a schoolboy, I was a rather average guy with everyday interests such as playing cricket, exploring the world around me, and dreaming of future excellence. Spending my childhood days in Bangalore, I followed a conventional educational process where I first entered engineering and later moved to MBA. Presently, I work in a leading multinational firm in Mumbai. Returning to work after six months was both refreshing and exciting. Though I have gone back to my old ways of cribbing over deadlines, disagreeing with my boss, and sometimes (not consciously) pondering over colleague’s appraisals, I am thankful for surviving Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer and seeing each dawn.
How it began:
I was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma. According to textbook definitions, stage 4 is the last stage of cancer, where the infected cells spread to other body parts. The doctors said I was at stage 4, but there was very little carcinogenic cell activity in the spread areas. My core treatment to fight the disease revolved around Chemotherapy. My body needed six cycles that were spread over 12 sittings. Undoubtedly, mental and physical Stress weighed me down, but I stopped putting my mind after a while.
I have a family history of cancer, so as soon as I learned about my battle, I did plenty of online research to equip myself with every bit of information available across websites. Initially, I reflected on it and engaged in mindless thoughts. But then, I decided to take it in my stride and cherish life the way it is. Moreover, everyone in India who hears about your Pain jumps to give you home remedies and pushes Tulsi forward in every crisis. A misdiagnosed lump grew in me over a month when I visited a general physician and a skin specialist to find out what was wrong. Finally, a lab assistant played a significant role in the identification. Post my Chemotherapy sessions; I had to be lifted and placed in the wheelchair because the treatment kills both the functional cells and the cancer cells. My body felt drained.
Supportive Family and Co-Workers:
For someone who has been working each day for the past ten years of his life, suddenly staying back home can be pretty challenging. It is a wholly changed dynamic if you are sitting idle. Being an optimistic person and my company’s support helped me cope with my Anxiety. I got a monitor and synced it with my working system. This allowed me to work from home and do at least 60% justice to my role. Though I moved to basic tasks, I still got to check emails, do conference calls, and handle information. My job instilled a renewed sense of importance and boosted my confidence.
I followed no unconventional treatment method except for regular flax Seeds and Wheatgrass juice consumption. I am very private, so I don’t believe in divulging too many personal details to people around me. I do not have a group of friends I will meet each evening to hang out with. My way of tackling cancer was to share it with only two to three close buddies who cared to ask me about my health and whereabouts. It is an excellent approach because it leads to fewer conversations about it. Moreover, such news in India spreads like forest fires! The battle is very personal, and everyone has their way of overcoming it.
Medical Expenses, Health Insurance and the underlying extortion:
The hospital and Indian healthcare industry is majorly complicated. The equipment is a massive investment, and the insurance companies can sometimes be a menace. My Cancer Treatment bills were somewhere around two to three lakhs. The Chemotherapy bills were settled directly by the hospital and my insurance provider. However, the bills I filed were considerably less, and I faced frequent questions that were sometimes unjustified. I was shocked when the hospital told me I could not leave until my insurance claim was settled. Honestly, that was traumatic after the tiring treatment.
A God-sent family:
Though I thank God for belonging to an upper-middle-class family, I shudder to think about the commoner’s plight who lacks primary education, financial resources, and knowledge of crisis management. My parents, sister, and limited friends were my support system. Though I had no role model, I read a little on Yuvraj Singh, owing to my cricket love. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma temporarily made me Stress less about petty issues like minor business losses and job competition. Now, these are slowly coming back to me. But I had already warned you that I am just another average boy. I had an 80% chance of survival and clung to that hope until I won.