4
February
#WorldCancerDay
#WeCanICan

Arbab, India

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My name is Arbab Amin and I am 21 years old now from India. I am a leukemia patient and here is my story.

Before diagnosis:
I am from Uttar Pradesh in the north of India). In 2013, I was a healthy student: active, cheerful, handsome you may say :), liked to play basketball and flirting with girls. When I graduated with fairly good grades, I decided to take out one year to prepare to get admission in one of the prestigious engineering institutes. So I travelled to another state, thousands of kilometres from my home in hope to earn a lot of knowledge which I did. I started my lessons in preparation in July 2013. I still remember those days and can never forget because ther were the best days of my life until now. Living on your own gives you a different experience but I didn't care for myself much in terms of health. I ate whatever  and tried to focus on my studies as much as possible.

Late nights until to 2amto study had became a part of my daily life and of course early rising for classes as well. The main problem I faced there was water. It was not clean at all but I realised too late. Water in every home was fetched from ground water by a pump.

In next few months, I lost quite a lot of weight. After 4 months of starting classes, I was started feeling sick but it didn't bother me much. As I can remember, it started with my stomach but since it was a childhood problem, I didn't think much of it.  Then I started to have a severe pain in my head just for few seconds when I would suddenly stand up. At that time I started thinking there might be something wrong, but  i guessed it to be some blood pressure problem. 

During the November holidays I travelled back to my home for ten days. At home nobody noticed but I remember that I can surely feel something wrong but I dared not to mention it to anyone. Some of the things that I noticed those days was when I climbed up to my terrace which is on second floor, my heart beat quickened and I breathed more heavily. 

When I returned to school, things started to get worse by each passing day. Daily my struggle to climp up the stairs and to ride my bike was increasing, and soon I became very sick. Headaches and fevers happened on a daily basis, which was when I decided to tell someone at home, who advised me to go to the doctor.

When I visited the doctor, I can still remember that I coudn't even walk 10 feet normally . She advised me to have a blood count immediatly and tell her as soon as I get the reports. After the results, she told me to include certain foods in my diet and to get one more blood test after 15 days. When I went to take the blood test, I remember I could barely walk ten steps in a row.. I even struggled to cross the road five step wide.  I seriously didn't know where this would all lead.

I immediatly called my parents and told them about my results and they sent my cousin brother to take me home. When I reached at home in the evening, I was immediately taken to a physician for a blood transfusion, and then I was taken to bigger hospital the next day.

After more questions about my medical history, I was asked to leave the room and I remember my uncle from my mother side came out of doctor's office with few tears in his eyes - but I was emotionless. The next day, I got a bed and the medications started.  They also did a bone marrow test and result confirmed, and I was diagnosed wtih "B-cell Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia".

After diagnosis:
The hospital asked my parents to start chemotherapy or take me to a bigger cancer hospital. My parents decided to treat me here at home. .We had to visit the hospital every day. Days goes by and after every one month or so, I have to take a bone marrow test to see my progress. I was improving. I knew many people who started their treatment with me or just few months before me and they are no more in this world. But here I am a survivor so far. My chemo treatment ended in September 2014.

After giving chemotherapy, the doctors started a maintenance therapy as to reduce the risk of relapse but you never know what will happen. I completed my maintenance therapy in June 2017.  Now, I am good and living a normal life. Each day is a gift for me, so I try to utilise it as much as possible and try to remain happy. This experience has changed me lot, and my way of thinking towards life and people. I still have my dreams as before  to be a physics professor. My advice for newly diagonsed patients is that don't ever think death a bad thing and never get scared of it becuase it is certain we have to face it one day. Be happy no matter what situation you are in and take each day and try to use it as much as possible and BEST OF LUCK!!.