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Old 25th September 2016, 18:05   #1
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Default A unique journey: My experience with Cancer

I bought a Ninja 650 after nearly a year of deliberation. It was a sizable investment for self-entertainment; I had been pushing that decision for quite some time until finally wife said those golden words .."Go Ahead and just buy it"!!

But then this experience is not about the Ninja but something more interesting that followed roughly within a month of buying it !!!


"Damn, If only I had bought that Term Insurance from LIC earlier in January .. " The scene from Snatch movie just flashed by .. "Now I'm properly doomed !!" It's amazing that while one part of the brain was not sure how to react to the diagnosis, the other part of the brain was searching for humour in this whole episode !! Thoughts were running wild and brain had already started prioritization. 2nd Sep 2015 was going to end with a sleepless night.

Breaking the news to wife was not going to be easy. But she had a fair idea of what was going on so I was sure the reaction would be a contained one. It was the parents whose reaction I was not very sure about. They didn't have the slightest clue of what was going on. Cancer may not sound very intimidating to our generation, but sure enough parents would have a different reaction.

I spent the next 1 week going thru my finances listing down all assets & their value, investments, accounts, etc. most of which I already had in digitized format. Writing a Will was equally important so next 2 days went in selecting the correct format, and writing it down. Next was prioritization of liquidation of assets along with dependencies / documentation required , just in case. By 13th Sep, I had backup plan in place; I was ready for what was in store for me.

Confusion & More Confusion: The next visit to Oncologist of a very reputed Cancer hospital chain (let's say "A") of to determine the plan of action left me more confused. "Start the treatment immediately and it will surely recur but the chances of treatment being successful and survival are better; wait for a few weeks and let it move up the stage and the chance of recurrence will be lower but the survival rate drops !!" Recurrence = Different Chemo regime next time which would result in more side effects. To my amusement, the Oncologist left the decision to me on when to start Chemotherapy !!! This is where pressure starts building up !! It was as if the Doctor was inducing fear in this whole process. Anyways, after some persuasion that the Doctor should decide on when to start treatment, he initially said WAIT for couple of months, but after a week confirmed that I need to get admitted immediately and there's no need of waiting. But that was contradicting to what he had said earlier, WAIT !!!

Subsequently, I visited another Cancer speciality hospital, known to be treating far more number of cancer patients in Hyderabad. The Oncologist, Dr. Senthil Rajappa, is an amazing doctor; 2 minutes into his consultation session, I had made up my mind I would get treated by him. Contrary to the earlier Oncologist, Dr. Senthil advised me to wait for 2-3 months and see how it spreads.

More Confusion !!! So now One renowned Oncologist says Start treatment immediately, while the other one says Wait for couple of months. Instead of tossing a coin to decide, I visited Tata Memorial Mumbai in the 1st week of October.

The Game Changer: The Tata Memorial experience was the game changer. After standing for nearly 8 hours in front of Dr. Hari Menon's consultation room, I finally got what I was looking for a 15 minute face-time with Dr. Menon and the suggestion that Dr. Senthil was right in his approach and that I should go with his advice. While waiting for Dr. Hari, I saw numerous (at least 40-50) small kids all of them in the range of 5 - 11 yrs. who were in Chemotherapy treatment and waiting for check-up. Quite a few of them had lost their hair, there were a few who were in wheelchair too weak to move around. That's when I realized how lucky I was. I had spent 41 yrs. of my life quite healthy. These kids between were going thru the Chemo nightmare and still they did not have the slightest anxiety or fear. They were starting their life with this dreaded disease. Leukaemia treatment generally stretches over 2.5 yrs and the first 1 year is very painful. If these kids can face it with a smile, I was much better off than these kids; so should I be really worried about myself ?? My prognosis was better than theirs. That’s when I had decided, no self-sympathy required; let's get the treatment done.

Fast Forward 4 weeks, I started feeling the cancer nodes in neck and throat region; the ones in the neck & near the ears seemed to be growing faster and had started pressing against other parts and started causing pain. The ones in the lower abdomen also had grown quite rapidly, I could now feel the heaviness in the lower abdomen. Concerned, I went back to Dr. Senthil who suggested a PET-SCAN immediately and advised that we get Chemotherapy started in the next 1 week as the Cancer had moved to Stage-3. Sensing urgency in his tone, we finally started Chemotherapy in the 1st week of November.

