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Veena Sharma (NHL): Our Optimism Only Helped My Son To Survive

Veena Sharma (NHL): Our Optimism Only Helped My Son To Survive

My son was diagnosed with cancer in April 2016 at the age of 4. All of a sudden, my life changed. I was clueless about what to do next with my baby. I didn't know many people, and I was not aware of cancer so much: what are the causes of cancer, what is cancer medication, and the best cancer treatment.

So, it was a very difficult time for me and my son. I struggled financially, physically, and mentally, but my son and I made it. I must say my son is a fighter. By 2019, the doctor announced him as a Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (Blood Cancer) survivor. Currently, he has to go through follow-up every 3-4 months, and it will continue up to 2029. Apart from that, he is doing extremely well.

Though it is challenging to remain positive and emotionally strong in this situation, it is essential for taking care of the patient. Becoming emotional or breaking down in front of the patient can create more stress for them. As an adult, being aware of the severity of the disease and all the myths about cancer, such as the belief that the survival rate is zero, it is indeed difficult to stay emotionally calm during the diagnosis of cancer.

That's why the survival rate is higher in children, because they treat cancer as any other disease, being unaware of the situation. As a psychological counselor, I would advise you to stay positive and think positively in these situations. It will help you cope up. Research extensively about the best cancer hospitals and the most suitable cancer treatment options according to the type of cancer.

As I mentioned, I struggled financially, so I want to emphasize to everyone out there the importance of investing in medical insurance. When your loved one is diagnosed with cancer, you'll be under tremendous mental and physical stress. You'll have very little time to prepare for the financial burden you'll face. I struggled because I handled everything single-handedly. So, I recommend everyone to prepare for the future.

Another crucial support you should seek is from your family. Families are invaluable in situations like these when you're burdened with stress. Their constant love and care can uplift the mood of both the patient and the caregiver. While I was there for my son all the time, my elder sister helped me a lot in taking care of him.

I would like to emphasize the mindset of Indian people about the disease as the mother of a cancer survivor. Two myths Indians harbor about cancer patients are that the survival rate of cancer is zero and that it is a contagious disease. Sadly, they are not even aware of the types of cancer! I was astonished to see people's narrow-mindedness even in this century. When you need your friends' and family's support the most, they leave you. That needs to be changed in our country.

In the end, I would like to say that being positive is the only way you can help the patient fight cancer. Keep friends and family close to your heart and prepare for the financial challenges ahead.


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