Early symptoms and diagnosis
My cancer journey really started in 2014. Before my cancer diagnosis, I was living a healthy lifestyle. I was meditating daily and eating healthily.
But my stomach started getting bigger. Sometimes I would get these deep night sweats which I thought were due to the weather. I saw a naturopath who said to me that something was wrong with me by looking at my blood levels. He advised me to get a sonogram. After the sonogram, I asked to go to the hospital. The doctor told me a couple of days later that I had Diffuse Large B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, also called DLBCL. So that’s how I found out that I had cancer.
The emotional state of me and my family
I was told I had cancer when I was in the hospital. I was so down that I didn’t get out of the hospital for two weeks. I was nervous and scared. It was strange that I was also ashamed.
The first person I told was my sister. When I told her and she fell apart. I had to console her which was a strange situation. My mom, my dad, and my other sister, all were shocked.
I had a treatment called Chop treatment. It is a combination of four types of drugs like vincristine. I don’t know the names of the other drugs. I had six cycles of it. It took four months for me to recover. I’ve been cancer-free for seven years now.
Every alternate week, I did integrative modalities in addition to the chemo treatment. I also did a combination of energy medicine. I went for acupuncture and ozone therapy. I even did red light therapy. I didn’t stop going to the gym to work out. Even though my eyebrows and my head had no hair, I still mustered the strength to do that.
I even did my own research on things like flaxseed oil. I took flaxseed oil as a nutritional supplement to enhance my nutrition because when I left the hospital after two weeks.
My support system
My parents were definitely a support system in terms of the physical aspect, like eating and nurturing. My sister was supportive too. I am not someone who asks for things. I don’t need someone to do anything for me unless I can’t do it. Even though my family and friends were my support system, I relied on myself and my knowledge, my spirit, and my energy.
Experience with the medical team
My experience with the medical team was fantastic. I counted on them. The team was great all throughout the treatment. I had to go every three or four weeks to get my rounds of chemo. The staff was so helpful.
I think my spirituality helped me to stay strong. I grew up Catholic but I wanted to explore other religions. So a combination of all religions is my motto. My spirituality really helped me because I saw my bodily disease, not my spirit’s disease. I only saw one aspect of myself. So, spirituality helped to see my other aspect. Meditation helped me to process my emotions and my feelings. I will also give credit to my grit and my determination. I took it as a challenge.
I was eating organic foods before my cancer diagnosis. When I reflect back on that time, it was very stressful going through a business partnership. And I don’t think I handled it or processed my feelings well. And I think I internalised a lot. So, I explored a movement called men’s work to become a better person. I made sure I worked out even more. I’m kind of a yes man. I like to say yes to a lot of things. Now I say no but in a kind way.
Cancer allowed me to find what I want to do with the rest of my life. I’m a board-certified wellness coach now. I coach cancer survivors. My book was launched on February 22, and it hit the best sellers list in three categories. This changed my career path. I was able to meet and connect with more people. I thought cancer was like a scar but it transformed my life positively. It gave me the confidence to tell my own story.
Message to cancer patients and caregivers
I would say a few things to cancer patients and caregivers. First, cancer is not a death sentence. There is a way. You need to act quickly, but you also need to arm and educate yourself. You need to find ways to understand cancer’s weakness. You need to speak to cancer as if you are speaking to it. The second thing is to get a support system. A support system can help you because when you’re listening to what the doctor is telling you, it could be a blur. So, let people help you. Lastly, I tell them to go into the seven energy centres of the body or chakras. And try to figure out what’s happening with you mentally, physically, or emotionally. There is a way out of this. You need to dig deep and figure that out.
We can’t remove the stigma and fear completely. Awareness can reduce it a little bit. Cancer is indiscriminate. It can affect babies to older adults. Sometimes people assume that you have a certain type of cancer because you smoke too much. Another stigma is that cancer is a death sentence. This is not true. Certain lifestyle choices could limit or decrease the chances of cancer like the type of food intake or stress or contaminants. You also need to be aware of these and get tested. If you have something you should get that checked by being proactive.
The book that I published
So my book is called “I Survived Cancer”. I interviewed nearly 175 cancer survivors from all walks of life, different cultures, and different places throughout the world. I chose 35 cancer survivors to write a book. My book highlights their stories. It starts with my own story. My book promotions team told me I hit number one on Amazon bestsellers in three categories. I wrote it because if I saw that book in the oncologist’s office, it would have put me on a different path.