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I’m Not Afraid Of Cancer, It Cannot Stop Me From Living A Fulfilling Life…

( words)
*For representational purpose only.
It took me so long to find out that I had cancer. Initially, I experienced very common symptoms that I didn’t give importance to. Then, my body began manifesting more alarming signs.

In my case, doctors made many mistakes before diagnosing the correct problem.
It started with the wrong diagnosis of dengue. I underwent treatment for that. Then, my cough became severe; it was so intense that the whole building would vibrate. Along with severe chest pain, we took a scan, and the doctor diagnosed pneumonia.

After some days, there was another wrong diagnosis, this time tuberculosis. I started medication for tuberculosis, but all my symptoms worsened, and I had to be admitted to the hospital. 

After numerous misdiagnoses and treatments and so many days of hospital stays, we finally discovered that I had cancer. Everyone thought it was lung cancer. My parents hid the diagnosis from me until the first person who revealed it was an oncologist. 

At that moment, I learned I had an 8-cm lesion on my lung, with many lesions spreading everywhere, all at an advanced level. One doctor said I had only two years to live; another said only six months.
Then we consulted Dr. Sujith, who gave us hope by stating that my cancer was curable. However, due to some confusion, we sought opinions from many other doctors, but they all gave negative outlooks on my health. I had a bad experience with a well-known doctor.

Somehow, the universe led us back to Dr. Sujith. I was very sick, and I still remember the words he told me when I arrived at the hospital in a wheelchair. He said, "Jenifer, I'm sorry. It's going to be a long-term process, but I'll make sure to reduce the pain of this journey." He performed another biopsy and found out that it was lymphoma. However, it was difficult to differentiate the type of lymphoma, so it was classified as grey zone lymphoma.

During my diagnosis, I got admission to a college to pursue my master's in speech-language pathology. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend due to my health condition. Then, my chemotherapy started. To be honest, I wasn’t worried until I started losing my hair.

My first side effect was chickenpox. After recovering from chickenpox, I was taking a shower when a bunch of my hair fell out. I was shocked and cried because I had long hair, like Rapunzel.
That’s when reality hit me, and I realised that this was just the beginning. I couldn’t bear to watch my hair fall out, so I shaved my head after my first chemo. I went into depression; it felt like my whole world had shattered. I didn’t leave my room for months, avoided mirrors, and didn’t let anyone see me without hair on my head, eyebrows, and lashes. 

I became aggressive and couldn’t even do my tasks.

Cancer is not just a physical battle but also a mental battle.
I constantly questioned myself: How did I get cancer? What did I do to deserve this? Would I be able to fight this? Many questions haunted my mind. I felt that a 21-year-old shouldn’t face this. 

I used to be a girl who dressed up well, went out all the time, danced, and entertained everyone. I was a social butterfly. At that time, I did many photoshoots to become a model, as it had always been my passion. However, my appearance changed after chemotherapy, and I found myself in a dark place after my diagnosis. That’s when I was introduced to meditation, which helped me keep my mind calm.

Each chemo session came with its own set of challenges. One of the medicines in chemo made me shiver and have chills, which was very painful and tough to control. Doctors injected medicine to make me sleep. Every chemo was difficult, with nausea, tiredness, and loss of appetite. However, my mom supported me; she did everything to make me eat. She is a superwoman who battled this with me. I managed to eat properly to beat cancer faster.

Meditation played a major role in my healing process. So many miracles happened; my scans showed drastic improvement, and everyone was surprised. My family, especially my mom, was very supportive. My cousin's sister came from another state to take care of me. My grandma, father, and brother also supported me. Though my brother and I fought a lot, we grew up like Tom and Jerry. He took care of me when I caught an infection and got admitted to the hospital. From that moment on, he became a better person, and our bond grew stronger.

I am blessed with the best people. Some of my close friends left me during this difficult time, but the true ones stayed. One of my school friends, Goutham, accompanied me to most of my chemo sessions along with my family. He stayed with me the whole day, even when the chemo sessions went late into the night. I don't know what I did to deserve friends like them.

All my friends made an effort to make me happy and mentally okay. I had the best doctor; more than that, he is an amazing human being. He always had a beautiful smile on his face and spoke only positive words. He never showed his confusion to me and always encouraged me to beat cancer.

It was his confidence and strength that helped me win this battle. He proved his words from the beginning. 
My 11th chemo was the worst; the chemo medicine leaked from my vein and burned my hand, so my last chemo had to be postponed. My doctor took care of me so well during that time.

Whenever I see the scar on my hand, it reminds me of how tough and strong I am to have gone through all this and come out victorious.
I thought everything was over, but I found out there was a small new growth in my lungs and had to undergo 16 sessions of radiation. To maintain my mental well-being, I explored various methods to calm my mind. While I often found it difficult to get out of bed, I came to accept that it's okay to not be okay sometimes. Painting became a therapeutic outlet for me, despite not being a professional artist. Additionally, I learned to craft candles in different shapes and colours, which provided a sense of accomplishment and creativity. Above all, meditation played a significant role in soothing my mind and finding inner peace during the toughest moments of my cancer journey.

When I felt like I had no energy left to fight, one thought kept me going: my mom was fighting so hard just to see me heal. She is the reason I am alive today.
Everyone around me was doing their best to support and heal me. So, why should I give up? I knew there was a light at the end of the dark tunnel, so I chose to find it rather than surrender. Despite the challenges, I held onto the excitement of envisioning life after cancer, which motivated me to keep pushing forward each day.

This is just a condensed version of my journey, as the pain and all the little details are indescribable. I believe I am a child of God, and I knew He would never let me down. Now, I stand as a testament to His grace. Throughout this journey, He has surrounded me with the best people.

Today, I am not worried that I have cancer; instead, I feel incredibly grateful. If this hadn't happened, I wouldn’t have become the resilient person I am today, nor would I have met the beautiful souls who have touched my life. 
Life is short yet incredibly beautiful; it's like magic. Let's cherish it, enjoy every moment, and appreciate the little things. Be grateful for whatever blessings you have in your life.

To those who are fighting cancer or future patients, I want to share something important: this journey will transform you into a person you never imagined you could be—a person of remarkable strength.
Trust the process; I believe in miracles, and because of that belief, miracles have happened in my life.

Hope is incredibly powerful; it’s the best medicine there. Your positivity and willpower are everything.
Believe in your healing; do whatever brings you comfort and happiness. Don't hesitate to ask for help and express whatever is on your mind. However, this battle is destined to play out; face it with a smile. Show cancer just how tough you are! It can be overwhelming but try to take things one step at a time and focus on the present moment. And please, don't be too hard on yourself; celebrate even the smallest victories. It's crucial to understand that while the road ahead may be challenging, there’s hope, support, and strength to be found in this journey.

You can live a fulfilling life during and after cancer. Remember, there's no one stronger than a cancer patient.

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