Diagnosis and 1st Cycle of Chemotherapy

4th April, 2019: First ever post on Facebook

When you are living your dream and doing all you enjoy, the last thing you expect or are prepared for, is – “You Have Cancer”. Time to fire up the engine and go on a ‘Conquer Cancer Mission’.

7th April, 2019: Countdown Begins

Tomorrow I get admitted to hospital to start chemotherapy for cancer cure treatment. Just a couple of days ago I created my Facebook Account and put a post on Social Media for the first time. So far I have strictly stayed away from Social Media as I did not want to do any self-promotion and I also like my privacy and don’t like being in the limelight a lot.

But something inside me, wants to share my experience of conquering cancer. And if it helps even one single person gain strength for any of their own struggles, I think it will be worth it.

Don’t know what is in store tomorrow and I am both apprehensive and a bit afraid. But decide I should be as normal as possible, so spend the day finishing some pending work, eat normal food at home and also have a cognac in the evening. Start watching, “Our Planet” series on Netflix. My dear nephew Sidharth (Sid) has recommended I watch this entire series in my recuperating period and it looks promising.

I slept surprisingly well and promise myself that I am going to stay as calm as possible in the testing days ahead.

8th April, 2019

We reach Hinduja Hospital, Mahim, Mumbai, by 10.45 am and I am in my sea facing room on the 14th floor by 11.15 am. All procedures handled most smoothly. Barely have I started settling in the room that a message comes, they are ready for me in the DSA (Digital Subtraction Angiography) OT room to implant the port that is often put in chemotherapy patients to supply the chemo medicines, etc. My power port will be placed under the skin in my chest and will stay there for some 3 months. The port lets the medication go into your bloodstream through a large vein near your heart, because sometimes medications must be given in a vein larger than the ones in your arms.

My port implantation was splendidly done by onco-surgeon Dr. Murad E. Lala. This Doc’s talents and skills range from the ‘scalpel to summit’. Yes, he is an Everester and the first Indian doctor to climb Mt Everest. He has also participated in the Raid De Himalaya sometime in 2008/9. He drove a Maruti Suzuki SX4 and all through my implant surgery which was done under local anesthesia, (with a small surgical cut being made at the base of my neck and under the collarbone), we talked about cars and rallying, etc, and I felt most comfortable.

I consider myself fortunate to be in the care of such good doctors. And there are many more of them, like Dr. Shekhar Shah my family physician, Dr V Srinivas, a leading urological cancer and robotic surgeon at Hinduja Hospital and Asian Cancer Institute, Mumbai. He did my surgery in October 2018 and that is when I discovered he is a fellow author having written “A Tale of Two Homes”, a truly entertaining book about living separate lives in his homes in Mumbai and Kotagiri, a hill-station in the Nilgiris in South India.

Presently I am being treated by Dr. Asha Kapadia, Chief of Medicine & Head, Department of Oncology Hinduja Hospital. All of them are true ‘rockstars’. In fact, the first dose of chemo was started by Dr. Asha and her team, this very evening, soon after the power port was implanted. Lots more to be shared about my superstar doctors later.

What I find most ironical and almost mystifying, is that now I have a sort of state-of-the-art fuel filler made of titanium, silicon, ceramic, etc, fitted in my chest. In my rally days, I fitted auxiliary tanks on many rally cars and remember fussing about where and how to fit the additional fuel filler inlet to enable quick and mess-free top-ups at service. And now I have a power port fitted in me to fill me with medicines. That is the uncertainty of life I guess. Anything can happen anytime.

The surgery to implant the port in my chest went smoothly
View of the sunset on day 1 from the hospital room.The net is to prevent birds from sitting on the parapet

9th April, 2019

My first night in hospital for chemotherapy treatment passed more comfortably than I imagined. Right from the morning, the entire team of doctors and nurses is on the ball. I get a detailed briefing on my treatment. I am being administered two chemo drugs. Before the actual drugs go in, I am given some pre-preparation (kindly pardon any technically incorrect terms) medicines to offset side effects, if any. What’s very important I am told is ‘Hydration’. The functioning of my kidneys and intake and outtake of all fluids is being closely monitored.

