Ananth passed away in his sleep on 20th Nov 2009. He fought a long hard battle and over the years gave many of us inspiration to continue with our lives in spite of our cancer. Rest in Peace, Ananth.
My name is Ananth Shenoy. I am an Indian and below is my long detailed story on my war against cancer. To update the under - I would like to add that though I have been declared totally cancer free, the doctors have indicated that as my food and wind passage have closed down totally - I will pass the rest of my days breathing through my tracheostomy and my "eating" through my peg tube.
Ananth and wife Sonya
I was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx in its last stage(4) in April 2000 at the ripe young age of 42. I am married to a beautiful lady, Sonya and we have two teenaged sons, Varun and Arjun.We live in a large apartment as a joint family with my mother and aunt occupying the bottom part of the home. I work as the sales head - Indian subcontinent for a German Automobile Company - one of the most reputable ones in the world.
The only way I realised there was something wrong,was because I lost my voice totally for about 10 minutes during a business meet and hence worried a bit.I never really had any problems with my voice except for some hoarsness once in a while - which became normal everytime I travelled out of India. I used to attribute it to the pollution. My wife and I decided it was time for a serious check up as once before when I went for a check up, I was told it was a sinus problem. We went and met an ENT friend of mine who decided to peer down my throat and a biopsy followed, which in turn decided that I did have cancer. Then the staging -4.I was not too worried as stage 4 did not seem to big a deal till I was told that there were only 4 stages!!!!
Ananth Ananth prior to diagnosis
Even then the seriousness of the problem was not a worrying problem and was quite sure that it would go away with a bit of treatment. Noone in my family has had cancer of any kind - so it could not be due to my genes.The doctors gave me only one option,as in the case of stage 3 and 4 patients-removal of the voice box !! I refused this ONLY option outright - I was born with the voice, I liked my voice, my job required I have a voice and finally but not the least - I needed my voice to tell my wife and kids how much I loved them. I was not going to give up my voice to anything called "Cancer"!!!
Ananth as a young man
It's been five and half years since I was diagnosed and today except for one (temprory) side effect - I was declared cancer "free" ( are we ever "free'?) on the 14th of January 2004. Today I have full control of my voice with both my larynx moving in perfect harmony and my voice box intact. The victory which I had initially taken so lightly turned out to be a nightmare and I have been through hell during the period May 2000 till January 2004.I cannot even come close to the pain and scars the cancer gave me and left me with. On the flip side for all reasons, and to every doctors and the medical world, I should not be alive, keeping in view all that I went through in this phase. No one, till date, has been to explain the reasons for my being around (and as even the medical fraternity are amazed and I would not blame you if you did not believe me -but every word I have penned is true).
Wife Sonya as a young lady
My war on cancer has become more of a QUEST - to find out why? - not as in why me?(did I get cancer?) but why me? not in terms of why did I contract the cancer but as why me?
In terms of being a miracle survivor. So many peple have given their opinions but none have been conclusive enough to convince me about their statements.
Let me take you on a a wild ride to the past where my tryst began till date and hope you will be able to offer me some answers. Join me in the ride and hopefully I will get some answers to my quest in understanding myself! I am sure the answer is out there.
What types of treatment(s) have occurred?
As I refused to have surgery for the removal of my larynx, the doctors at the Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre(RGCI) in New Delhi, India-began my treatment without too many options due to my being totally adament on not removing my voice box. It was Radiation to begin with and began on the 01st.of May 2000 ( its strange how one remembers dates especially when they are related to cancer!!). India is a country where resources of the latest kind are hard to come by - but what we lack in terms of state of the art machinery(except in a few select hospitals such as the one where I was being treated), I do believe we make up with the quality of the treatment that our doctors give us. I am more then convinced had I gone abroad for my treatment I would have been without my voice today. My mask was made ready the very first day and I recieved my first dose on the Linear Accelarator. I wonder if anyone outside India can actually believe that we have just six or seven such machines all over the country and that too in such a country where every one person of eight is suffering from cancer. Being a good friend of the Centre's owner has its advantages and I was given "prefential" treatment. My radiation would be at 10 am sharp every morning for six days a week-Monday to Saturday. Sundays were kept for Chemo- of which I recieved four cycles and was given the same in the day care centre of the hospital and from where I could recieve the chemo and continue with my work on my laptop and make my required phone calls. I was told about the side effects of the chemo - about hair falling out, going bald and so on - but surprise - I did not loose even one strand!
