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Every year, on World Cancer Day, I go down memory lane and end up reliving some extremely poignant moments of my life. Two years back on this day was when I thought my tryst with lymphatic cancer was almost over but was actually the start to one of the toughest 21 days I have ever lived!
To give you a little background, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in October 2019 and went through five cycles of chemotherapy. I was supposed to undergo six cycles but before the last one, my lungs were infected with pneumonia (70 percent filled with water, instead of air!) and the doctor decided to admit me on the spot. After what felt like an eternity of doctor visits and medicines, I was waiting to be free of cancer – only for the doctor to say that you’re through but who knew that I was actually on knocking on death’s door.
The irony of that February was it felt never ending and yet, it flew by! A few days in the ICU using a ventilator to breathe and what felt like thousands of injections later, I felt like my life had been taken away and given back to me – repackaged with a note on top ‘Here’s another go at it, make it count!’
And that’s what I am striving and hoping to do every day. For the last six months, I have been pursuing MBA at the Indian School of Business, living amidst nature at the most beautiful campus, meeting some of the most wonderful people and building beautiful relationships. This World Cancer Day, I feel VERY privileged that I have been given this opportunity and I want to send up a prayer for those who are fighting this disease too!
Before I walked this journey, this day was just another day in the year for me. But now, it means so much more. It reminds me that I am lucky to be living this life, to have a healthy mind and body, to have the opportunity and ability to study and most importantly, to get another chance at life. It also immediately reminds me to be grateful for friends and family, people who look out for me, share the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows and stood by me at my absolute lowest in life.
If I could put down some lessons that this experience with cancer taught me, here they are!
1. Nothing is permanent: However difficult that is to believe in the moment, it is true.
2. We cannot control everything in life: I definitely thought I could, but clearly not!
3. What we CAN control, is our mind and our reactions: The one thing we don’t do enough
4. It’s the little things that matter: Whether it’s being able to breathe comfortably (and now we all know this more than ever!), having a roof and good food,
fitness, a loving circle of friends and family, these are luxuries many people don’t have
5. Let go: Learn to let go of everything that is harmful and toxic: things, people, relationships, everything! I’m learning to protect myself, at all costs.
And one more – CELEBRATE! Celebrate everything you can when you can; because I strongly believe – the more you celebrate, the more you will have to celebrate. So, here’s to a year filled with many celebrations for all of us!