They say “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. I understood the full meaning of this when I got diagnosed with adenocarcinoma prostate cancer in February 2019, when I went for my annual health check-up.
Of course, at first I was scared. No one wants to hear that they have cancer, no matter how courageous they are. In fact, I believe courage is not the absence of fear. We all experience fear but we need to move ahead from that emotional response and look at the practical steps that need to be taken.
Once my initial shock subsided, I wanted to find out as much as possible about my condition. For this I visited upto seven different doctors. The opinions of the doctors did not match. That led to some confusion in my mind. I even explored options in Homeopathy. I browsed the web to read everything there was on prostate cancer. That is how I came across Onco.com.
By March 2019, Onco provided me with a comprehensive report reviewing my condition, along with answers to all the questions I had. Knowledge is key in winning any battle, especially a battle with cancer. Once I had the appropriate knowledge of my condition, my treatment options and the possible outcomes, I started to feel more confident about being able to fight this disease.
From the reports, I understood that I was suffering from Stage 1 low-risk adenocarcinoma prostate cancer, with no comorbidities. I was told that my chances of recovery were very good. The team at Onco informed me that I had two options for treatment. One was Definitive Radiotherapy (SBRT) and the other was Radical Prostatectomy. They suggested that I should go for radiation with stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) using Cyberknife or LINAC based systems, since it is an out-patient procedure with excellent tumour control and minimum toxicity.
Even before I started treatment, I knew exactly how long it would take, how many times I would need to visit the hospital, what side-effects I should expect, and what tests would need to be done after the treatment was completed. This kind of information helped me prepare myself for the treatment.
The key take-away was that I had a 95% chance of cure. Since I am 62 years old, I was keen on opting for the least painful treatment. I am self-reliant by nature and do not have the option of depending on my family for support. I wanted to complete the treatment without much disruption to my regular life. I am happy to say that I have managed to achieve that.
In my opinion, the most important aspect of fighting cancer is determination. Instead of looking at others for sympathy or help, I decided to find strength within myself. I kept saying to myself, “I will destroy this cancer before it destroys me”. I looked at cancer as my enemy. I was not going to be scared of it, I was going to defeat it.
There were many ups and downs in my life, during the treatment. My wife is physically disabled and I had to face a few family issues at this time. Having to face that alongside my illness was not easy. It was difficult to keep up with my dietary requirements during this time. But after that, I managed to bring my treatment back on track. As I mentioned before, sometimes, we need to put aside our emotional response to a situation and take the practical steps that are required. We cannot control everything that happens in life but we can control how we respond to these events. I chose to stay positive in the face of my troubles. And that paid off in the end. I have completed my treatment now. I am able to continue living my life in a healthy and self-sufficient manner. For me, this is my biggest victory.
Since my treatment was successful, I now continue to go for regular tests every three months and do all the things I used to before. I follow a healthy diet and lifestyle.
I chose to share my story here because I want to reach out to those who have had to face obstacles and a lack of support. It is natural to expect your loved ones to be there for you when you face something as tough as cancer. Sometimes, you may not receive the support you hope to get. That may disappoint you but you must not let that affect your fight against cancer. I have faced cancer on my own… you can do it too.
Start by finding out as much as you can about your condition. Ask all the questions that you have in your mind. The more you understand about what is happening to your body, the easier it is for you to face this battle. Secondly, don’t let your emotions take control of you. You may feel scared, disappointed and tired. You cannot completely avoid these emotions. But you have to still continue to think about the practical steps that need to be taken to continue your fight against cancer.
Knowledge and determination; these are the only two weapons you need to win this fight. Talk to yourself daily. Tell yourself that you can win this battle. I used to do that. I used to talk to my cancer too; I used to tell it that I am going to destroy it.
And I did just that.
*name changed on request