Ananth with his boys Varun and Arjun
Elder son Varun grown up to 6.2ft
Youngest son Arjun
I was never scared of the death and cancer was more a nusiance then a dreaded problem that took my time which I could have spent working (my wife keeps complaining I am an alchoholic - a work one please!). Cancer to me was more like a cough or a cold that would go away with the treatment. I hate to add this but I kept smoking during the entire treatment and even after the same my usual quota of 15/20 cigarettes per day and its not something I am proud of. My doctor and all my loved ones were shocked beyond words regarding my smoking but then as I explained earlier-I never took cancer as a serious issue - it was like a cold that would vanish in a few days time. Eight weeks of radiation and four cycles of Chemo my treatment came to an end on the 4th. of July 2000. My throat by then was so sore and raw that getting down solids was an almost a herculean task. However, I managed with a generous sprays of xylocaine (local anesthesia)-spraying my mouth just before every meal and also drinking a lot of water. My smoking continued and it used to infuriate my doctor to no end and all her lectures on death and my love for my wife and kids had no effect on me. She even went to the extent of expresing her anger to the newspapers and magazine that had interviewed me - quoting that I was the most impossible,irresponsible,stubborn patient she had ever dealt with and the media lapped up all this with glee and the same was splashed all over. I used to get strange and at times disgusted looks from people who recognised me because of the tabloids and also in the event, I held a lit cigarette.
The rollercoaster ride begins
Come November 2000 - time early morning 0500 hours - getting ready to take a flight for a business meet. My wife got me my coffee and medicines. I, as usual, sipped my coffee-only this time it refused to go down my throat and instead decided to come out of my nose! As much as I tried -the coffeee or the medicines were not going in.I thought things over and decided it was a small passing problem and would get over it, have it seen to and take a late evening flight.I never took that flight-instead took a drive to the RGCI to meet up with my angel(I refer to all my docotrs, friends as angels).One look at my pale run down look she had me admitted in the emergency without even giving me a chance to collect my hospital gear from home. My brave wife was given the task of driving back and forth those 100 odd kilometres to get things in order and explain to my sons and aunt about the latest developments.My mother, stayed by my side through out all these going ons. By now I was getting a wee bit worried as I had no clue what was happening and what was so serious that I had to be admitted and that too in emergency.
Without too much of a wait-began my MRI's,various scans, scans and scans - and eventually I was told that I had developed a fistula - a hole/passage between my wind and food pipes. Anything I tried to swallow was not going to be going down to my stomach bu would be going into my lungs - solids were out of the question.
To avoid dehyderation and not even try to take any more liquids orally (it could have been fatal as fluid had collected in my lungs by then and she did not want any more complications then there already were) a "ryles" tube was inserted into my nose so that I could start "feeding" again. The reason too as to why the fistula had come around was explained to me also and as we cannot reverse the clock,I had no choices but to accept what had happened was by error and nothing could change that. I was in fact, grateful that I had been told the truth. I had recieved a massive overdose of radiation - almost double then what a normal person can get in his/her lifetime. Enough dosage to kill me (even today my doctors hesitate to even ask me to get a x-ray taken as my body has taken on far too much radiation) and my smoking had not helped either. Meanwhile a certain doctor(surgeon) - who, I felt and still feel was something of a cross between a butcher and Jack the Ripper came around and explained how it was possible to pull up my stomach and by doing the same I could get back to eating.