One chemo drug is given to me at the rate of 500 ml per hour per day, and the other at 250 ml, with a gap of about an hour or so between each. The total time taken daily to administer both is around 3 hours. I am also to take a specified amount of liquid orally and the rest intravenously through the port all through the day.

There is a fancy drug dispensing machine with flow meter and monitor that keeps track of what’s going inside me and at what speed. When the medicines are running low or are finished, a beeper sounds. The nurses come and adjust this drug dispenser from time to time. Fortunately, this machine has a backup battery pack, and every now and then I disconnect it from the mains and move around, even going for a walk around the floor. Not being bound to a bed is a huge relief and makes things so much easier.

Starting to get organized in the hospital room
My drug dispensing unit with flow rate meter set to 537.2 ml per hour
After disconnecting the drug dispenser from the electrical mains, I am able to take a walk on the floor

10th April, 2019

Things are falling into a routine. The time for everything (including meals) is set. But the mealtimes are far different than what I am used to. Lunch is around 12 noon and dinner is served around 7.00 or 7.30 pm. And though the food is nutritious hospital food, it’s sterile and well, not really the tastiest. What’s great though is that I am allowed some desserts and as the jelly and custard are good, I get into the habit of asking for double helpings. Such are the simple pleasures of life. Thank You, God.

11th April, 2019

I am completely overwhelmed by all the good wishes and love pouring in and am at a complete loss how to say “Thanks” or express my gratitude. A question starts cropping up in my mind. How much should I share? About the detection of the disease and treatment? How I have been lucky in some ways. The prognosis, which fortunately is fairly good.

How much should I share about my dear wife and family and what they are doing and going through? How much should I open up? There is a lot that runs through my head even at normal times, but in such a situation, the thoughts are racing. Should I keep quiet or air my views?

All my life I have spoken my mind. That is who I am. In a situation such as this, with shifting priorities, all sorts of other thoughts also spring up. What does life hold for me now and how do I make the most of it? I need to also learn to accept what I cannot change, and strive to change what I can. Decide to sleep over all this, as the answers, or decisions, are not easy. Luckily I am sleeping fairly well.

The barber comes around at 8.00 am
Chemo 1
And life goes on. Routines are getting set

12th April, 2019

Everyone (including the nurses) visiting my room are fascinated by the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL computer mouse that I use. They wonder why I have what they think is a toy car by my bedside? When they realize what it is, they appear to nod in understanding. But obviously they do not know that I am a complete auto nut.

The good news is that the last dose of chemo medicines for this cycle (need to have a total of four cycles) is to be given today and I am to be hopefully discharged tomorrow. Honestly, the chemo has been far easier than I anticipated. So far there is no pain, minimum side-affects and barely any serious discomfort. Of course I realize that it’s very early days, and I maybe speaking too soon. But to me a journey well begun is always a good sign.

What I am seeing from my own experience is that there are actually a lot of misconceptions and myths about chemo treatment. I was given to understand that it’s very difficult and someone even suggested “If the cancer won’t get you, the chemo will”. There is a lot of information on the net, but you got to know what to trust and what not to believe. My personal experiences are reinforcing the belief, that I must share the process of my chemo treatment. Being first hand, it has a much higher level of authenticity. Yes, I do understand that everyone’s body and mental approach is different and the responses to the disease and medicine can vary. But at least there is something, which someone may be able to identify with.

Few friends have been asking when and how it was discovered that I had cancer. So more on this later. There are also things like financial costs involved, medical insurance, etc. I would also like to speak about the approach of friends, family and even acquaintances. While most have been very positive, encouraging and a huge source of strength, I still find that in India we tend to be far more emotional, and less practical in situations like this. And I just don’t understand why such a lot of people say I have been brave in accepting that I have cancer. A few even refuse to use the ‘c’ word and say disease. Why?

 Cancer is a part of the world we live in. The reality is, it exists and happens. Nobody invites it, and it is an undesired visitor. But come on, you can’t run away from facts. Things just don’t go away by doing that.

