I was a 24-year-old enthusiastic young girl when I had passed out of college with an MBA degree. I was ready to explore life. I experimented with different options for about 6 months after which I got a very good opportunity to work with a renowned MNC. I worked hard and made rapid progress in my career.
I would go out shopping, have fun while hanging out with my friends and sleepover with my girlfriends. All in all, I was enjoying my life and had no regrets at all.
One fine day, I developed a pain in one of my ears.
Initially, I did not give it too much attention but it started getting worse. I went to the doctor. He asked me to go in for a CT scan but the reports were normal. So he gave me some painkillers and asked me to take some antibiotics.
But the pain did not subside.
I went back to him. He changed the antibiotics but the pain only worsened after that. It finally got to a point when I could not bear the pain anymore. So I took a few days off from my work and went home.
I saw another doctor in my hometown. He also could not find anything wrong with me. The pain continued to increase but nobody could find out the real reason behind it.
I then consulted some of the finest ENTs but none of them was able to diagnose my problem. One of them even said that I was thinking too much about it. He said that it was all in my head. He then advised me to get married!
At one point even I thought that maybe all of this was just a figment of my imagination. But the pain was very real. It would never go.
My boyfriend was living in the States at that time. I told him everything but I guess at that time both of us did not know that things would take a serious turn in the future. He wanted us to get married immediately so that I could move in there with him. We got married after 8 months and I moved to the US with him. For the first few months, everything was fine.
The pain was negligible and I thought that perhaps the doctors were right. Maybe it was indeed all in my head.
But one day the pain became unbearable. I was rushed to the emergency division of the hospital. The doctors did a CT scan and an MRI. They found out that I had a tumour. They said I would need to go in for a biopsy.
The results came back in a week and I was diagnosed with one of the rarest forms of cancer.
The doctors told me that I would have to go in for surgery immediately. They told me that the surgery might paralyze the left side of my face because the tumour was very close to my facial nerve.
The entire world came crashing down on us. I was only 27 when all this happened.
We just about managed to follow a normal routine until the day of my surgery. On the day my surgery was scheduled, I asked my husband to click a few pictures of my face. I told him to look at these pictures whenever he thought of me.
I was wheeled into the operation theatre. I woke up after undergoing a 15-hour surgery to see a nurse smiling at me. She said, “Welcome back darling!” My husband was crying when he hugged me. I can never forget that day.
He then said that the doctors had been able to save my face.
However, the worst was not yet over. I developed some complications after the surgery. Two days after my first surgery, my left lung collapsed. I was rushed in for another surgery. I was discharged from the hospital after a few days. It took me almost a month to recover. And then we had to start on those dreadful chemo and radiation sessions. By now the doctors had concluded that I had stage 3 neck cancer.
My days are numbered. But the doctors are doing their best to extend it to as many days as possible. I see my husband suffering every day. My parents don’t even know about it yet.
But I am not scared of any of this. I am still fighting against cancer. I had consulted so many different doctors earlier. And often I wonder why none of them could diagnose my problem.
All I can say is perhaps things would not have been this bad if the problem had been diagnosed properly at the right time.