At 33, you don't expect to get cancer. Well, I didn’t either. And then I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. For the next six months, I was living through this nightmare every day, and every night.
What Did I Want?
I wanted someone who would listen to me, understand my problem, help me figure out the right steps to take, and help me find a good oncologist.
I wanted someone who could talk to me and my family, to tell us that it was going to be ok.
I wanted someone to connect me with an expert in the US. I don’t have the money to get treated abroad, but hell yeah - I wanted to know everything there was to know about Multiple Myeloma, figure out all the treatments available, get access to all the ongoing research in the field.
I wanted to talk to at least 3 experts who knew everything about cutting edge therapies. I needed someone I could talk to during my treatment, to help me get a second opinion if I needed one. Most of all, I needed someone to do all of this for me online, without me and my family travelling from place to place.
My family and I did accomplish a couple of these things on our own. We found a good oncologist in India and spoke to another doctor at John Hopkins. The process nearly killed us — financially and mentally. My mom made at least a hundred phone calls (I'm not kidding!) to finally get connected to a doctor at John Hopkins who was kind enough to review my data over Whatsapp. We had to visit 10 doctors in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai before I found the doctor I wanted to get treated from.
I was just so... so lucky! Not everyone is.
My Advice To Fellow Cancer Patients
Please get advice from multiple oncologists and international experts as well, if you have cancer. There is so much innovation going on in the world, so many drugs coming out to the market. Believe me, we didn’t know anything about all this — neither did some of my doctors!
Save time and money. Don’t travel to Mumbai or New York if someone can bring you that advice online at one-tenth of that cost.
Talk to a medical expert who has time to listen to your problems and look at your test data for at least half an hour. Most well known doctors in India don’t spend more than 10 minutes on each case. They might be busy, but this is your life. Choose someone who is dedicated to treat you.
This is Rohit's story, as narrated to the team at Onco.com. If you have an experience to share with us, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org