Nfld. & Labrador·Blog

Dr. C: Cancer has changed me, now what?

Dr. Nikhil Joshi finds one cliche, that cancer changes you, to be true. The question now is, how?

Dr. Nikhil Joshi says he's stopped sweating the small stuff. Seriously.

Dr. Nikhil Joshi is choosing to see a surgical mask as a seasonal accessory, rather than a barrier to enjoying life.

Hello Canada, you look great – have you lost weight?  

Now that I have your attention, I want to talk to you about what happened this week when I was chatting to a friend about what was going on at work. 

Apparently there was a big kerfuffle among the residents about our call schedule. That's the typical sort of thing that used to be my daily life. 

Now when you have cancer or any kind of serious illness, you do develop an unusual perspective. 

First, you notice that some people kind of treat you like you're wise or have some otherwordly perception. Maybe because they think you're close to death, or because you've endured suffering. 

But regardless of why they treat you that way, they do, and I have to say that it's changed me.

Normal worries feels strange

You see, to my buddy, we were talking about things we'd usually talk about, and I'm usually one to enjoy normal conversation and not talk about my treatment or cancer. 

But the truth is: Suddenly, I find myself thinking we're living in a crazy world. 

Let me explain.

You're most likely having a cup of coffee right now, maybe you're on your way to work, you might even be a bit irritated by some hassles you're dealing with before you go out the door. 

Since I've been diagnosed with cancer, I find that the things that used to make up the substance of my life to be, well, kind of flimsy and fleeting. 

I would worry incessantly about work, and dating, and money. 

Now I actually have something to REALLY worry about – chemotherapy and cancer. Every day is an adventure in not dying. 

But suddenly I find myself worry free. 

Everyday things seem a bit trivial

Maybe it's denial, maybe I'm psychologically damaged, but I just don't care about things like office politics, or the new smartphone. 

It seems so strange to me that people are living and dying all over this country, and yet the things we talk about,even on our national news, seem trivial. This politician said this about that guy. This is our democracy? 

This is why I'm going through chemotherapy? So I can go back to work and argue with people about my call schedule? 

I didn't puke my guts out and nearly die to go back to a life filled with petty conflicts. 

I didn't suffer for days at a time in a chemo hole to worry about the car I drive. 

Life really is too short

I'm not going to claim to have found a spiritual path to meaning, but I do know that suddenly I want to have conversations that matter. 

I don't want to be surrounded with negative small talk. 

I think I finally get it. Life really IS too short to be wasted. 

It's like life is checking in and telling me "Really? You spent an hour and half watching 27 Dresses with Katherine Heigl? 

"Is that really how you want to spend to your time? Are you doing something that matters? Is your life – meaningful?" 

I feel bombarded with questions like this, questions that shake the foundation of my everyday life, and I guess I feel now that I'm supposed to change. 

I just don't know why, or what or how. 

I just know for the first time, that this life is meant for greater things than what I have been using it for.   

And for some strange reason, I feel like you probably get that.


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