Stories of Hope (Mental Wellness)

My Story Of Uncertainties, Hope and Victories!


I have always been a simple, ever-smiling, happy kind of person.

I completed my M.B.B.S. in 2010, soon got a decent job, and was preparing for post-graduation.

Two years later something happened that changed everything in my life. I got diagnosed with Blood Cancer.

After 2 days of diagnosis I was admitted for 30 days for chemotherapy. In those 30 days, I got pricked at least 60-70 times, for injections, blood sampling, etc. I had numerous scans, transfusions, antibiotics, severe vomiting, retinal bleeding, vein thrombosis, and a lot more. Strangely none of that could shatter me.

I wasn’t much concerned but my family wanted to go to the USA for a second opinion. Lying in the hospital bed I was making a list of places to see and things to buy from the US. It wasn’t because I wanted to do all that before dying, but because I wasn’t at all bothered about dying or living but just wanted to enjoy every moment of my life, as I always did even before cancer.

The treatment in the US was very costly so we came back. After that, I had three more rounds of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. I was kept in an isolation ward for about 20 days and was at a very high risk of infection. I had bad oral ulcers, even a sip of water would burn my mouth so I was on i.v. nutrition for 10-15 days.

I survived and became cancer-free.

10 months later I had a relapse! 

Again lots of chemotherapies, even harsher than earlier, transfusions and the ugly things got even uglier.

This time it affected me a lot. While in hospital, every night, as soon as I closed my eyes, I would have a terrifying dream. I couldn’t sleep for one week. I didn’t tell anyone about that dream but just about insomnia. They arranged a sleep therapist consult for me and things got better.

For me to remain cancer-free, I had to choose a modality that would kill cancer as well as my healthy cells as a side effect. I went with it and since then I don’t have cancer. That was in Dec 2013!

To manage those side effects I was on steroids daily for 4-5 years. In these 10 years, in addition to the actual cancer treatment, I have had lung biopsies, liver biopsies, numerous extremely painful bone marrow biopsies, cataract surgery, hip replacement, etc. Even now I have quite bad lungs and get infections a few times every year.

Despite all that I am quite strong, fighting the odds, and will keep fighting even better, as long as I can.

I had very good family support, financial support, and a lot of support from my doctors and I am highly grateful for all that but none of that would have been possible without my willpower and strength.

But in all these years I have felt broken and defeated innumerable times, I have cried a lot in silence and I never tell anyone about it except one of my seniors. He guides me, motivates me, and keeps me sane.

What has helped me the most is that I accepted it very well and the adversities associated. I always knew that the outcome is in no one’s control, but now I live and how I fight was largely in my control. I trusted my doctors and just did whatever I could to make every day of my life as best as possible.

I love traveling. I make at least 5-6 solo trips every year. I have done that even when my hip was quite bad and I couldn’t walk without a stick. I take precautions but I try to do everything that I love doing, to eat everything I love eating, and a lot more.

I don’t want to die but don’t fear death. It will come when it has to but till then I will live it to the fullest, no matter what.

I know of people who have had much worse situations than mine, with cancer or even without cancer. I just want to tell you all to live every day as best as you can. There will always be difficult times when you will feel like giving up or want to cry but all that’s okay. Cry as much as you want, shout, scream, do whatever you want to, but don’t stay there, gather yourself up and be ready to fight the odds and start living your life again.

I kept things to myself and I have suffered a lot more because of that. I’m strongly telling you all to never do that to yourself. Talk to people, be in the support groups or seek professional help whenever you need it. That will make a huge difference. Still, you will have to fight your battles but doing that will be a lot easier.

“Zindagi badi honi chahiye, lambi nahi”

Author: Dr. Nikhil Aggarwal


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