On Being Diagnosed with Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma
It was the final year of my engineering. I had a swell academic record and a promising future; except for my health. In spite of medication, I’d been falling ill too often. Once, during a football match I blacked out and knew something was amiss. I met a senior doctor who referred my case to an ENT specialist. He informed me that there was a mass in my nasal cavity that needed to be operated upon and given for biopsy.
The reports stated that I had Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma; a rare cancer of the nasal cavity. All of this just a day after I stood third in my final exams. My parents were stunned.
Challenges of the Treatment
The treatment was extremely challenging. My skin was charred beyond comprehension as a result of radiation and chemotherapy. Few people made nasty remarks before my parents. We steered clear of such negativity and kept striving for recovery. Additionally, I was on PEG feeding for nine months. Being a trained singer, it bothered me that I couldn’t even talk for a long period of time. Everything was overwhelming; stifling.
The recovery was slow, but it did come by. I realised early on that the corporate industry is not for me and started working as a lecturer with my college and volunteered with an NGO for cancer care. Working with them opened up the possibility of counselling and I took up diploma at TISS. I wanted to practice as a counsellor and a diploma wouldn’t suffice. I moved to The States for a Master’s degree in Counseling.
On Identifying His Inner Calling
I returned to India and discovered that jobs for counselling psychologists are far and few. Nobody is educated about what it is. There is no concept of a licensed practitioner. We have the best facilities to provide for physical health, but the mental health department is fractured. Subsequently, I founded Inner Calling – Tune in to your SELF with my partner. We counsel people in order to help them through their pain. Because I missed that during my treatment, I want to reach out to anyone who needs a listening ear.
I believe we need to build a sensitised society. A society that doesn’t react to how an individual with cancer looks, but responds to their pain.
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