Cancer Story of the Layout Editor

cansupportStories

Still sweaty from his bike ride to work, Praveen sits down at his desk and logs into his computer. As his coworkers trickle in, he exchanges warm words and compiles the day’s headlines. Praveen is the layout editor for a local newspaper, providing the main source of income for his family. His is tall and appears confident. He is crisply dressed, with clean cut hair and a handsome face. Beneath Praveen’s polished exterior, however, is a secret that threatens his life. In the middle of his lower back, there is a gaping wound—a tumor mushrooming out of his sacrum. This is an unhealed cancer wound that was charred to blackness by radiation.

Praveen was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in his sacrum at 29 years old. In the first stages, the cancer did not seem to interfere with his daily routine and lively disposition. He went ahead with an arranged marriage, hoping to find a cure before his bride would have to know. The cancer, however, had a plan of its own. As it progressed, Praveen declined to a state of complete physical and mental immobilization. He was confined to bed and forced to take time off from his job. Severed from the outside world and his livelihood, he felt a deep loss—he had lost his sense of self. When the illness became clear, Praveen’s wife felt angry and deceived. Unwilling to spend her youthful days confined to his bedside, she asked for a divorce.

CanSupport connected with Praveen and helped him work through this extremely dark time in his life—the divorce, surgery, and continued treatment. In order to help with his emotional pain, however, they first needed to address the physical pain. They encouraged him to put on weight through a high protein diet and provided medications for pain and other symptoms. The surgery left a large open wound which was prone to odor and infection, so the nursing staff taught Praveen’s mother how to dress it properly. To this day, she has followed CanSupport’s guidance meticulously. The wound has stayed infection free and reduced gradually to half its original size with the pain also subsiding. The CanSupport team knew that Praveen could regain his full physical strength by helping him become mentally stronger. So they now focussed on rebuilding his confidence and to instil a sense of optimism in him.

At CanSupport’s recommendation, Praveen returned to work. While the initial return was challenging, it taught Praveen tenacity and strength in perseverance. He battled with stool incontinence; without warning, loose stool would pass 5-6 times per day. In an office surrounded by more than 50 coworkers, this caused unimaginable embarrassment. When Praveen called CanSupport and expressed his mortification, they worked immediately to find the right treatment. In a few days, he was able to manage his incontinence. Empowered by the return to normalcy, Praveen went back to work with new enthusiasm. He rode his bike, which, only months before, would have been an unthinkable physical feat.

Despite regaining strength and a sense of purpose, Praveen still felt confused on the spiritual level. Why did God make him suffer through a long drawn disease instead of ending his life quickly in an accident?

When Praveen expressed his confusion to a CanSupport counsellor, she gave him something to reflect on—perhaps this was not God’s punishment. Rather, it was a gift of time to do something meaninful, to serve and cherish the family he would one day leave behind.

This resonated with Praveen, and he began to think of his late father, a man he had always revered as a hero. He was the family’s rock—strong, trustworthy, and selfless. Praveen remembered how his father carried him on his shoulders when he was too ill to walk as a child. On regaining his physical and mental strength, Praveen strove to be that rock for his family. He would often think, what would my father have done? How can I serve my family?

Praveen’s sister had fallen extremely ill during pregnancy. She battled diabetes and had to spend seven months in hospital. Full of hope and support, Praveen spent every hour he could with her and more. He says he was there for his sister the way CanSupport was there for him. She is thankful that he saved her and her daughter’s life. Embracing God’s gift of time, Praveen feels significantly more at peace. While he may have fewer days, he proclaims, “then I must live double the life”.