There is one “C” word – Cancer – which is the most scary and forbidden word to both the patient and the caregivers. We could call the cancer cells the most “crazy” cells or the “wayward” cells or the “bigade” cells of our body.
Cancer cells enter in our body when they are still too immature to have learned the rules of the society they are living in. As with many immature individuals, everything these cells do is just excessive and uncoordinated with the needs or constraints of their neighbours. They are highly reproductive but unfortunately not at all productive. So, one must overpower them before they overpower us through cancer awareness, education, prevention, screening, early detection and optimal and timely treatment.
A cancer diagnosis changes your life for ever. As the “C” word is really messy and frightening, one always remembers the moment it first appeared in out lives. This feeling is too difficult to even put it in words. The disease is somatic but the suffering is psychic. Cancer is not a straight line. It’s a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs. It’s emotionally, physically, mentally and financially draining. One feels like throwing everything at it but also remember to throw lots of love your way.
Diagnosis often leads to certain questions such as “Why me?”
Sadly, there is no right or wrong answer. It brings with it a lot of mental turmoil, anguish and a suitcase full of unwanted emotions which were otherwise shut up in a forgotten closet. But we shouldn’t waste our time and energy thinking about questions for which we might never get any answers. We must cut those troubles into slices and gobble them up.
But don’t worry. Every emotion one feels is absolutely ok. Be it guilt, anger, grief, frustration, sadness, loneliness or fear. We must give ourselves enough time for the diagnosis to sink in but ultimately get up and get going for the next steps of proper diagnosis and treatment. It is important to remember that it has only affected a small part of your body. Don’t ever give it so much power that it overpowers the mind and starts ruling the whole body.
Cancer changes a person, there is no doubt about that. But it’s upon our self to decide what that change will bring in our lives. We should not let our life revolve around the cancer time zone. Life came first. Cancer later. It never wins.
Remember, if cancer closes a few doors it also opens many other doors; and the most important door is that of your heart and your loved ones. So, bring those abandoned parts of yourself back in the embrace of love. In this journey you will meet many strangers who will work selflessly to ease your suffering and give you lots of comfort in various areas of life. Seek out people who are patient listeners, positive thinkers, financial advisors, financial supporters, excellent cooks, baby sitters, treatment counsellors, spiritual healers. Have faith in your doctor for the right advice always.
Beating cancer is a personal battle against a powerful opponent. There is no best medicine as hope, no incentive so great and no tonic as powerful as expectation of getting well. So beat cancer, small steps every day. Wade through storm with nothing but a lot of patience on your side!
Don’t forget you and only you are the captain of your own ship. So take charge of your own life. Be an active participant in your decision making as ultimately it’s you who has to take treatment. You are the architect of your own happiness. Rest all are visitors. Tell people not to look at you with sad eyes but with positivity and motivation. Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space at the same time so invite hope to stay. If someone comes to dull your sparkle, don’t let them occupy space in your mind. Kick them out and raise the rent.
It’s your life. Be aware of wonder around you. You are a loving child of God. So stand up straight with your chin held high. Live a balanced life. Enjoy it. Allow it to sing a song to u. Allow it to become a dance in u. Allow it to shower flowers on u. Thrive like a perverse flower in the wild. Just be available for you. Draw and paint. Play and work every single day depending on your energy levels. Have nutritious food. Rest ample and often. Meditate and do yoga. Go for long drives. Hold space for soul stirring conversations
Do anything but never, never, never give up. Never surrender!
Don’t forget it’s going to be only a chapter in your life and not the whole story. So don’t let anyone else write your book, edit it often and change the ending. Pursue your dreams. Achieve your goals. Write that poetry book you always have been dreaming about. Let your name be a memorable star in the vast galaxy of people even when the curtain falls finally. Let cancer know that it messed with the wrong person.
My wish to you is that you continue the treatment. Continue to be who you are and how you are. Continue to allow humour to lighten the burden of your tender heart. Forgive everybody including yourself for ignoring your symptoms and not getting tested and delaying the treatment. You can’t drive your life by looking in the rear view mirror.
My prayer for you- May you have comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to feel your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, gentle hugs when spirits sag, friendships to brighten your day, beauty for your eyes to see, confidence for when you doubt, faith so that you can believe, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth and lots of love to complete your life.
Hey you! You are awesome! Make your story terrific!! Because I know, you can!!!
The writer, Dr. Indu Bansal Agarwal, is a Director & Senior Consultant – Radiation Oncology at Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Gurugram.