Opinion and Editorial

World Cancer Day: One small word that evokes every human emotion

Anu Cinubal/Dubai
Filed on February 4, 2021 | Last updated on February 4, 2021 at 02.09 pm
Photo: Reuters

"Many patients themselves are counting their days with their bucket lists in hand. There are others, who have decided to complete what they were doing, before the last day comes."

It was on August 31, 2020, that my doctor told me: “We have to fight it.” And I knew that for sure.

The fight is against Stage 4 Colon cancer, which has been metastasised into my liver.

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The problem was that I was not aware of the ways to lead that fight. So, I left it to my doctors to decide.

But I promised myself one thing. Like any other things I want to know under the sky, I won’t be Googling about it. And I have kept my word, till now.

Once the tumours were removed and the chemotherapy started, life started changing. Chemo rashes, mouth ulcer, fatigue and what not. Every chemo session is an experience itself. My oncologist referred me to an ENT specialist and a dermatologist for some relief, which didn’t come.

And that’s when I tried searching for support groups on social media, which I believed would be able to help me. And Facebook presented me one such group with more than 5,000 members.

The group itself is a world on its own. There are every types of people from all over the world. And I read, for the first time, about many cancers which I never would have been heard in my life time. If nothing else, all this makes it easier for me to live my cancer.

Most of the group members are patients who are currently under treatment while many others are confused and shocked after the diagnosis. And some are there in the group for their loved ones.

“The doctor says my dad has just months to live. I don’t want him to go. But when he goes, I want to let him go as the happiest man on the earth,” a daughter wrote.

Just like that dad, many patients themselves are counting their days with their bucket lists in hand and the helplessness that accompanies it. There are others, who have decided to complete what they were doing, before the last day comes.

And a body builder lamented: “Why me? I lived a healthy lifestyle yet still ended up with terminal cancer. It’s not fair. How could one look after his body like me end up with cancer? I know people who smoke, drink, or never exercised in their lives, yet are fine... Just venting. Why me?”

And yes, there are others, too. A 55-year-old woman laments of loneliness after her boyfriend of 35 years left her when he realised about the diagnosis of stage 4 disease. And another one, a 20-year-old who has cancer cells all over her muscles. She lives with her one-year-old daughter and is always afraid of breastfeeding the child. A guy cries about living alone while his elder brothers suddenly stopped calling him after the diagnosis.

And of course, this group also is no exception to the marketeers who want to sell whatever they have. Though the group policy is that request for financial help or advertisements are strictly banned, you see many people post alternative treatment ideas and recommendation for doctors as comments in almost every posts.

Yes, cancer or no cancer, this world is a capitalist one and all of us want to capitalise on every possibility.

There are stories of confidence, recoveries, abandonment, fear of death, love, helplessness and everything. Yes, cancer is just a word, with a lot of varieties. But it contains every emotion humans ever had. In each person it evokes a different set of emotions.


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