After reading this story I found on CBC News, I found myself relating and thinking about what Dr. Nikhil Joshi chose to share with the rest of the world, with all of his readers. He starts his story by explaining how he has to make himself injections in order to stimulate his bone marrow to produce cells, how he came to discover he had cancer, how he feels and how the majority of the population has a very dramatic perception of cancer. While I was reading his post, I understood the majority, if not everything he was telling us about his cancer. If I would have read his post three months ago, I probably would not of understood half of its content.
As some of you might know, my mother was diagnosed with leukaemia at the beginning of October, and it has been a rough semester. But the good news is, she is pulling through and the cancer cells are mostly non-existent right now, but she still has to continue her chemo treatments so that it does not come back. Even though the medical staff cannot see malignant cells with the microscopes, it does not imply that the cancer is all gone, it could come back at any time. I do not want to explain in details my mother’s disease, but I want to share with you what I have learnt and make connections with Dr. Joshi’s post. When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, they could have had symptoms for a really long time before being diagnosed, or the symptoms can appear as late as a week before the diagnostic. Then, they get you in the hospital where they can treat you, and they start by doing intense chemo that brings your whole immune system down, aiming to kill all the cancerous cells. When they do this, the bone marrow cannot produce enough, if any, white blood cells that will help fight external infections, as little and insignificant they might seem to a non-sick individual. Having your immune system down is an invite for little infections to attack you, so you might be isolated during this period. Individuals might undergo several chemo treatments before the doctors are not able to see any cancerous cells under the microscope, and like I have mentioned previously, you might still need to do chemo for a while to make sure the cancer does not come back. This is called remission.
I might have skipped many important elements of an individual’s treatment, but I shared what I have learnt through personal experience and you have to know that the treatments can differ from one person to another, as we all have different bodies that have tolerance to different elements. I was very devastated when I first found out that my mother had cancer, it is still a little hard today, as I want her to be completely healed, but I progressed. Yes, indeed, cancer can sound very dramatic and people’s interactions change when they are around someone who has cancer. I have changed and so has my mom in some ways. I was never really close to my mother, some say it is because we are too much alike, I think of it as we just do not get along. When the cancer happened, my whole perspective changed. I was not ready to lose my mother and I found myself stupid for not getting along with my mother for such a long time, but I was given the chance to think about my past and make changes. The disease has brought us together and I can assure you that I am indeed closer to my mom now. When I went home to spend time with her, I only wanted to be with her because I was worried of the remaining time we would get to spend together. We went for walks, lounged on the couch watching her soaps, made suppers together and I made sure the house was always clean enough for her (it has to be immaculate!) and that she was not pushing herself too much, as she is a very active woman who loves to constantly be busy. I am very happy that I chose to go home and be with her, when all the way from Quebec, she told me to focus on my studies and to not worry about her.. Yeah right mom, as if!
Cancer is scary, but I was able to get good things out of it. I chose to make my bond with my mother stronger than ever and I was able to see how strong of a woman she really is. I knew she was strong before, but she is a “tank” now! She has kept a very positive attitude towards the whole situation and she knows that she will beat the darn thing. I am worried, but she is not. This right here is very inspiring and I have learnt from her to not let anything get to me, to always enjoy life and its beautiful moments, that there is always positive outcomes, that there is always a solution or an alternative. We all perceive cancer differently, but I would like to tell all of you who are reading this, to look for the positive, as it is always nearby. Smile, laugh and love, these are more powerful than anything else in the universe!