My life changed forever after hearing the words “I’m so sorry, you have cancer.”
My life flipped upside down on August 28, 2019. I was hesitant to post this news out in public, but I realized this is bigger than me and I have a role to advocate and raise awareness.
I was diagnosed with Big “C” stage IV (subcutaneous t-cell lymphoma) with HLH (Autoimmune disease). It’s a very rare type of cancer, only 150 cases have been reported. The diagnosis came after staying in the hospital for about 3 months with high fevers & daily rigor episodes. This date and devastating news are seared into my memory forever.
Being diagnosed with Cancer is news that no one wants to hear in their lifetime. It was completely unexpected and the most difficult challenge I’ve had to face. At times, it felt very scary with the side effects of high-dose chemo like losing your hair, feeling weak, nausea, facial changes, and no strength at all. The only way to cope was to keep your mind positive, stay strong, and have faith in God.
The last two years have been extremely challenging for me and my family. I have seen good and bad days. I had no clue what was in store for me. Chemo is a bitch, and it’s as bad as they say it — the pain was ineffable. There have been days and months I was bedridden due to pain, bones that ache, nausea, high fever, feeling exhausted, no taste, mouth sores, throat pain, and weakness. It’s a mixture of feelings that moves deep into your soul and will change your life physically and emotionally.
But I am a survivor and somehow I got through each day, slowly but surely, constantly being reminded of how loved I am by God and by the people around me.
As I look back on the past year, it almost feels like it all was a bad dream. I can’t quite believe everything I endured and overcame! But here I sit… not the same person I was a year ago. But a better person. A stronger person. A fighter.
Cancer tried to destroy my life but instead, it made my life better. It strengthened my marriage, my relationships, and my faith. It showed me that I truly can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me!
I am so grateful to each and every one of you who supported and prayed for me! I could never have done this alone!
If you are walking a cancer journey right now, just know that it will be hard but that cancer doesn’t have to be the end. It might just be the beginning… the beginning of a new life. One that you can lead with more purpose and intention. I know that’s how I’ll be living mine!
Looking back now, all I can do is smile, move forward, and acknowledge my strength and resilience. Cancer is part of my story, but it does not define me. I’d like to take this moment to thank my incredible family and magnificent friends who helped me through all of it and continue to help me through it today. I’m so thankful to have the support system that I do, and I can’t even think about how hard it would have been without them.
By Harjeet Kaur