The solution was crazy and the doctor nuts- I was in a state of panic! He wanted to operate (a major surgery-as he said it would be!)and make me into a freak (thats how I understood it to be!) from Mars (even that I imagine would not have been half as bad!!) and all my organs would be moved around.
My family, my treating doctor and most of all I suddenly realised we were in the wrong place and there was no way would I ever agree to such an operation. I liked my organs where they were and was in no mood to have them moved around!
Ananth on terrace of apartment
Without giving the nut a chance to see me again, I got a discharge and in no time was making a dash for the exit.I must have broken all records in the sprint to get out of the hospital gates. My doctor, who is truly an angel, refered me to an ENT friend of hers at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences - one of the best training grounds in the world for to-be doctors. Being run by the Government and the treatment, hence, is heavily subsidised and is always oerflowing with patients and some with the smallest of ailments and none are ever turned away. Very honsetly put this was not my kind of a place where I would like to have got treated. This actually shows how looks can be so deceptive.
As it was now more of an ENT issue rather then a cancerous one, my new angel only took me on as a favor to my doctor at RGCI as he had heard enough about my escapades and publicity.He is considered to be on of the best - if not the best ENT specialist in India and in fact heads the ENT faculty. He is also a no nonsense doctor who gives the facts as they are. Anyway getting back to my first meeting with my new angel (who has become not just my treating doctor but in someone who I have every bit of faith and trust. I have the rappot with him where we share jokes on the mail and he in turn takes extreme care to see that I remain in the best of spirits.I do not let any other doctor even get a chance to touch me let alone operate on me. He can do no wrong and gets pretty much agitated with my attitude of having so much faith in him).
Getting back to where we left off- when I first met him, I was choking due to the liquids that were in my lungs - I was drowning but I refused to accept that fact as he wanted to perform an emergency tracheostomy and insert a peg for feeding. I have always been very vain about my looks and this seemed as if my whole world was about to come crashing down.I told him I was perfectly fine with the ryles tube and was breathing fine and its only when he very clearly stated that if I did not agree - it was okay with him but I was not going to live. NOT LIVE??? I was dying??-that was crazy and so I decided to do what he wanted done and the next morning under local anesthesia a hole was made into my throat and I must admit it made my breathing easier. I was soon wheeled into the gastro unit and there, I think, all were in a hurry as they quickly moved an endoscope through my mouth and the pain was unbearable and to top it I could not even shout or moan as I had no voice due to the tracheostomy. All I could do was cry silently and unashamedly as the tube went further into my throat down to my stomach from where the Peg was pulled in. If pain can be compared to death-this was worse then death. I just kept crying silently till I was moved into my room - where I cried even more in the comfort of my wife and mother - who tried to pacify me as much as they could. I had become the freak that had worried me earlier. The secretions were all time greats and some tissue manafacturer showed immense profit in their balance sheet as I used up one box after another. As time passed the secretions decreased and my doctor decided to send me home. My mother learnt the art of changing my tracheostomy tube everytime one would get clogged and that was quite often. My wife could not bear the sight of my suffering and preffered to look away.
Home sweet home
I reached home to be greeted by my aunt and sons. I made a beeline for my bedroom and refused to even look in the mirror.I did not want to see the face who was looking back at me. I stopped shaving and went into overdrive as far as depression was concerned. I cut myself away totally from the world and passed my time cooped up in my room with my TV, PC and a lot of books to keep me going. I would only emerge when I had to go to RGCI for my cancer check up or visit my other angel to keep a check on my throat and stomach.
