Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Vikash Maurya was 14 years old when he was diagnosed with bone cancer. He fought cancer with strong determination in 8 months! Currently, he is on his journey to study B.Tech CSE at a top institute called NIT. Alongside, he also takes care of his fitness and dreams to participate in bodybuilding competitions in the future.

My Cancer Journey:

When I was 14 years old, I started having pain in my right leg. At first, I didn’t consult a doctor as I thought it was a mere problem. Afterward, it started swelling, my father took me to a doctor who suggested that I go to Lucknow and that is where I was diagnosed with a heart-stopping word for me, cancer. The doctor told my family that my leg needed to be amputated, but he suggested an alternative in Tata Memorial Hospital, where some medical procedure could be done to save my leg. 

At Tata Memorial Hospital, I was advised to undergo 8 chemotherapies and surgery, which I did. During this treatment, I lost my hair and weight and it was an excruciatingly painful experience. But my family and friends always supported and motivated me. The doctor said that it will take about 1 year for bone cancer treatment, however, I completed my therapy in just 8 months.

I had never imagined that cancer could ever happen to me since I only used to hear this word in movies or shows. My family too was depressed after learning about my condition, especially when they heard about amputating my leg. However, they always stayed with me and gave me motivation to continue with my treatment.

Life Lessons:

I was in 7th standard when this happened and I moved to Mumbai from a small village in UP. At first, after seeing so many other patients in that hospital, I was worried but then I realized that if they can fight this disease then why can’t I? I fought this bravely and successfully defeated Bone cancer. I learned that no matter how big the obstacle is I can fight and survive it.

I feel lucky to be able to defeat Bone cancer. I never felt regret about this incident and believed that God gives problems to only those who can handle them, so God knew that I could survive this.

I learned not to give up no matter what problem is in front of me.

Academic Journey:

When I left for my cancer treatment, I missed my classes and then joined 8th grade after completion of my bone cancer treatment. However, I was not able to continue attending school due to pain in my leg. So, I started learning from home through online mode and books. In 10th class, I gave my best to score 80% in board exams. 

In 11th class, I had to undergo surgery again to replace my knee implant as it gets spoiled with continuous use for 2-3 years. So again I continued studying from home. In the 12th board exams, I passed with 80% and most importantly I cleared JEE Mains with 87 percentile. Now I am eligible to secure a seat at a top college like NIT, Allahabad in the Computer Science Engineering (CSE) branch.

Work with NGOs:

I belong to a poor family and we did not have enough money for the Cancer treatment, so an NGO called the Indian Cancer Society (ICS) helped us by donating about 2-3 Lakh INR for my bone cancer treatment. I built good relations with the NGO and started working with them. Cankids, an NGO further supported me with my education expenses. I also started working with them after my 10th exam.

We used to travel to places where a lot of people gathered such as railway stations, etc., and made awareness among people about childhood cancer and that it is curable with the right treatment at the right time with early detection. We educated them about blood and bone type cancers and their symptoms, and how to approach the right treatment.

During this time, the ICS NGO took us to an MNC company where I shared my journey. I noticed that all the employees(approx. 30) of that company shaved their heads in front of us. Upon asking, they said that they do this once a year to respect all cancer patients as they lose their hair during chemotherapy. I found this very inspiring!

With CanKids NGO, they used to provide vocational training like computer training to children and so I enjoyed spending my summer vacations with them.

Fitness: 

Around 8-9 months ago, I saw my friend going to the gym and at that time I also wished to go to the gym since it was my childhood dream to be a fitness youth icon. So, I consulted my doctor and took permission to go to the gym with the advice not to put much weight over my knee as it can put a strain on my replacement. I started working out at the gym and also at home.

At the end of 2 months, I started noticing good results and my body started getting in good shape. I got inspired by this and continued working out while keeping my health in check. 

Presently, I aspire to get enrolled into and complete my B. Tech degree, but along with that I plan to also participate in handicapped bodybuilding competitions soon. For my diet, I usually have homemade food and also a protein-rich diet.

Support from My Family:

I used to get very irritated and restless during the cancer treatment as a result of chemotherapy and it made me annoyed and exasperated at my mother. But she was always very understanding and always stood beside me and supported me. 

My father too had to bear through a lot of hardships during that time. When we moved to Mumbai, at first we stayed on the 3rd floor of a building that did not have an elevator. My father used to carry me, even though I was almost his height, climbing up and down three floors whenever we had to go out for visits. After 15 days, we shifted to the ground floor at request.

I have a younger brother and an elder brother. My elder brother also suffered since he had to manage the house in my father’s absence when we moved to Mumbai and used to take care of my father’s small business while he was studying in 12th class. He also used to motivate my mother since she used to get very upset.

I am planning to get a foreign TKR implant for the next time I will have to undergo replacement surgery. The problem with the Indian TKR is that I will have to undergo surgery every 2 to 3 years, while the foreign implant will last more than 10 years.

Message to Cancer Patients:

Please do regular checkups and follow your doctor’s advice carefully. Doctors recommend not to have outside junk food since it can cause infections which can inherently result in the delay of the treatment’s stipulated period. I always followed their advice and thus did not get any infection and completed my treatment early.

I will say this with strong determination that anyone can fight a problem as severe as cancer!

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