13th April, 2019

Early in the morning the drug dispensing machine is disconnected from me. I will be discharged today after completing my first cycle of chemo. One down, three to go.

But before that there are several meetings and briefing with doctors. All the chemotherapy medicines will be acting and causing change in my body. They will be attacking and hopefully killing the cancer cells. But they will also have an effect on the good ones. As a result, my WBC (white blood cell) count and platelets will drop. There will be other changes and reactions happening too. So I need to take a lot of care – like eating properly cooked and hygienic food, having only bottled water and drinks, staying away from fruits and any raw food, and having a protein rich diet with enough calories.

I got to regularly check my body temperature and pulse and also keep doctors informed of any fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach upsets, etc. I must also be vigilant about not cutting myself while shaving or getting any injuries, because with the low platelets, blood will not clot easily and any kind of bleeding, however small, can become a problem. I also need to stay away from crowded areas and meet as few people as possible.

There is one more thing. Before leaving hospital I must take two booster shots for upping my blood counts. And I shall have to continue to take these two injections for the next 6 days or more, depending on the counts. So I have to organize someone to come home to administer these booster shots. The chemo nurse, who gives me the shots, says I have the option of learning how to take them on my own too. Not wanting to be dependent I opt for this, and the nurse gives me a little class on how to take these shots daily in my belly.

With all briefings done, I am given a grey file containing contacts of the team of doctors and their assistants and detailed instructions on medications I may need to take. A box-full of these precautionary medicines is also given along with the booster shots packed in an ice-box, as they have to be stored in a refrigerator. And then I am homeward bound.

Chemo 1
Set to leave hospital after the 1st cycle of chemo. One down, three to go
Chemo 1
My wife Madhu is very happy I am going home after the 1st cycle
Chemo 1
My personal assistant Raja is also thrilled that I am going home

14th April, 2019

Feels great to wake up at home. The change of routine from hospital is most welcome too. As is the food. The journey back home and the bit of settling in, was a little tiring. This makes me realize that when you are in hospital and have limited activity, one does not feel the weakness these drugs and treatment are known to bring on. But on the whole I am feeling quite fine and ready to look back a bit into the past.

So when and how was I diagnosed with cancer? In October 2018, when I was on a long international flight I felt some discomfort in my groin. On my return to India I phoned my family physician Dr. Shekhar Shah, who is also a dear friend and informed him of this. I also told him I could feel a swelling in my groin area. He asked if I had incurred any sort of injury, prescribed some painkillers and asked me to report back to him in a week.

The pain was not bothersome but a few days later I informed him that the swelling was not going down and in fact I felt it had increased. He immediately asked me to come see him and after clinically examining me, sent me for a USG or sonography. Dr. Somesh Lala who kindly did the USG on short notice, immediately felt something was not right. He spoke with Dr. Shekhar who asked for an MRI to be done. When this also showed there was a lump, a CT scan was done. All within a period of 3 to 4 days.

Dr. Shekhar broke the news that he felt I had a tumour which was malignant and cancerous and sent me to see Dr. Srinivas who I have also mentioned earlier. Dr. Srinivas met me the same day and advised an immediate surgery. Which he performed brilliantly in the next couple of days itself.

Within about 12/14 days of me feeling a slight pain and growth in my groin, the tumour was removed and subsequent biopsies confirmed the diagnosis of both Dr.Shekhar and Dr. Srinivas – it was cancerous and I had what was known as Seminoma, a testicular cancer.

15th April, 2019

Back to present. Woke up this morning and saw a story in the Mumbai Mirror newspaper that really got me thinking. The report was about some good citizens and Samaritan’s getting together to provide free meals to cancer patients who are forced to live on the pavements outside Tata Memorial Centre in Central Mumbai.

Yes, many cancer patients and their families (up to 500 of them) live on the footpath outside the Tata Centre where they come to get treatment. The hospital also has affordable housing for them, but these are always full.