One day my doctor at RGCI asked me if I would be keen on trying out something new in India - called hyperbaric treatment. It was supposedly to get into a chamber and dive to a certain depth and breathe in pure oxygen that would help in rejuvenating the cells faster and especially in my case as the larynx and neck were areas where the flow of oxygen was the least. My other doctor was a bit vary of it all but as it would have no side effects he felt I should go for it and I decided to give it a try.I went through forty five sittings of an hour everyday. I do feel-though most doctors do not accept that it makes any difference and that it has been a disapointment and its too expensive for the common man, that it did. I felt a world of difference and my confidence too built up quickly.I decided that I had wallowed in enough self pity and as my immunity levels were now almost normal,I altered all my clothing in such a manner that both my tracheostomy and my peg were well hidden from the public eye and of course, I my speech was pretty normally but by holding my thumb on the stoma on my throat. Life slowly began getting back to normal and I began going out, socialising and generally doing everything I would enjoy. I was very particular though about keeping a fair amount of distance from people - friends, family (or enemies for that matter) as my immunity levels though normal I did not want to take any chances of contracting any kind of illness as a slight infection would mean weeks in bed.
As time passed and with no cancer around - I decided to kick off on something new - hitting the gym and running. I began working out slowly and running every morning to start with and with time- the tempo was at its peak much to the surprise of my trainer and my doctors (who were more worried about the strain I was putting on my stomach and the peg tube)-it was now a hour of hard workouts (weights and all)at the gym and running 4 kms every morning. Luckily my gamble paid off and everything went off smoothly as far as my body filled up. It was all hunky dory until... until.....
... one day as we were returning from medical check ups for both my cancer and general health from both the hospitals - where I was given a clean chit by both my doctors, I began cramping in my stomach. By the time we reached home, the pain was so bad that I could hardly climb the steps to my home and when I did finally make it to my room I just lay down on my bed in agony. We called up a local doctor, who was also a family friend and she decided it must have been a bad case of gas/acidity and gave me some painkillers.
As the effects wore off the pain became once again became unbearable and it came to a stage I could not stand or breathe. One of my closest friends and a neighbour just picked up like a ragged doll and rushed me straight to the closest hospital to my home-"The Noida Medical Centre" (NMC). On arrival- it was straight into the ICU and funny as it may sound -I could not be given oxygen in the normal way due to my tracheostomy and the question of taking medication did not arise as I could not have anything orally or for that matter my peg too was not working. I was in unbelievable pain and once again it was tears time. The doctors(I have had this amazing luck with doctors- everytime!) decided to first stabalize me and I was put on a drip continously for a week.My weight dropped like a ton of bricks - from a good 80 kilos to a mere 37! X-rays and scans showed that a ulcer under my rib cage had burst creating "peretonites" - where poison had spread all over my stomach and all my intestines were a mess - stuck to one another.Operating was not even an option as I was too weak and noone wanted me to just die! My condition kept detoriating and two tubes were inserted on either side of my stomach - besides the peg to try and drain out as much of the venom as possible. They drained out almost five litres!!! That was still not enough as I was not responding to any treatment and the doctors were still not too keen on operating as my chances on surviving one were almost nil. I could not believe my luck - this had nothing to do with my cancer and I was about to die of something I had never even dreamt off!! There came a time when they could wait no more and my wife signed the consent letter. I was taken into the OT and was told about my chances, as I insisted on knowing so. I kept looking at my sons,wife and mother,one by one as it could have been last time. The operation was to last about an hour and I was told later that it took the doctors a good five hours to get me back. I also had a out the body experience - one hard to describe but one that was so peaceful that I did not want to re-enter my body. The doctors then confirmed that my heart had indeed stopped beating for a period. I came around to find I could not move at all. I had tubes sticking out of my stomach everywhere! and movement of any kind was just impossible. Painkillers were given on request and my requests for them were so often-it was as if they were in fashion and going out of supply! I still did not give up and after about a week of the operation and with a little bit of help from my doctors,nurses and sons got up and tried to walk. I could barely manage two to three steps before collapsing and once again it was back in bed. I sent a good one month in the ICU before I was allowed to go home and back to my own comfortable bed. My younger son, Arjun, who was just 11 then was a revelation. By watching the doctors and nurses,he had learnt how to change my dressing daily (my entire stomach had to be slit open to remove all my intestines, wash them, get them unstuck and repalce them and hence the stiches- the doctors - both angels again - luckily did not cut through my ribs - which would have been really bad),knew what medicines to give me at what time and even give me a bath. My wife was working and could not take time off as funds were low and even though I was getting financial support more aid was required. As time passed the bandages came out one after another, with the wound healing nicely and finally just the long scar remained to remid me of the ordeal that had killed me and brought ne back. I was alive!I had beaten the odds!! I began with the gym once again much to the surprise of everyone and this time with a vengence and stepped up both my work outs and running - with a hole in my throat anda peg tube in my stomach!! I took all my reports and showed them to my other treating doctors at the AIIMS and the RGCI and both the doctors clearly stated that they had no idea on how I could have survived this one!
