Expectations. The lifeline of life itself. We thrive on our expectations, sometimes even crossing the border into a land where we take our own well being for granted, feeling invincible without really wondering about the future. And then, we go right ahead and call it life – that merging of days into work calls, or carpools dedicated to class after class for our children, that cancelling of holidays to make space for bigger achievements. Until it all comes to a grinding halt with the discovery of a lump where one should not have been.
My throat had been creating trouble for me, for a while. I knew it to be more than just a cold or throat irritation that came with the change of seasons. I knew that my expectation of being healthy was now transiting into the land of denial. Yet, I knew this was a journey I would have to halt. Looking around me, I knew I would have to take a U turn towards a hospital for the sake of my loved ones, at least. Wife, son and so many people I held dear, were also expecting me to look after them.
And so, I found myself driving towards the hospital, my faith clutching at the straws of hope as I tried to infuse the same into the hearts and minds of my family members. The hospital visit went by in a haze of what I can describe as numbness. My heart was probably fighting to keep fear out. I had never known unadulterated fear, and now was probably not the time to start. Yet, there was that feeling in the pit of my stomach – as if all was not right.
Yes, said the doctors, as I struggled to concentrate, struggled to read between the lines to find some hope – there was a lump that could be malignant. There was a growth that had come to find its home in an unwelcoming place. There was pain there at the prospect of a monstrous life gnawing at my good health. Would I succumb? And more importantly – what next?
I was to be wheeled in for surgery four days later. A sample tissue would be meticulously extracted and a biopsy would followed. How many times had I heard this from people who had fought cancer; how many times had I read this in books; how many times had I watched dramatic movies based on this? Would mine become a story for people to read and cry about, or would I inspire people to fight and come out triumphant? I decided to go with the latter.
This would not come as a surprise for those who already know my story – Broken Crayons Can Still Colour. Cancer was just another challenge to be added to the list in my life. God was obviously busy doling out challenge after challenge to those He knew to be strong enough, and I am blessed to have made the list.
While my family reacted with shock and then despair, I soon became the rock they needed. With my wife breaking down at the very prospect of losing me to a dreaded disease, I knew I had to take matters into my own hands. A number of tests happened, including the tunnel I was sent into for an MRI scan that would show the true extent of what had overtaken my body – or at least a part of it. While inside, I could sense the darkness as a sea that threatened to engulf me, even as the silent hum and whir made my insides churn. Is this what the end would like? Would I finally find myself in a mechanical womb, ready to send me to the other world? Thoughts such as these engulfed my senses, and I knew I would have to be stronger. I sent each such thought to a part of my subconscious that was locked securely with faith and hope.
And then, the day of the surgery dawned . Even with the best medical team at my bedside, there was scope for a small slip. And it happened. While anesthesia was being given to me, a young medical intern in charge of the job, made a small blunder. It was obviously the first time he was doing this – a huge event for him. He administered the needle bearing the drug right under my skin instead of the vein it was supposed to go into. Blinding pain followed and the doctors knew that something had gone wrong.
In a moment, my fear was back, sitting next to me and asking me to make my next move. I looked it in the eye and said, “not yet – not now.” I clasped the hand of the young intern who was now being interrogated by his seniors.
“Don’t worry,” I said, still inhaling through the mask that had been fixed to my face, “these things happen. Go ahead and do your best now.”
He looked at me with a mixture of shock and appreciation. His eyes had welled up. It was a completely unexpected moment and I could tell that the entire staff present in the room could not believe their collective eyes or ears. I wanted this young doctor – to – be, to know that he could get through this and still be a great doctor. If I could give him the strength to do that, he could redeem all those hours of patient study he had put in towards his medical dream. It was the least I could do for him so that this memory would not haunt him into changing professions!
And so my surgery took place. When I came to, I found that my hand was a swollen mess with multiple tubes running along the surface. Another battle scar, I thought, as I came back to my senses slowly.
But this was not the end of my battle – it was only the beginning.
This is a developing story that is being shared as a blog series by the well known best selling author – Captain Rakesh Walia. And All is covering this true story of the recent cancer scare that he is undergoing. Being the motivational speaker he is, and with a heart of gold, he has decided to blog out this experience and convert it into a book to inspire generations to come. Do buy his first book Broken Crayons Can Still Colour right here!