In what I think is more than a strange coincidence, just a few days before I was diagnosed with cancer, I visited this part of Mumbai for some work and parked right outside this pavement. I was shocked to see the state the cancer patients were living in. Until then I was not aware of this sad situation, and was terribly hurt to know that some cancer patients also have to endure this. Neither was I aware that some of our leading cancer specialists, have called this “India’s Street of Shame”.

Mumbai Mirror’s story brought back all those dismal scenes I had seen. It also made me appreciate how lucky I am. And it has made me decide, that given the kind of suffering some of these other less fortunate cancer patients go through, I do not have even a single reason to complain about anything. Instead I must be grateful for all that has gone right for me. So yes, you may see me share something’s that may be painful, but please – “I am just expressing, and not complaining or cribbing”.

Story on Cancer patients getting food- published in Mumbai Mirror, 15th April 2019 edition

16th April, 2019

The home routine is now also set. But being home bound is not something I am used to.

Flashback- a little more of looking back. Once the tumour was removed and the biopsy also confirmed the diagnosis that I had Seminoma, there were a couple of important decisions to be made. Dr. Srinivas suggested I meet a radiologist and get his opinion. The options that emerged were I could do a course of radiation in my abdomen region and try and kill any cancer cells that may have escaped the surgery. The radiation could also be combined with a course or two of chemotherapy. OR a ‘wait and watch’ approach with a strict regimen of monthly tests could be followed. I consulted my dear family physician and friend Dr. Shekhar Shah, and we both arrived at a joint consensus. But the final decision was made by me along with my wife.

The radiation would certainly have side effects, as would the chemotherapy. At the same time the chances that the surgery had been successful in removing all the cancerous cells were fairly high. Given this I opted to adopt a wait and watch approach and go for the prescribed USG’s (sonographies) each month, with a CT scan after the first 3 months.

In hindsight, it may have been better to have gone for the radiation and chemotherapy right after the surgery. But I do not regret my decision at all. Because it was based on the facts available at that time. And I did not unnecessarily want to take the risk of the radiation affecting my digestive system and limiting the kind of food and drink I could consume. All my life I have enjoyed my food and drink, and being able to continue to do that, strongly influenced my decision.

 Yes, with hindsight, we’d all do things differently and maybe I would have too. But that time is gone, and now I am determined to do the best that can be done in the present situation.

17th April, 2019

Flashback-some more looking back. As mentioned in the 16th April post, after my surgery in October 2018, I decided to adopt a wait and watch approach. In the first weeks of December 2018 and January and February 2019, I had a USG done and was then clinically examined by Dr. Srinivas. For three months all was clean. And from December itself I had gone back to living my normal life with lots of travelling, adventure activities, etc. The October surgery and diagnosis was just like a bad episode, the memories of which were fast getting erased.

Then in the first week of March 2019, I did a CT scan and this showed an “Enlarged left paraaortic lymph node”. The first alarm bell had gone off. Both Dr. Srinivas and Dr. Shekhar, said it was not a good sign and we decided I should have a full body PET/CT Scan with contrast done in the beginning of April. This would be enough time to see what the lymph node was doing.

When these reports came, it said “Two well-defined enlarged left paraaortic retroperitoneal lymph nodes are seen, showing uptake of FDG”. Yes, the reports confirmed that the lymph nodes were metabolically active and could be an indication of the cancer having spread. Now not just the alarm, but all the sirens went off too.

The cancer had reached its next stage called metastasis, which is when a cancer that starts in another part of the body spreads to the lymph nodes. Dr. Srinivas immediately asked me to see Dr. Asha Kapadia the very next day. But he also said something very important, “In most cases like yours, when the tumour has been removed, the chances of the Seminoma returning are few. Unfortunately, you are one of the unlucky ones. Cancer is the worst thing to have, but let me tell you, of all cancers Seminoma is the best, because it responds well to chemotherapy and we can cure it”.

18th April, 2019

Flashback- Continuation of looking back.

