Harjeet Kaur - My grim battle
My Grim Battle
My life flipped upside down on August 28, 2019, I don’t know if I wanted to or if I was ready to share my story with the world. But I think I’m ready now. And I’m resolved that no one should suffer in silence in this young age. I was diagnosed with Big “C” Stage IV T-cell lymphoma (SPTCL) complicated by with HLH (Autoimmune disease). It's an aggressive and rare diagnosis; only 150 cases reported. The diagnosis came after staying in hospital for about 3 months with high fevers & rigor episodes daily.
Cancer......doesn’t discriminate, it doesn't give a s*** who you are, what age you are, what religion you are, what car you drive, your sexuality or your social status!! Being diagnosed with Cancer is news no one wants to hear in their lifetime. It was completely unexpected & the most the difficult challenge I had to face.
I am grateful for my incredible family & close friends who went above and beyond to support me and still do. They made me feel strong enough to fight this battle like a warrior.
At times, it felt very scary due to the side effects of chemo like losing your hair, feeling weak, facial changes & no energy at all. The only way to cope was to keep your mind positive, stay strong and have faith in God. The last 1.6 year has been extremely challenging for me & my family. I have seen good & bad days. There have been days and months I have been bedridden due to pain, bones that ache, nausea, high-fever, feeling exhausted, no taste, mouth sores & weakness. It’s a mixture of feelings that moves deep into your soul and will change your life physically and emotionally.
But I had to be positive all this time to gain strength. Despite all that happened, I accept this as a moving point in my life which made me much stronger for life ahead. I still feel beautiful with or without hair (Egghead).
It takes time to accept it and the process can be very emotionally draining. But realize fully that I have a role to raise awareness and helping others tackle this better prepared.
My Re-Birth “April 14, 2020” Stem cell transplant.
I’m 1-year-old! It's taken so much courage to get here & I am so thankful.
The first 100 days of SCT were critical because transplant could be rejected & I could get critical illness.
My SCT treatment was during the pandemic COVID-19, I had to be isolated for 32 days in the hospital with no one to hug or hold my hands.
I was on chemo & radiation therapy for 7 days & had no idea what lay ahead. I had no clue what complications there might be? If the transplant would be successful or I will be able to get my life back or meet my family again.
I was very weak by the end of it. I shed so many tears of pain. I can't express what I have gone through.
When you’re faced with the greatest obstacle & the only choice is to live, you take a deep breath; look the hardship in the eye & focus. Focus on being well and focus on being strong. It took all the strength & motivation to overcome this & be a strong woman to live life.
Life never gives you a 2nd chance I was lucky to have one in my life. My donor was my bro (100% match), my life savior.
I’m 7 months post-SCT & Neutropenic (means I have very low WBC to fight infection, hence isolation). As hard as this is I know I’m one of the lucky ones to have my beautiful family right by my side & my close friends.
I can just hope & pray for the best in life. I am a survivor; a warrior & I have learnt that the human spirit is stronger than any adversity. No matter what your battle is, just keep going and keep fighting. I’m finally starting to process a bit more of what I have been through the last 1.8 years.
Thank you to every single person who supported me through my transplant & recovery- to the hospital staff & the local cancer community.
It's been a long journey to get here, at some point it felt like this day would never come. Rises in COVID everywhere means I need to continue to self-isolate. I'm just going to use this time to focus on my recovery.