If 'Wait and Watch' Is My Best Strategy, I Intend On Living And Enjoying Every Day As a Bonus

“Wait and Watch”. Yes, this is my present status of dealing with recurrence and metastasis of the cancer in my body. 

The surgery was done for “Wide excision of right diaphragmatic/pleural mass and excision mass of right lower lobe lung – A TYPICAL NEUROFIBROMA” at Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital, Delhi almost more than nine years ago. 

This was followed by radical prostatectomy at Delhi after a couple of months along with subsequent long cycle of hormone treatment and radiation at Bhagwan Mahavir Cancer Hospital, Jaipur. Fortunately my prostate cancer is gone but the other one- a rare, low grade sarcoma- is back again at multiple sites in my body. This raises many clinical challenges. 

Surgery is not feasible due to my old age, poor lung function, and multiple locations of tumors.  

Radiation may not be effective and tests have shown no significant feasibility of known chemotherapy drugs. 

So the best strategy is to wait and watch, living and enjoying every day as a bonus from God Almighty. Regular consultations and checkups, MRIs, Sonography, Blood Tests, strict diet regime with a focus on antioxidants, minimum sugar intake, fruits, Tulsi, wheatgrass, Turmeric & Curcumin capsules, regular walking and breathing exercises have all become a part of daily routine. I firmly believe in the essence of the serenity prayer: 

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot do, Courage to do the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

What has cancer taught me? Cancer is an activity of some rogue cells. There is some type of cancer in everybody. We see or feel it when it reaches a detectible or diagnostic level. I like to call myself a person who had close encounters with cancer. It's basically an attitude. I never thought this could happen, but cancer has actually become a positive force in my life. It has given me a chance to make a difference. 

Sharing my experiences and useful tips with others gives me the strength to keep on living life fully. It is my firm belief that spirituality, meditation and religion are very important to the well-being of people who have cancer, enabling them to better cope with the disease. Spirituality and religion may help patients and as well as their families in finding deeper meaning and experiencing a sense of personal growth during cancer treatment, while living with cancer, and as a cancer survivor. Yoga and breathing exercises are also somewhat similar.

Learning that one has a serious illness is a blow. Cancer is frightening and tormenting. To deal with cancer we have to rely on mental toughness, human unity, and spiritual connectedness. One has to explore healthy diets, exercise, and alternative therapies such as massages, yoga and meditation to boost and maintain physical and emotional well-being. Above all one has to live! Lifestyles are important factors in the formation of many types of cancer. We’ll handle cancer treatments and other medical procedures better and recover faster when we have more muscle tone and flexibility. Everyone should exercise regularly and have a varied diet.

Cancer is not inherited. I believe no matter who we are and what we have or have not accomplished in our life, we have the ability to win this battle with cancer. By keeping ourselves strong, mentally and physically, we can beat cancer at its own game. Don’t let cancer defeat us; we are too important to a lot of people. 

Many people when they meet me or call me, ask me, “How are you doing now as if how I am still surviving.” I can talk about my experience and what I am right now. I want to move on. It happened, I dealt with it. It has happened again, I am dealing with it again and moving on. I would like to end with a very relevant excerpt from “A Letter to My Cancer” by a patient. “It may seem like you have control in my life right now, but you really don’t. Your presence makes me stronger, braver, kinder, and wiser. I choose how I think, what I speak and how I love. You will never be able to touch those things, never. Those who surround me will fight with me to let it be known that we will not surrender. Our hearts and souls are tied together in a lasting bond that no amount of your impeding growth can break. YOU ARE CANCER, YOU DO NOT OWN ME - MY SOUL & SPIRIT. I OWN MYSELF. AND I WILL SURVIVE.”


Photos courtesy of the author.