Diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Meher Roy thanks his father for instilling a habit of checking up his heart, kidneys, and lungs regularly. It was on one of these regular health tests that he was able to detect cancer at an early stage, resulting in a timely action.
From a very young age, Meher Roy was taught to listen to his body. A habit instilled by his father, even as a young adult, he would try to regularly monitor his heart, kidneys, blood, and other health aspects.
“My father instilled this habit in me from a young age after my mother went through an episode of illness, which only seemed to reaffirm his belief in the practice,” he says.
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These regular checkups allowed him to collect years of data about his body, giving him a better understanding of what is ‘normal’ for him.
In 2021, during one of the regular checkups, he noticed that his resting heart rate had increased from 55 to 90.
“After I caught COVID, I decided to get another check-up on 15 February because I was constantly tired and had a recurring nose infection,” he recalls.
He continues, “Typically, these could be effects of the virus, but I got it examined because my instincts told me something wasn’t right.”
In Switzerland at the time, he underwent a CBC (Complete Blood Count) test on 13 April. “The next day, a day before my 33rd birthday, I was asked to visit the hospital with a family member and a change of clothes,” he says.
Meher was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) which had penetrated his nervous system. “ Of the approximately 6 kg of blood in my body, 2.5 kg had been infiltrated by cancer cells,” he says.
While some cancers take years to develop, in Meher’s case 30 to 40 percent of his blood cells turned cancerous in just two months. So early detection came as a blessing for him.
“The treatment was aggressive; the medicines were tough on the body and the side effects of chemotherapy persisted, even as symptoms began improving,” he adds.
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Calling everyone to listen to their bodies and know what’s normal for them, he says, “If something seems different, especially with serious conditions like cancer, it’s important to consult a doctor. I was fortunate to catch mine early!”
(Edited by Padmashree Pande)