With Dr. Srinivas’s encouraging words ringing in my ears, I went to see Dr. Asha Kapadia first thing in the morning. She met me along with her assistants Dr. Atul and Dr. Suparna Rao and studied all my reports closely. Dr. Kapadia asked me to get some tests done after which she would decide the exact chemotherapy drugs and number of cycles. Dr. Kapadia exudes a calm confidence which I find very encouraging.

19th April, 2019

Flashback- Continuation of looking back.

The fact that my cancer has returned is sinking in. For a while I feel really low. Why me? What now? Will I survive this? All sorts of thoughts race around in my head. And at some point I just break down and have a bloody good cry. The tears not just clean my eyes but also my brains and I decide now I need to focus my mind on the task at hand- ‘fighting the cancer and getting cured of it’.

20th April, 2019

Flashback- Continuation of looking back.

I am back in Dr. Asha Kapadia’s consulting room at Hinduja Hospital with the test reports. She decides I can go for four cycles of chemotherapy and this should completely cure my cancer. Dr. Srinivas drops in too and we have a joint meeting, which is very reassuring. I am also encouraged to ask any questions I may have.

There is one important thing I am seeking a clarification on. Will they be treating my cancer or curing it? By treating, I mean is the chemotherapy to control my cancer and increase my lifespan? Or will the chemotherapy cure me completely of cancer and allow me to return to my normal life? Before either can answer I also add that, “I am not interested in treatment to just control the cancer and extend my life by a few months or years. In that case I would rather not go for the treatment and spend the rest of my days doing what I enjoy. In short I want to go with my shoes on, and not while being horizontal in a hospital bed or sick at home”. I get the feeling both doctors are a bit annoyed and Dr. Srinivas says, “Seminoma is curable and we are looking to cure you. In few months’ time you should be able to resume your normal life”.

With this question, which had been playing on mind, answered, the stage is set. Dr. Asha Kapadia issues an admission letter for 8th April, and I head home knowing it’s time to ‘prepare for a battle’, possibly the biggest and most important one I have ever fought.

21st April, 2019

Flashback- Continuation of looking back.

Me and my wife have a very open talk at home. The last few days have been very testing for her and frankly she is quite shaken. I open out completely with her and say, “Look there is a crisis on hand. This is when strong people reach deep within and bring out their best. I have so far enjoyed what I think is a glorious life. I have lived many a dream and achieved and done far more than I ever imagined, or had hoped for. Even if I go tomorrow, I go with no regrets, I have had so many happy times and memorable experiences and am a fairly fulfilled and satisfied person, grateful for all that I have got”.

She is upset to hear me speak like this, and says, “I want no negative talk, you are going nowhere”. This is exactly what I want to hear. The fighter in her has woken up too. There and then a decision is made that we will fight this cancer, and give it a bloody good fight. Those who know me well are aware that nothing gets me going, like a good challenge. And if it comes down to a fight, I am not one to back away and can give as good as I get.

The words of the song ‘Eye of the Tiger’ one of my favourites, start to play, “It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the dream of the fight, rising up to the challenge of our rival”. This inspiring song was sung by Survivor and was the theme song of the Sylvester Stallone starrer, Rocky. Now, I am also psychologically set to ‘Rise up to the challenge of the rival’.

22nd April, 2019

Another flashback. Occasionally I also write a couplet or two in Hindi.

And this is what came to mind in hospital-

“Hamein mita sakai, yeh cancer mein dum nahin, cancer hum mein hai, cancer me hum nahi”.

Or “This cancer does not have the power to destroy me, the cancer is inside me, I am not inside the cancer”.

Think I will sign off with these words for the next few days.

23rd April, 2019

Back to the present.

Have been monitoring my blood counts on a regular basis and they are improving. The doctors say I can stop taking the booster shots; the last one I had taken was on 21st April. The stomach is better too.

But for the last couple of days I have had some very severe body pain and as a result have not been sleeping well. The doctors confirm that the pain is a side effect of the booster shots, and now that I have stopped them, the pain should recede. The doctors have also allowed me to start having one drink every evening, and I savour every sip.