As healing was moving along fine,I was in for another bad surprise - I started getting pains on my shoulder blades and in time they became so severe that I could not even lie down and so it was MRI time again. I can still recall the agony of that MRI(lying down without moving and the pain was an experience I would not recommend to anyone). The MRI revealed a fungal infection just above my neck nape,behind my food and wind passage.
The doctor descided to insert a needle as thick as a pencil to extract as much of the infection as possible and also warned me of the possible consequences of such a procedure.Usually such a procedure is done with the help of a cat scan so that the doctor inserting the needle can see where he is heading and not hit any of the vital nerves. If he did hit a particular nerve and damage it - it would mean paralysis neck down. The cat scan machine was not working and it was not posible to keep waiting and so I requested him to do it without the aid of the cat scan machine. I trusted him with my life and there was no going back. I was taken into the OT and then told that he would be inserting the needle under local anesthesia as it was important I feel where the needle was headed and would have to raise my hand if the pain became unbearable or he hit a nerve. My left arm was tied down and as I could not talk my right arm was left loose to raise in case I felt the pain too immense or it hit a nerve. Quietly I moved my right arm under me so that I could not raise it even if I tried. My face was covered with a towel and the local anesthesia injected and the insertion began.
Initially as long as it was passing through the area upto where the local anesthesia would work all was well but once it passed that stage - it was pure, unadulterated pain of the highest degree. I began crying but did not raise my arm and finally after a lot of probing out came the needle and I think the doctor felt like breaking down and crying when he removed the towel and saw me crying. He asked me as to why I had not raised my arm when the pain was that bad - I put my thumb to my stoma and told him that , had I raised my hand he would have stopped the procedure and would have to do it again another day. I prefered going through this misery once rather then doing so once again. The infection that he pulled out was taken for examination and what he feared as much as my family did was a reoccurance of the cancer - but that was ruled out and with antibiotics the infection was shrunk and removed. The danger was still not over as any jerky movements could have triggered a stroke of paralysis and so I had to go around with a neck brace for a good six months and much to my dissapointment no work outs! Once again TV, my PC and books became my friends. As far as humans were concerned - noone was allowed to come and see me except for three friends in particular, who had so much, so much to ensure that I did not lack anything in my hour of need (blood included).spending days and nights at the hospital by my side. As time passed and my brace was removed and it was like heaven. I could lie down in comfort, drive and now get back to my workouts. I think my obsession for working out was more about keeping fit in the case of another surgery then anything else.
The time had become right for one last operation - the repair of my fistulas and the removal my peg tube. I was elated beyond words and we all joked as I went under the anesthesia as to what my first solid meal was going to be. I had decided to wipe out McDonalds and Pizza Hut!As I came out of the deep sleep of the anesthesia, my doctor was there by my side and looked pretty grim - not a face that said all was ok and then came the bad news. I had not one fistula but three of them. Two were hidden behind the passage and hence did not show up on the MRI and that there had been just enough tissue to seal just one. He had inserted a ryles tube again to get the other two fistulas to grow around the same and heal. I accepted this without too much of a disapointment and I went around now with three tubes (my id!) one in my stomach, one in my throat and now one in my nose. I made some improvizations and cut the ryles tube really short and could keep it in place with a small piece of sugrical tape. It would seem as if I had cut myself while shaving and it worked! I once again began hitting the gym and got back to getting back into shape and as my body filled up again. I began to take things in a way that I would never ever go into depression - I began by doing wierd things that would make people happy and also at the same time give me wierd looks. I would color my hair different colors, wore a stud, that I would keep changing, wearing the very best of branded clothing and much more. I was now moving around feeling more confident about things to come.The gym was back in my life and so was running (running not jogging!). Everything semed to be heading for a normal recovery.
