"Defeat is a state of mind, no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality," this quote has been very close to my heart for the last nine years. Surviving cancer is the most gruelling thing you could ever experience. The word 'cancer' itself is enough to send down the chills through one's body. But I am the only person in India that doctors admit has defeated cancer not once, twice but six times.
It was in 2013 when I was diagnosed with cancer for the first time. I had just come to class 10 and like every other student, was super excited. One day I started having pain in my neck and went to see a doctor. After several tests, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma (cancer of part of the immune system called the lymphatic system). I was shattered! Will I need chemotherapy? Will my hair be gone? How long will I survive? questions like these would continuously pop up. I remember the first time I had my treatment, I was so scared that I used to get panic attacks. I had six sessions of chemotherapy, and it was excruciating. I was declared cancer-free. As an ambitious student, I went to school and topped my board exams. But it came back after a year.
Suspecting my cancer had returned in 2015, I visited my doctor to report severe pain on the left side of my neck. To my utter dismay, my nightmare came true, the cancer had relapsed. I went to Tata Memorial Kolkata where I underwent 60 radiotherapy sessions. It was hard for me to focus on my studies as the thought of death was messing around my head. But giving up was never an option for me. I appeared in class 12th board exams and was among the toppers.
Later I came to Delhi University to pursue my graduation. So it was in the year 2017, during my exams, I came to know I had cancer again, this time in my stomach, which could be treated by making a 9-inch incision in the abdomen. An attempt was made to remove the cancer lump with binoculars at SMS Hospital in Jaipur, but no luck. So I had to undergo oral chemotherapy.
The cancer had eaten me up by that time. But not my willpower. During my treatment, I launched my start-up, started an NGO named City Star Club, which meets up the needs of my fellow cancer patients by raising their morale and make them aware of the disease. So far, 200 people have joined my NGO.
Later, I got cancer three more times in three different body parts-pancreas, neck and abdomen, in 2019 and twice in 2020. Seventeen chemotherapy sessions, 60 plus radiotherapy sessions, one bone marrow transplant, two surgeries, nine years of treatment, I had it all. But giving up was not in my dictionary. I re-launched my business venture and started writing my book. Recently, I got my bone marrow transplant done in April 2021. I am pursuing my MBA and got a job in a bank. Further, I am planning to launch a crowdfunding platform and healthy food-related manufacturing company. Being a writer and motivational speaker, I will soon appear on TEDx and josh talk.
I believe there is no medicine for every disease. Sometimes it's just prayers that save you. At least in my case, it has happened. My parents have been the most extensive support system throughout my journey. Dad always says, "Tujhe Bhagwan se bhi jeet ke le aaunga."
Life has changed in these nine years, but what I learnt was never to give up hope. If one has the fighting spirit, he can win over anything. I used to be stubborn, arbitrary, angry. Now I have started looking at life from the different perspective.
Surviving cancer is anything but easy. One needs to be positive. Death is truth, don't spoil your today by thinking about it.
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