The one change I am noticing is that I am becoming more short tempered and run out of patience very easily. I have always had a short fuse, but in the last few days, I feel I lose it a lot more, and most times quite unnecessarily. Unfortunately, the brunt is borne by my dear personal aide, Raja who has been with me now for over 27 years. I want to apologize to Raja and work on getting hold of my temper.

“Hamein mita sakai, yeh cancer mein dum nahin, cancer hum mein hai, cancer me hum nahi”.

Or “This cancer does not have the power to destroy me, the cancer is inside me, I am not inside the cancer”.

Think I will sign off with these words for the next few days.

24th April, 2019

Some other side effects of the chemotherapy are beginning to show up.  I am starting to see my hair fall off and every time I wash my face, my hands are full of hair from my moustache! If I run my hand through my almost bald head, whatever little hair is still standing there is also starting to come off. In fact, I am shedding hair faster than some of our trees shed their leaves at the start of our Indian summers.

I have been nearly bald for many years, and it has never bothered me. And while I have sported a big moustache for several years now, before that I was also clean shaven for a long time. And now due to the chemotherapy, soon I will be completely bald, clean shaven, and without any other facial hair too. But I decide I am not going to wait for the hair to drop off. I would rather have it shaved off myself. But I have been advised not to visit public places, so I cannot make a trip to the neighbourhood hair salon. So I shall wait until my next chemo cycle stay at the hospital, and one of the first things I am going to do on getting there (29th April), is ask the hospital barber to shave it all off. That is, if there is anything still remaining.

Hair, or no hair, “Hamein mita sakai, yeh cancer mein dum nahin, cancer hum mein hai, cancer me hum nahi”.

Or “This cancer does not have the power to destroy me, the cancer is inside me, I am not inside the cancer”.

Will be signing off with this couplet for the next few days.

25th April, 2019

First thing in the morning, I see a completely stupid statement of terror accused Sadhvi Pragya Thakur published on the front page of the Mumbai Mirror newspaper.  BJP’s Bhopal constituency candidate, Pragya Singh Thakur has claimed that she cured her cancer “Through a combination of cow urine and other cow products”. Many top Mumbai oncologists have slammed her statement and are very critical of her for misguiding cancer patients.

Reading this report makes me wonder, and not for the first time, “Are we really a nation of such morons”? If Pragya Thakur could actually cure cancer with a combination of cow urine and other cow products, she would not be contesting elections; she would be earning billions and would overnight have become one of the richest persons in the world.

All over our planet, the best minds and brains, including some very fine Indian ones, are looking for and working on a sure shot cure for cancer. Whoever comes up with such a guaranteed cure, will surely win a Noble Prize. And every pharma or medicine manufacturer in the world will pay billions for such a solution or formula.

But no, Pragya Thakur obviously wants none of all that glory, fame and money. She rather contest elections and make such stupid statements. Sadly, there are enough innocent (or should I say foolish) people who will believe her. And instead of getting proper treatment, waste time and harm their health, by trying out such unproven and false therapies. This is a fear also expressed by the doctors and oncologists.

Really what have we and our country come to. How come we allow our politicians to keep making such ‘stupid statements’ and also let them get away with it. The first plastic surgery was done in India centuries ago; we made the first planes, Indians were the first to explore space and experience time travel, and all sorts of other such rubbish. It’s really a shame that we allow ridiculous things like this to be said, and some of our countrymen even fall for it.

Will sign off with the words I wrote a few days’ back, “Hamein mita sakai, yeh cancer mein dum nahin, cancer hum mein hai, cancer me hum nahi”.

Or “This cancer does not have the power to destroy me, the cancer is inside me, I am not inside the cancer”.

Terror accused politician, Pragya Thakur’s stupid statement saying she ‘cured her cancer with cow urine’, published in Mumbai Mirror

26th April, 2019

In the last few weeks, I have heard a lot about alternate cures and therapies like naturopathy that can rid one of cancer. Family, friends and well-wishers, many have made suggestions. I think some of the advice like changes in lifestyle, better eating habits, having more of a certain food or beverage, exercising and getting fitter to raise the immunity levels of the body, doing meditation, etc, are all very good suggestions, and most welcome. They actually make lots of sense and are things I should surely follow. But I am not so sure of some of the other recommendations.

