We salutes the spirit of Mr SK – a Male Breast Cancer Conquerer and Motivator to others.
On a bright Sunday morning in 2003, Mr. SK noticed a lump just below his left nipple. He could feel the lump but there was no pain. Just as a precaution he decided to show it to his family physician, a practitioner of alternative medicine. He was prescribed a few medicines. He took them regularly and forgot about the episode.
A struggling writer, SK, 52, got back to his writing, which allowed him to have his two square meals a day.
A month later, he suddenly noticed that the lump had grown bigger. This time, he suspected that it could be serious and decided to visit a surgeon. He borrowed money from his friends and paid a visit to a prominent surgeon.
After a few tests the doctor diagnosed him with Breast Cancer. He was distraught. A bachelor, he was the sole breadwinner to his mentally challenged brother and aging mother.
How would he cope with this?
He managed to gather enough money to go through the entire long process of surgery, chemotherapy and Radiation. He dreaded the days he spent undergoing post-surgery process because he was the only male in a sea of women waiting for the treatment in the hospital. Nonetheless, he took solace from the fact that he was special. Only one in a thousand male are diagnosed with breast cancer.
The doctors had given him only a two month life expectancy. He decided that he would live life to the fullest in those two months. He became the center of attraction as the only male in a place filled with women. Curious folks in the hospital would drop by to see “the male breast cancer patient.” His only regret was that he had no other fellow patient he could narrate his experiences to and cry on their shoulder.
He took refuge in his first love, writing. He wrote furiously and came out with two books in his treatment period – “Beyond senses and mind,” and “Field Marshall mind.”His eating was reduced to one meal a day. Not because he did not feel hungry but because all the money he earned went towards paying for his treatment.
Never once did he let this depress him. He was happy that he would meet his Maker in a few months time and be relieved of all his miseries.
As a counsellor, I have known him from 2007 and have been supporting him to improve his mental health and stay strong. He gets energized every time he shares his thoughts and feelings and gets ready to take up new challenges.
In 2017 April, he decided to motivate fellow cancer patients and spread awareness about Yoga which helps him in fighting the disease. He continuously did 312 Surya namaskar non-stop in the hospital premises from morning 6am to 12noon without any break for rest or for water. Was very happy to support him morally in his endeavour and see him do the 312Surya Namaskar smoothly. With this he also found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
It is 2020 now and SK is still waiting for his meeting with his Maker. He is in no hurry. He spends his time volunteering and counselling other cancer patients like him, spreading his positivity. He wants everyone to fight the battle against cancer as bravely as he did. He is still very poor, barely able to scrape enough for a meal, but considers himself richer than others for the experience.
He takes pride from the fact that he fought a courageous battle and won against a dreaded enemy. He wants to spend his life helping others fight their battles. He goes by the old adage that “quitters never win and winners never quit.” There is a lot that this man can teach us.
I just spoke with him now, he is doing good with some pain but he still continues to do 64 to 78 Surya Namaskar every day to motivate other Conqueror’s.
-Alpa Dharamshi Multilingual Counsellor and Psychotherapist @ copewithcancer