How wrong I was! With the passing of time - the ryles tube began acting up and infections started setting in and in order to stop this there was no option but to remove the tube and that in turn ment the fistulas would not heal but would have to be sealed in due course surgically and that - I would be on the peg for time to come. I however, now looked normal and once again and took it in my stride. With the ryles tube out - I now looked my old self and guess people finally realised that I had been shaving with a blunt razor all along!!! My perception of life had changed - I was ready for anything that was thrown at me and would ensure I would emerge the winner. I once again went back to the wierd things like like coloring my hair blonde, wore blue contacts etc. My doctors and all would have a good laugh as each time they saw me I was upto something new. My sense of humour had returned and so had my will to live. I had changed though in many ways - as my doctor at RGCI put it - "Ananth has become humane". I began to spend more time with my kids, something that I was never able to do pre cancer as I would be working 15/16 hours 24x7 - 365 and now as I have got a second chance to see them grow and into their teens with a lot of maturity and have a clear picture of what life is all about - having observed it from very close its a pleasure, a joy to see this miracle. once a stranger to them we have become so close and they now treat me more like a dad and friend who can relate to them. I now have time to spend with my lovely wife who has been through hell with me and have learnt so many new aspects of her strength. My mother and my aunt - I can now sit with them and discuss the news, world matters, issues regarding my sons futures and much more. My biggest change was however my attitude towards other cancer patients.As I could now relate with them I wanted to do something that I could help them n any which way I could - gathering funds for cancer charities, counseling, meeting terminal patients in their homes and more as things went along. I worked hard at it with a lot of help from all my doctors and TV channels, media, family and friends. I even began writing my book which I hoped would become a a best seller as I had decided that all the proceeds would go towards cancer patients and the development of better facilities.
Then came the last crunch, just as we thought all was done and over with. One night - the 10th. of January 2004-1130 pm to be precise, my wife noticed some blood on my chin and asked me if I had cut myself and I answered negative. She then asked me to take a look as there was blood drops comingout of my nose. I went into the bathroom and just as I looked at the mirror, like you open a tap - fresh blood started spurting out from every nook and corner - my mouth,nose and throat. Nothing would make it stop and it was sheer luck that my doctor who ws away for a conference had just touched down at Delhi airport when my wife called him. A team of senior doctors were waiting as I was rushed into the emergency at the hospital. As I was wheeled in to the emergency the team of doctors got to work and as hard as they tried the bleeding would not stop. I slipped into a semi coma. As I came around -the bleeding was still continued but had slowed down. I had my head on my mothers lap and looking around I saw my entire family - my wife, sons, aunts, cousins, uncle, friends all standing around looking grim and noone said a word to see me open my eyes. Very weakly- I asked my mother as to why everyone was around at that time inthe morning (0445am) and thats when she broke down and said that I was dying and I would not make it this time. The doctors had done their best and nothing had worked. I looked around and saw my sons so tense that it broke me to see them like that. My wife was unconsolable as were the rest there. I told my mother that if I was dying why was I dying in the general ward of a hospital? I deserved better after all the pain I had been through the last so many years. I asked her to take me home so that I could die in my own bed. As I said that my bleeding began to subside and then stopped. I was given some time and then moved into a private room. My doctor came in all amazed and asked me how I was feeling to which I replied - fine. He asked me to get a MRI done the same morning and I went across for the same. The doctor who did my MRI, who too had become pretty pally with me, asked me a strange question. He asked "Ananth, why are you here when there is nothing wrong with you?". I took my MRI's and made my way to my doctor who was not convinced with them as he felt that certain things could be missed by the MRI and wanted to perform a Larangscopy under GA the next morning. So once again I was wheeled into the OT and this time when I came around I looked up to see not just my doctor but my entire family smiling and then his words "I have no explanations, no answers, you dont even have a scar inside your mouth and for the first time I can say without any doubt that you are cancer free". Its been just over a year and a half since this last episode and now its time to reconstruct my food passage and remove both my peg and throat stoma. I really do not require the stoma in the throat but the doctor insisted I keep the button on for some time as it made it easier to examine. All I can say is that I am alive and more so then ever!
