“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
This is not a story of a cancer patient, but the story of his family whose life made a complete turnaround with one diagnosis. It’s a story of strength to be positive every day so that the one fighting cancer never loses hope.
Monica & Arvind Vohra were just like any other parents. Life was a back and forth between home, work, and of course their two sons Aarohan and Aaryan, who were the centre of their lives.
When a 4.5-year-old Aaryan complained of pain in the legs and fell ill frequently, the diagnosis ranged from normal viral fever to typhoid or a relapse of typhoid. But the day Aaryan’s fever spiked to 106.5 degrees, and hemoglobin fell to just 3, was the day everything changed…
A battery of tests confirmed every parent’s worst nightmare. Aaryan had Blood Cancer, or precisely Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). The first question they could ask the doctor was not how he can be treated…but “Are we fighting a winning battle or a losing one?”
It’s hard to imagine how devastated they must be to actually draw the courage to ask this question, that too about their own child.
But, in this dark cloud, there really was a silver lining. Childhood Leukemia has a great chance of full recovery. In Aaryan’s case, it was as high as 75%. Like a wounded phoenix, their hopes which seemed to be burnt to ashes rose like a swirl. They knew it would be a long tough journey, and there was no scope for emotional breakdowns. The next few days went into deciding, the doctors, and hospitals best suited for continual treatment, etc.
With things in place, Aaryan began his treatment at Apollo, Delhi with Dr.Amita Mahajan. There would be days where being strong was difficult, seeing their son in pain, unable to walk, they were often on the brink of breakdown thinking about his future. But, they still made sure to celebrate his 5th birthday, no matter how challenging it was for them to smile, thinking whether or not, he would get the same chance next year. But it was in these hospital corridors, where they spent hours that the thought of helping others was planted. They decided then, to help as many children as possible who are battling Leukemia.
But life was on Aaryan’s side. With time, in the coming months, he started responding well to treatment and the frequency of hospital visits reduced… life was almost back to normal. Aaryan soon started going back to school and overcame terrible phases of infections due to his weak immune system. But Aaryan was strong, and the will of his parents stronger.
It’s never easy to see a child suffer; you often wish that if there was a way you could take away their pain. This is what Arvind &Monica faced for almost three years, till Aaryan made a full recovery. This is what thousands of parents face each year. But it is in these times, that one finds the strength deep inside them, which they never knew they had. This family was changed forever with this one diagnosis. Even though Aaryan is fine and all grown up and healthy, the people around him and his parents have changed. Changed in a way, that they now help other parents and children sailing in the same boat, being their support system. They had seen their child going through enough; they wouldn’t let others go through the same.
It’s 2018, and Aaryan is now a long time survivor. Childhood cancer does not discriminate, it can affect any child.
It’s not just a story of winning; it’s a story of not giving up. When people decide not to give up, something wonderful happens. They live. They live a better life.