I started my advisory practice in 2000 and built a loyal client base. I started writing a column on personal finance in Times of India. Everything was going well until my doctor told me I had cancer in 2008.
Since my mother was undergoing cancer treatment, we were already distressed. When I told my family about my cancer, I could not help crying.
There were so many loose ends to tie up. I had to think of a way to ensure that my family did not suffer financially in my absence. I also did not want my column to stop. I had accepted that I had cancer, but I was not going to let the disease defeat me.
Two days after the diagnosis, the ulcer in my mouth was surgically removed. I recovered quickly and life returned to normal. Little did I know this was just the beginning. A few months later, they found cancer in the lymph nodes in my neck.
This time, I also needed radiation therapy, which is very hard on a patient with oral cancer. Indeed, the radiation was worse than they had cautioned. During the last two weeks of this therapy, I had to stay home. A sticky fluid kept oozing out of my mouth, and I could not sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time. Drinking water made my mouth burn.
I turned to ayurveda to help cope with the after effects of radiation. I also started practicing yoga. I decided I was not going to let cancer overwhelm me. That is when cancer threw a curveball. In January 2012, my oncologist discovered a minute scratch on my tongue. The result? 30% of my tongue had to be surgically removed, so that I could retain my ability to speak.
Now, I am cancer free. If the disease strikes again, I might be unhappy, but having already suffered this much, I will just take it head on.
I lead a cancer free life. I work, write columns and appear on TV shows. In fact, I started ‘Money Makeover with Gaurav Mashruwala’, a financial literacy channel on YouTube. The single biggest learning from my experience is that cancer is just a disease, treat it as one and do not let it overwhelm you.