One has to take it one day at a time. Today is a good day, and tomorrow will be a better day.
Blood Cancer Diagnosis
Twelve years back, my son was diagnosed with blood cancer; and my whole life came to a standstill.
Blood Cancer Treatment
He took Chemotherapy for nine months, and that completely changed our lives. The whole family just changed because when you see an eleven-year-old getting an injection every day, you don’t know what happened and why it happened. There were days when he could not sip water for 8-9 days; he just threw up. We didn’t allow our daughter to meet our son for 5-6 months; we didn’t let her even come close. It was a traumatic time, and in all these processes the God was so kind to us.
My wife and I used to share a lot of inspirational stories with him. We used to talk about the power of the mind. It’s because of God’s Grace that my son defeated Blood Cancer and is absolutely fine now.
Blood Cancer Journey
One fine day, I just sat down and told him that he had Blood Cancer and added that he would be fine by God’s grace. I gave him a laptop and gave him 40 minutes to write a one-page article about his fight with Blood Cancer. It was a very positive moment. At that time, all we used to talk about was the mind, and he said that cancer is related to stress; this is all an 11-year-old could gauge. Forty minutes later, I took a printout and got fascinated because his words just came from the heart. I went to his school, and the principal was also touched and said that it would be published in the school magazine.
A month later, we had a break from chemotherapy, so we went to Chandigarh. My father in law had just got in a newspaper that goes to Punjabis all over the world. He posted the article my son had written, with his photo and my mobile number, without telling me anything about it.
One day at 4:35 in the morning, some gentleman called me and said he was calling from Sweden and was praying for my son. I was taken aback; I spoke to him for a couple of minutes and then asked my father in law; he said he just printed the article about my son’s struggle with cancer. That day, I got 300 calls, and in the next week, I got over a thousand calls. People just saw the article and started calling me, without knowing me, or where I live, they just asked where they can send the money. I got calls for donating blood, and more than that, I had cancer survivors calling me.
This incident altered and changed my life. I had people calling from some Gurudwara. I was in awe as to why they were doing it. I still remember an old gentleman who called me at 8:30 in the night and said that he had read the article in the morning and was very touched. He was farming the whole day and just came to the STD booth. He said, “I cycled 20 km just to say that I am praying for your son. All these things made me realize how beautiful the world is and how kind people are.
It was all overwhelming for me, I did not know how to react, but later on, it made me realize that prayers, good energies, and positivity matters. Three months later, I took my son to the school to meet his teacher as he still couldn’t attend school. We were sitting in the lobby, and my son was wearing a mask and cap. Some lady just walked up to my wife and said she wanted to speak to her. She took my wife and said, “I don’t know what the problem with your son is, but I am a firm believer of Sai Baba, and while talking, she takes off a gold locket of Sai baba and gives it to my wife and said, “tell your son to wear it. My son wore it for the next five years, and it made me realize how kind people are. There are some prayers and universal powers, which can work to make anyone feel better.
I Found My Calling
I guess this is how my journey started, and today when I look at it, it was meant to be. It was payback time because, by God’s grace, I don’t work in life. It’s been two years since I have stopped working. I think my God gives me enough, and it is just the way of looking at things.
I have been working with an NGO for the last eight years. We have a daycare program once a week. I engage with 50 teenagers suffering from cancer for almost four and a half hours. They all are from a village background, so what they need is some emotional support and somebody to guide them and make them smile.
Besides that, three times a week, I go to AIIMS, and right opposite around, there is a Dharamshala where there are 300 people who sleep on the floor. I go there, put my hands on their shoulder and ask them how they feel or how they are doing with the medicines. I try to make them smile, and in the end, I just hug them. This is what I do, and it is something called emotional hand-holding. I believe it is such an integral part of any treatment.
We are all born in this world with a purpose and a calling. If we are lucky and blessed enough, and if we open our minds, we can actually get a feel of our calling; it is when life is beautiful and joyful.
My whole perception of living life has changed, and secondly, the way I look at it gives me a high. Life is only beautiful when you can share and love strangers. I can’t give people hope, but if I can even just comfort them, whether with a smile or by putting my hand on the shoulder, that works as a healing therapy.
Change your mindset
It is always difficult going through cancer, chemotherapy, radiation, and it is most difficult when you see your own child going through this. I guess the only way to defeat cancer is to think it’s not a big deal; the good thing about cancer is you get recovered. One of the essential things about fighting cancer is your mindset, and that’s where I learned emotional hand-holding. When you have cancer, you have two pains: physical Pain and then emotional Pain. You are lost in life; you have eleven different reactions from resentment to sadness, and your whole belief system goes for a toss when you are diagnosed with cancer. The only way to look ahead is to compile yourself and get your emotions a base.
This is what I deal and do with patients because people need an outburst. When somebody is sick, the whole family goes for a toss; they don’t know what will happen or how to deal with the current situation. This is where I like to comfort people. I believe that life can sometimes be amazing and beautiful when you go off track.
My son has become more caring
My son has now become much more caring towards people. I tell him to meet someone who got cancer, and he makes sure he does that, and that itself is one essential aspect. He is meticulous about what he eats and how much he eats. He controls everything, and that is required because, in today’s world, we are filled with every kind of junk food. He is more into eating vegetables, home-cooked food, and it makes a difference in the long run.
My son is 23 right now, and he is absolutely fine. I thank my son, daughter, and wife for their support because they never question me or stop me from meeting people undergoing treatment. I can’t give anybody hope, but if I can make them smile, it is good enough. So I always thank them for allowing me to do what I do.
Survivors inspire patients
Last year, I had eleven teenagers who have Brain Cancer from a village background, and their parents didn’t have any idea about cancer. They came to my daycare, and they were utterly lost and petrified. I made them sit across the table and introduced a 22-year-old boy who had the same cancer 13 years back. I told them that he was diagnosed with cancer 13 years ago, and the doctor had given him eight days to live, and today, he is perfectly fine. The moment they heard this, they had a glow on their face; their first reaction was that if he could become okay, then I can too. Their parents also start getting hope. I introduce the patients to the survivors of the same cancer because that makes all the difference.
When I deal with patients, I deal with the whole family because everyone is lost. At my daycare, we let people open up because that is the first process in any kind of healing as you have so many hidden fears going through all the time.
I always tell people to do a google search if you have guts because it can create havoc in your mind. Believe in the doctor because they know what they are doing; they have been doing it for years. I like to combine it with many integrative and alternative therapies, and I keep it very simple. I tell patients that their Chemotherapy will go on, the treatment will go on, but they just have to add a little bit of smile, laughter, the right breathing technique, and sitting out in the sun. All these things go a long way in helping the patient recover.
I have a purpose
My life has taken a complete turn from my thought process to everything possible. This whole journey was challenging, but today I have a purpose for what I do. Besides that, I have clarity on what I do, where we go wrong, and why we fall sick. I believe what is missing in our life is compassion. There are seven religions in the world, and the basic essence of all these religions is compassion.
Compassion is when you have empathy for someone, and you do something about it. When you have compassion, then all that flows through you is love, and love heals everything. We are born to be the blessings for others and joy for ourselves; we don’t get either of them; the day you start living life like that, that’s when it’s beautiful, and that’s when you feel pure joy.
One has to take it one day at a time. Today is a good day, and tomorrow will be a better day; this is a vital message because when you go to the hospital, and the doctor says that you have to undergo treatment, these things play with your mind.
Be a blessing for others, and then you will find joy for yourself. Start changing your perception, your belief and start questioning what you do. Start being a little kind, sensitive, sharing, and talking to people who are sick.