March 26th, 2013 was a day I will never forget. That day, just a couple months shy of graduating high school, I was diagnosed with sarcoma cancer. A few days later, at UCLA’s Sarcoma Center, I met my oncologist, Dr. Singh. Wishing I was anywhere but there, I was hardly listening as my mom bragged about how I had been accepted to Cal Poly SLO as a Biomedical Engineering major. With a huge grin, Dr. Singh told me that was his major in college. I had no idea that this unique connection which my oncologist and I shared would spark a friendship and camaraderie. Throughout the course of my illness Dr. Singh and I grew closer and I came to respect his compassion and caring attitude. In fact, this bond that I forged with my oncologist allowed me to realize that becoming a doctor was my life calling.
From the day I was diagnosed, until the end of all of my treatment, I was caught in a medical whirlwind. I was devastated, enraged, depressed and in denial — all at the same time. Having so many doctor appointments and procedures, I soon became numb to it all. In all the different offices, I would always feel so afraid and alone, even when my family was there with me. However, the doctors that offered me their time, patience, and sympathy helped mitigate the stress of it all. In such a tender time in my life, they offered perspective and hope.
After three surgeries, two and a half months of radiation and twelve weeks of chemotherapy, I survived it all. My faith, strength, and courage were all tested, but I am a stronger person because of what I went through. In the process, I underwent a transformation and have come to understand that my path in life is to help people. I want to be the source of hope, healing and strength that my doctors were for me.
And to anyone who is facing something in life that seems daunting, challenging, insurmountable or at times impossible to overcome, I offer you this:
- Keep steadfast faith in what you believe in
- Never give up
- Everything in life is an opportunity for growth and the lessons you learn can always be shared with someone else who may be in need of your wisdom
Having walked away from my Cancer story feeling grateful, empowered and healthy, my mission is to pass on my torch of hope, empowerment and strength to others. I am a huge advocate of digital health and believe it can streamline delivery of care and increase access to care, empowering individual patients.
While going through the process of dealing with cancer was dark, scary, devastating and more, coming close to so many depths of emotions has truly changed me. And now each day when I wake up, I see hope, light opportunity and a chance to help others.
Thank you for reading my story and please share your journey too in the comments section …