I have now become a case study for the two hospitals as both are the two top most research hospitals in India and patients from all over the world come across here for their treatment. Its quality treatment where they do not just destroy the illness but first get to the root of it and then go about in a very systematic manner. My case, however, is one of a kind and it has taken the medical fraternity in India by bit of surprise ... but then my name is "Ananth" in Hindi which if translated into English becomes "The Immortal" !!!! A lot of people looking at me do not believe my story or can imagine the pain I have been through. Its only when they see the scars and my attitude, do they realise that every word I have penned down is nothing but the truth. I have learnt how to live, give and take, to love and be loved - such valuable lessons that in fact I feel the cancer and all the suffering I went through was a boon and worth it as it made me into a different person - one with a mission in life. I wonder how many of you have been through all that I have and even if you have not just having been through cancer or are being treated for the same - just remember cancer does not always spell death. Death comes to everyone in various ways- so why worry about the inevitable? Life life to its fullest after all - there may or not be a tomorrow!!.
There are so many small things that I have left out of all the above as it would have taken forever had I gone into each minute detail. All this and more is going into a book that I am about to finish and I have named it "for men may come and men may go......" after the famous poem by Frost (The Brook). I have dedicated the same to all my family, doctors,nurses, friends and all the cancer patients who have fought or are fighting their own wars on cancer.
I would like to tell each one who are going through what I have been through - think positive. Remember everything happens for the best and there is nothing you can do to reverse the clock. You must learn to accept that you are going to fight a battle worse then your worst nightmare and the only way to get ready for it is to accept it. Accept that the cancer is there but you can fight it and win. There were times when I too despaired but honestly I never once felt I was going to die. I was never scared of the cancer and neither was I going to give into what it could have done had I not been positive about my war against it. I know it sounds very simple the way I put it - but its not. Give the illness the respect it deserves but also do not let it overcome you - keep it away by thinking like it. It is thinking of destroying you -so you think that you are going to destroy it. You owe your life to others and would be doing a great unjustice by giving up without a fight. Your kids, wife, parents, friends all need you and they are there with you to fight alongside you and with such an army it can only be a win win situation.
Life is a mystery and for all known reasons I should be a dead man and till date not one doctor has been able to give me a pausible reason as to how I have survived and now lead a normal life. A lot of people tell me not to think why I survived that I should just be happy that I did. Thats not what I am looking - there has to be a reason and that reason is something that bothers me. Anyone would like to try?
I received an equiry the other day asking me as to how I could remain so cheerful well knowing that I have been on peg feed for the past five years and will be so till the last breath. How does one explain that each one accepts life in various ways? Some keep moping and never let the "Why Me" syndrome never out of their sight ( in fact most ) and there are others who know it’s a waste of precious time and to go through this depression as it just means you are curtailing whatever life span one may have by that many days. The clock cannot be reversed and any amount of the "Why Me" syndrome is not going to help, so I gather it’s best to make full use of what life has given you despite the cancer. One should look at the positives - getting closer to one’s family, seeing your kids grow, appreciating every small thing that a person may do for you, looking at nature through a different perspective and understanding how fragile life really is. You also realise how the amount of pain and endurance that one can accept in the fight against the cancer - is a major achievement.
As Lance Armstrong puts it: LIVE STRONG - and I add LIVE STRONG AND KING SIZE!! - thats what I do