The Treatment: Though I don't want to write about the treatment, some interesting things about this treatment that I noticed during course of next 5 months.
1) Having heard how Chemotherapy is toxic and weakens the body, I had started rigorous exercise and food regime well ahead of Chemotherapy. That helped; helped a lot actually !!
2) The Doctor knows best how you are going to react to the treatment; so we don't need to speculate about how the treatment will affect us. Dr. Senthil was very casual about the Chemo during the first 2 Chemo cycles. There were side effects, but they were not very pronounced. Dr. Senthil had anticipated this based on my physical and psychological state.
3) Side Effects are a part of Chemotherapy; we cannot avoid them, but we can tackle them in a better way by keeping fit, both physically and psychologically. Thru out the treatment there were different side effects; some more interesting than others .. From Urinary & Respiratory tract infections, kidney and liver functions, abdominal pain, dental issues and so on !! But the way Dr. Senthil downplayed them and made them so trivial and transient, it boosted my morale every time I visited the hospital !!

The regular Chemo cycles lasted for about 5 months, the maintenance Chemos continue for the next 2 years. A PET-SCAN in May 2016 finally confirmed NED - No Evidence of Disease !!

This experience has changed quite a few things, and taught me many lessons …

1) Family comes first, second and third … there is nothing more important than Family ..
2) Family is the only one that provides you it's unconditional support during tough times. During this whole episode, my wife and parents never showed any signs of pressure or anxiety. They changed quite a few things in their routine, but never complained about their own inconvenience. Wife did a lot of heavy lifting, managing home, managing son's studies, managing my changed diet which required her to be in kitchen much more, and above all managing her Office too. Sister and Brother kept the information flowing on what to do, what to eat, etc. etc. Having siblings helps !!
3) Friends are the 2nd most important people in your life. I was blessed with quite a few; from the ones who skipped work and stood with me in Tata Memorial from morning till evening trying to make sure that I get a face-time with Dr. Hari to the bunch of besties from School and Office who continued to keep the humour alive and providing psychological support, all of them are equally important.
4) Motivating others helps motivating self !! During my visits to hospital, I've been making an effort to interact with other patients and their families. Cancer has a deeper impact on one's mind before it has an impact on the body. Being an example of how well you can fight this disease and survive Chemotherapy actually helped a few patients. Patients and their families wouldn’t believe when I used to tell them that I had being undergoing Chemos for past 3-4 months.
5) Staying fit and exercising is important. Dr. Senthil would often say that you look more fit than anyone else !! I believed him and it helped !!

At 42, life was getting stagnated, nothing seemed to excite, and petty issues were making their presence felt !! And along came Cancer probably one of the best things that happened to me in the recent times, it shook me up from slumber. It was as if watching a suspense movie that put me on the edge of the chair !! And while they say that once you start this journey, the remission from the disease is often just a break in this journey and sometimes you have to continue it to the end, well, let's just WAIT and SEE !!

Regards,
Kishor Shinde

Last edited by junkishya : 26th September 2016 at 15:04.
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Old 25th September 2016, 19:19   #2
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Default re: A unique journey: My experience with Cancer

Took me a while to react after reading through the post. I wasnt sure what i can reply, i almost hit the back button but then, and that's when i realised how strong you now are. I am sure you will wait and see, and we all will see a million miles that you manage on your Ninja and the other auto's that you possess.

Best wishes to you and the family, and am sure you will come out of this sooner than you expect. God be with you !
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Old 25th September 2016, 19:26   #3
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Default re: A unique journey: My experience with Cancer

I think this is by far the most insightful journey ever posted here. Ironically it's not about an automobile. Congratulations to you and your family for seeing through this ordeal. Having seen four of near and dear ones with a 50% result I can make a guess as to what must have gone through the minds of your wife and parents. Salute to them!
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Old 25th September 2016, 21:37   #4
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Default re: A unique journey: My experience with Cancer

Junkishya, Amazing spirit mate and that is what is needed during this treatment. You have done amazingly well and I bow down to your spirit. I have seen how bad this disease is and the way it affects the person, his family personally. Happy that you are out of it . You have a great set of family and friends support too! Keep up the spirit, eat well and most importantly take care of your health mate.
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Old 27th September 2016, 09:11   #5
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Default Re: A unique journey: My experience with Cancer

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section).

