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Suman (Blood Cancer): My Second Innings Is Beautiful

Suman (Blood Cancer): My Second Innings Is Beautiful

Cancer is a beast. It's not just a disease but an experience that teaches you the toughest lessons of life. Fighting through cancer is a humongous task. The whole journey from the comfort of your home to the hospital bed is very scrutinizing. I say this because I know it. I have lived through it, and I have lived long enough to tell my story. There have been unfortunate demises by this disease, but trust me, it can be defeated. Everything depends upon the proper medication and your WILLPOWER.

I was well off in my professional life when the doctor broke the news to me. A native of Calcutta, I've worked across the globe, including in the marketing sector in countries like Kenya and the Gulf countries. But it was during my tenure in Kenya that I learned about my ill fate. The signs were clear for a while, but I should have been more careful. Unusual swellings appeared all over my body, spreading around my neck and armpits. I also lost my appetite, and looking back, I realize I should have consulted a doctor before making any assumptions. The doctors at Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi, suggested a CBC. My ESR level was alarmingly high, touching 110,000. The doctors suspected Lymphoma and recommended a biopsy, but I was a bit skeptical about it.

As the medical facilities were not up to par in the country, I returned to my homeland. I flew to Chennai and was admitted to Apollo Hospital. Fortunately, I received treatment under the guidance of a leading haemato-oncologist. I harbored faint hopes for good news, but my worst fears were confirmed. I was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Lymphoma, also known as Blood Cancer. The words reverberated in my ears, and I felt numb upon learning it was in the fourth stage. The doctor appeared dismayed, stating I had a fifty percent chance of survival. Everything happened so suddenly. I had yet to witness my daughter grow up achieve independence and experience the various joys on my bucket list. It seemed impossible! Why me? But deep down, I knew I had to fight. For my friends, for my family, and for everyone who loved me, I had to fight. So, with all the optimism I could muster, I began my battle with cancer.

The first Chemotherapy cycle was painful, and I suffered from dire consequences like nausea, vomiting, and constipation. All of it was very excruciating, and I did not know where I would land next. But what kept me going was my love for my family, my twelve-year-old daughter, and my loved ones. They were the primary source of strength that took me through this tough phase of my life. After I was diagnosed, I read The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddharth Mukherjee and Kiss of Life by Emraan Hashmi, so that I could take in the positivity from their experiences. The total treatment duration was six months with five cycles of chemotherapy

The cancer treatment was quite expensive. Fortunately, I had the foresight to purchase medical insurance. The insurance company ensured that I faced no financial constraints during my treatment. When the results of the last few tests confirmed that there was no longer any sign of cancer in my body, I felt relieved. It was finally the day when I received validation from fate to continue living!

Currently, I own a startup and am financially stable. I reside with my family and have resigned from my job abroad, as managing my professional life with regular check-ups was challenging. I've come to understand that life is unpredictable, and anything can happen at any given moment. I've shifted my focus to exercise and yoga for fitness instead of relying solely on medication. My second inning is proving to be beautiful, and I ensure that I live life to the fullest!

Suman believes his battle with cancer is a story worth sharing, acknowledging the challenges he faced during his diagnosis. He emphasizes the importance of seizing the second chance life offers. His advice to others is not to postpone their bucket list, as life is unpredictable and anything can happen at any time. With these words, he hopes to inspire optimism and positivity among those fighting cancer.


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