There is always a moment in everyone’s life that changes the perspective of how they view themselves and this universe. For me, that moment arrived when I was diagnosed with cancer. I’ve always had this weird fantasy where I used to imagine myself having this life-changing ailment. Cancer, a small word which holds the power to break down the strongest warrior within us and make us miserable in front of the whole world to watch. I’ve always been curious about how things would change if I ever got this powerful disease and how it might change how I see the world and how the world sees me.
Little did the kid in me know that it wasn’t just going to be a fantasy. Did I attract cancer to me? Well that’s a question that’s going to be in my head until my last dying breath, but this single question changed the whole perspective of how I see life. What if cancer is just a state of mind? Intriguing, right? Maybe all those filthy self-help books were true, maybe I control it all, maybe I am the power that holds control over everything happening in my life. God made me strong enough to question myself with these questions. This made me reflect upon every moment in my life where I just thought of something and then it happened, that something changed everything. It all seems so vague and ludicrous when I just say it like this, but having undergone such a huge life change makes me rethink everything over and over again.
Perhaps this cancer is just in my head, projecting over my body as a result of not being able to contain itself in my mind. Luckily, my body is as strong as my will, it will never give up on me. I have the strength and the energy to see this through. When I’m feeling low and dull, all I think is, “God just wanted to make me feel loved”. Getting diagnosed was difficult, but it opened my eyes to see everyone who loves me and is by my side. Blindsided with grudges and preconceptions, this is something I failed to see before. The song lyric ‘to believe I walk alone is a lie I’ve been told’ from “Let your heart hold fast” instantly came back to my mind, and now it made sense to me. I never thought that I would be surrounded by so many people who love me, it makes life far much easier knowing that so many people really do love you.
When I was in the hospital, my parents and uncle came to me and said, “Harshu, you always have been a King, now it’s time to act like one. We are all your soldiers, and we will only be strong and composed if our King is strong and composed. We are with you every step of the way; we won’t fall apart because you have been this strong so far. It’s just so long before we win this battle and you lead us into victory.
Imagine a nineteen-year-old being called a King, I was on cloud nine! Love wasn’t all that I was getting, I was getting everything I’ve ever wanted, not that I already didn’t have everything, but just more! I didn’t misuse this opportunity to get all the luxuries of the world, I love my family, and at this point in life all I wanted was this love. The definition of family changed for me, Family wasn’t restricted to blood relations anymore. For the first time in my life, I took down the barriers and let people in. My friends emerged as my extended family, closer than ever. Mobile phones and social media have made everyone so broken and out of love, so if it weren’t for this cancer, I would never have known about how many of my friends really do care about me.
What was most shocking to me is when five people willingly went bald for me. I don’t think anyone has done a nicer thing for me in my entire life. The day my hair started falling off as a result of the side effect of the chemotherapy, was one of the most emotional days of my life. But having five more people go bald along with me, just made me feel confident and loved. I still remember returning home after getting my hair chopped, I ran straight to the washroom and started crying. My hair, my most beloved possession, just chopped away in a matter of seconds. I have always been obsessed with my hair, every strand of my hair had to be perfectly set at all times or I wouldn’t step out of my bedroom. My hair was like my best friend, someone that would always be with me no matter what. Well I was wrong, my friends were better than best friends, they were family now. The hair, it went; but my friends, they stayed. They have been by my bedside ever since I was diagnosed, I really am blessed to have such a caring family and so many loving friends.
By Harshavardhan Sanghrajka