My name is Durga Gopal. I am a stage 4 Cancer patient stationed in Hyderabad. I have been asked to give a brief account of my journey through Cancer.
In the year 2010 when I was living in Delhi, I was first detected with a small lump in my right breast which turned out to be malignant. Surgery was done, the lump was removed and I had to undergo radiation for 1 month. After radiation I was on medication for almost 6 years and in the early period of 2017 I was declared Cancer free.
It is ironic that at the end of the same year Cancer re-invaded my body again.
From March to November I was in US and Germany that year visiting my children and hence there was a delay in contacting my doctor in Delhi. This time it was the left breast and consequently the inordinate delay resulted in the Cancer spreading to the lymph nodes in the lungs. So it was Stage 4. Since I was staying all alone in Delhi I shifted to Hyderabad as here I had the support of my brother.
After reaching Hyderabad I was told by my doctors that I had to undergo Chemotherapy followed by 2 maintenance medicines and this was to continue as long as I live. So I had a lifetime membership with the hospital. The Cancer in the lungs subsided in 2 months and within 6 months the lump in the breast disappeared.So though I don’t have Cancer in my body now I can never call myself Cancer free as according to the doctors this Cancer will re-manifest itself. It is only a matter of time according to them.
In short this is my voyage with Cancer embracing me at every bend.
Now let me show you the brighter side of the canvas. When I was first diagnosed with Cancer as expected I was devastated. We hear of calamities but when it strikes our door how do we react. Believe me it was not easy. It was like a bolt from the blue. The surprise element, the fear, the agony, the mental and the physical torture will shake even a very strong and level headed person. I was no exception. It took me quite some time to come to terms with the disease and with life. Especially the first time. But then God gives you no choice. He doesn’t answer your whys. Whatever he gives you have to accept. The faster you realize this, the faster you will be mentally equipped to face the challenges.
The second time, though it was more traumatic it was a little easier. I knew by then that there was no point in shedding tears. You will only be blotching your face. So this time I decided to combat it with a smile. Once I came to terms with myself I decided that I would take it up as a challenge. If I lose the race it still doesn’t matter because I did not give up without making an attempt. After recovering quickly from the initial shock, I decided to combat this disease with a positive attitude. I always had a smile on my face and even during my convalescence I wanted to work in the hospital where I was getting treated. It was my good fortune that I had an excellent Oncologist. He encouraged me to write my first book ‘My Rendezvous With Cancer‘ which was a firsthand narrative about my experiences and how I have handled my disease. The book was appreciated by most of the readers and I got quite a lot of mind-blowing reviews for the same.
At present I am working as an assistant to my own Oncologist and it gives me immense pleasure and satisfaction when some of the patients have regained their composure and have recovered from their depression after my counseling. When they see me a stage 4 Cancer patient standing and laughing in front of them they are convinced that this disease can be overpowered if they have a strong will, a determination to conquer and a positive attitude. My second book ‘Cancer: A Doctor’s Perspective’ is also ready for release.
I tell all the patients… ”Live life fully as long as it lasts.
Why worry about tomorrow?
Today is what that matters.”
Cancer is not the end of life. You have to be a warrior and fight it out tooth and nail. Ultimately you will be the winner and then there is no looking back.