Like someone said eating two dozen apples from a particular orchard in the Nilgiri Mountains down South, would cure my cancer! Someone else advises starving the cancer cells of food while another theory says flood cancer cells with carrot juice. Really if it was so simple, cancer would be eradicated from all over our planet and not be the feared disease it is. And that orchard owner, would be a billionaire, with people from all over the world flocking and begging him for his magical apples!

And carrots did Steve Jobs a really smart guy and one of the founders of Apple, not go on a complete carrot diet for several months. He reportedly ate so many carrots at one time, that his skin turned bright orange! And this was before he was sick. But he still died of pancreatic cancer.

I have also had a dear old friend say he is losing faith in Allopathy and believes more in Ayurveda. I shall not argue with this, as I do not know enough about Ayurveda. But what I can say is the following-

  1. I felt a tumour inside me which was surgically removed and examined. The sample was there for all to inspect and after the best of lab techniques, was analyzed as Seminoma, a type of testicular cancer. This was only possible due to modern medical practices.
  2. After the surgery, a wait and watch approach with regular tests was adopted. Within a period of four months a PET/CT Scan showed two well-defined enlarged lymph nodes indicating the cancer was back. Even I can see these nodes deep within me on a film, because it’s there in black and white. Again only because of modern diagnostic tools like the PET Scan.
  3. Now I am going through a course of chemotherapy, because I believe it’s the best bet in the given circumstances. The medicines have been developed after a lot of research and deep studies, and are the best available presently.
  4. In few months’ time I will again undergo a PET Scan and this will conclusively show the results of the chemotherapy and if it has been effective or not.

While I am nobody to rule out or comment on alternate therapies like Ayurveda, etc, I do have a question. If they work so well and can cure cancer, how come these cures are not more known and publicized? Why have these cures not been made available to every single patient? I would presume that if I had such a cure, I would do everything, to let everyone know, that I can cure cancer. Different social organizations, private and public health bodies, doctors, hospitals, individuals and governments, all would want to get involved with these cures. Some may do it for their love of mankind, or due to their sense of duty, while others may be more selfish and do it to reap profits. But they would all be doing something or the other, to spread these cures. I do not see that happening. Why?

27th April, 2019

My next date (29th April) for admission to hospital is fast approaching and I have to start getting mentally prepared for the second course of chemotherapy.

The last few weeks have gone by faster than I imagined, and honestly have been nowhere as bad, as the chemotherapy treatment is made out to be. Yes, I know I maybe speaking too soon, and there is still a long way to go.  My wife also gets upset when I say such things and has asked me to refrain from talking about it. So let me just say that I have my fingers crossed and am geared up for another cycle of chemo.

28th April, 2019

Tomorrow I once again get admitted to Hinduja Hospital, for my second cycle of chemo. Some friends have been calling and asking me to be brave. Lots of family members and well-wishers are also saying this all the time. Strangely, I do not feel brave or anything. In fact, I am quite surprised by my approach to this whole thing.

Yes, initially it upset me lots. But in a few days I was over it and focused on getting the best treatment to cure my cancer. There has been no indulging in self-pity or feeling sorry for self at all. It’s like my mind, which is reasonably seasoned and trained to handle adverse situations and crisis’s has simply shifted gears and decided, “This is just another adventure. And you have to be resourceful and conquer this difficult track, called cancer”.

Honestly, I myself am surprised, how easily my mindset has changed and how I hardly feel any serious discomfort, either physical or psychological. Frankly I am beginning to believe in the saying, “It’s all in the mind”.

But yes, I do miss not doing some of the things that were planned. Like going to Jaipur for a dear friend’s son’s wedding. Following which we were to go for few days to Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, our rooms and safaris were booked too. And earlier this month, I was to go to Tadoba Tiger Reserve. Alas, I have had to give all that a miss. For now, at least.