Hats off to your spirit, man. Wish you good health.
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Old 27th September 2016, 09:55   #6
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Default Re: A unique journey: My experience with Cancer

you are the real Hero, fighting to the enemy within. Kudos to your spirit and please keep up the same spirit!!
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Old 27th September 2016, 09:58   #7
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Default Re: A unique journey: My experience with Cancer

Hats off to you buddy, you have an amazing spirit. It is great to see that you are thinking logically in the face of such adverse news. Instead of cursing fate, you worked on your fitness and also at the same time ensuring that the practical/ logistical aspects are being taken care of.

Best wishes to you for your future. Keep us posted on all the progress you make. If there is anything that we online brethren can do, just shout!
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Old 27th September 2016, 10:01   #8
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Default Re: A unique journey: My experience with Cancer

Quote:
Originally Posted by junkishya View Post
At 42, life was getting stagnated, nothing seemed to excite, and petty issues were making their presence felt !! And along came Cancer probably one of the best things that happened to me in the recent times, it shook me up from slumber. It was as if watching a suspense movie that put me on the edge of the chair !! And while they say that once you start this journey, the remission from the disease is often just a break in this journey and sometimes you have to continue it to the end, well, let's just WAIT and SEE !!

Regards,
Kishor Shinde
Hats off! Taking the body fitness couple of levels up in preparation for the oncoming onslaught from chemo medicines is a valuable tip Take this as your second chance in life. Try to do what you couldn't now.

Were you diagnosed with cancer in 2014? What were the symptoms?

I have seen the effects of Chemotherapy and radiation twice in my life recently that too in quick succession both my mom and dad were diagnosed with the dreaded disease within one year of each other's diagnosis 2012 and 2013.
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Old 27th September 2016, 10:03   #9
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Default Re: A unique journey: My experience with Cancer

Thank you for sharing the insightful life story. It is indeed and eye opener. We sometimes take things for granted and suddenly an event or two shakes the whole world.

I have seen some close buddies go through it and wish nobody has to go through such a thing.

You are truly spirited. Hats off to you and your family to see through the trying times. Wish you healthy life ahead.

Last edited by parsh : 27th September 2016 at 10:04.
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Old 27th September 2016, 10:08   #10
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Default Re: A unique journey: My experience with Cancer

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Originally Posted by junkishya View Post
And while they say that once you start this journey, the remission from the disease is often just a break in this journey and sometimes you have to continue it to the end, well, let's just WAIT and SEE !!
Sir, immense respect to your spirit! Thank you for writing this and sharing your experience here! Here's hoping this is a permanent break in this particular journey of yours. All the best!
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Old 27th September 2016, 10:27   #11
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Default Re: A unique journey: My experience with Cancer

You just took the monster "HEAD ON". What a spirit!!! Who thinks of working out and getting healthy when you have just been investigated to have one of the most dreaded diseases.

True, family is everything we got. Wish you long and a healthy life.
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Old 27th September 2016, 10:40   #12
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Default Re: A unique journey: My experience with Cancer

Thanks for sharing.

An eye-opener, especially for something that we often mark as "something that happens to others only"!

And your listing on who are important in life - spot on.

Wishing you good health!
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Old 27th September 2016, 10:51   #13
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Default Re: A unique journey: My experience with Cancer

Hi junkishya, being a doctor myself and having lost my mom at age 8 to cancer, cancer is a dreaded feeling for me. I have to admire your grit to keep your spirits high, wish you a full recovery.

While most of us can only hope for the best , it's always better to have a health insurance policy and term insurance, because not everyone can afford healthcare and not all have a working spouse.
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Old 27th September 2016, 10:51   #14
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Default Re: A unique journey: My experience with Cancer

Quote:
Originally Posted by junkishya View Post

At 42, life was getting stagnated, nothing seemed to excite, and petty issues were making their presence felt !!
Regards,
Kishor Shinde
So true. This is where we get petty things take up our time and energy without anything constructive happening.

Best wishes and hope you gain strength and live strong. Even I think keeping fit is not for everyday life but more useful when we face health issues and for strong recovery

Last edited by srishiva : 27th September 2016 at 10:56.
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Old 27th September 2016, 10:52   #15
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Default Re: A unique journey: My experience with Cancer

I salute you for your spirit and your positive attitude.

There is not a word about God in your post, which conveys to me that you have faith in yourself (and of course, your family & friends) to overcome the difficulties faced.

Kudos to your courage and I am sure you will motivate others to do the same.
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