Abhinav Mittal was in Mumbai, when he was diagnosed with Stage 2 of Hodgkin's Lymphoma-Nodular Sclerosis type after a biopsy, back in 2009. Since it was in II-B stage and was considered to be a curable cancer. Abhinav sought the expertise of Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai and was prescribed eight sessions of chemotherapy and eleven sessions of radiations thereafter.
His biggest fear was his parents' reaction to this news as they were elderly, based in Jaipur and emotionally vulnerable about any malaise towards their son. It seemed impossible to share the news with them as he feared that they might not understand the medical nuances and hence have added stress beyond their tolerance level. After much contemplation, he decided to keep the information discreet, at least, till the treatment was over. Belonging to a close knit family, speaking to each other on a daily basis was a routine in the family. This implied that Abhinav had to lie to them every day about his health.
Abhinav states that the chemotherapy sessions weren’t as painful as hiding the condition from his parents, since he wasn’t allowed to travel, nor could they visit him. A former gym regular and a bodybuilder, he could no longer continue his fitness regime. Despite hair loss, breathlessness, darkened complexion, loss of appetite and other side effects that took a toll on his body, he remained positive and kept reminding himself that this too shall pass. As he spent his days in retrospection, he realised how grateful he was for the life he had and support that he received from his friends, family and his colleagues. He kept himself in high spirits and did everything possible to keep his immunity and platelets high.
During the treatment, whenever he visited the hospital, people refused to believe that he was a cancer patient. He continuously thanked God for his condition especially after witnessing the condition of many patients in the hospital. After his sixth chemo session, his PET CT Scan report revealed that his body had become cancer free. To Abhinav, it felt like an overdue victory. He religiously completed all the chemo sessions and radiations and the treatment ended on February 24, 2010. Abhinav felt guilty for hiding his condition from his parents and avoiding meeting them consistently for the last few months, even after their insistence. On March 6, 2010, he went to Jaipur and told them of the entire ordeal. After an emotional and open conversation, Abhinav kept reassuring them that the worst was past them. Their son was healthy and a fighter.
Abhinav had some catching up to do with reference to regaining his health. He worked on himself and accepted his shortcomings and persisted in regaining his former life back on track. He worked on his stamina and weight training and rejoined his office. The follow up reports were very positive. Back in the gym, he surpassed his pre-cancer level in weight training in early 2011 along with improved performance in aerobics. He boasts of doing 1500 flying kicks daily and double the weights he used to lift before treatment began. He was extremely happy for his restored hair growth and that he looked like himself again. In fact, many people complimented him on looking even better than before treatment.
At his workplace, he has been approached by many people who request him to share his experience. Abhinav feels immensely satisfied when he hears a transformed tone of people after interacting with him. As per Abhinav, he is a thankful man who proactively reaches out to those in need. He has also taken up a course in Actuarial Science, considered one of the most challenging branches of study within finance. He has big aspirations for his future. Abhinav feels eternally thankful for the support and strength he has received and coined a term “Cancer Champion” and uses it for people who use the experience of cancer as a stepping stone to transform into a better version of themselves.