Hi I’m Achintya Krishnan
Initially, I was unsure whether or not to include this section here. My intention was not to create the perception that I was attempting to “hijack” this cause by overemphasizing my personal situation. However, I then realized the power my story could have in relating the reality of cancer on a personal level. And through this piece, my aim is to help you develop a better understanding of why I am hosting this golf outing.
My tale began in November 2019. After a long week of classes and work, I was relaxing on a typical Friday night when my life changed forever. The clinic doctor I had seen earlier that day alerted me with the news that my blood counts were shockingly low.
She instructed me to visit the local hospital’s Emergency Room immediately in order to undergo further testing and determine a diagnosis. At that moment, I had never been so frightened in my life; in fact, the main question racing through my mind was, “Am I going to die?” After taking a few moments to collect myself, I raced over to the Emergency Room–with my parents shortly driving up to join me. There, I underwent another frightening 24 hours filled with testing, doctor visits, and medical questions. Following this period, my worst fears were confirmed: the head hematologist/oncologist on duty walked into my hospital room and revealed his strong suspicion that I had leukemia. Immediately, I was overcome by horror, alarm, anger, and a sense of utter helplessness. I turned to the heavens, towards whatever higher power was willing to listen, and asked, “Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this?” I then began to cry into my father’s shoulder, believing that I would soon have the beautiful gift of life ripped away from me. I continued to let my emotions pour out until the doctor walked back into my room and performed the bone marrow biopsy he needed to both confirm my diagnosis and learn more specific details on my condition.
The next day, a few of my classmates stopped by and chatted with me. We discussed my situation, life in general, cracked jokes, and just had a good time. We even played our favorite card game, Coup (I won the first game just FYI)! Shortly after, a few close family and friends also graced me with their company. And of course, my phone was simultaneously being bombarded with kind words from all around the world. I would just like to take a moment here to thank these individuals for their messages of love and support; they provided the vital distraction needed to tame my preliminary feelings of shock and pain.
Fast forward to today and I am doing great! Thanks to the phenomenal team of medical professionals working with me, my cancer is now in remission. Their commitment, knowledge, and compassion have been invaluable in my journey. I continue to receive a tremendous amount of support from friends and family. Such physical, mental, and emotional assistance have made this entire process much easier on myself.
However, I would be painting an incomplete picture by glossing over the personal hardships that have populated this journey. For instance, the last 6+ months have been littered with daily battles against debilitating symptoms such as nausea, stomach pain, headaches, fatigue, weakness, etc. And these are just the “mild” symptoms; my story has also been populated by more serious conditions like allergic reactions and unexplained cases of fainting–just to name a few. On top of that, the ongoing and unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has presented its own set of hurdles. Finally, every day involves some level of mental warfare against the constant fears of death, pain, and physical isolation. Nevertheless, I have managed to work through and combat all of these obstacles with the help of my beautiful support network and the realization that there are many within the cancer community who have it worse than me. My experiences are simply a small sample of the struggles endured by so many brave individuals on a daily basis.
Furthermore, I have definitely grown a great deal as a person. My character, understanding of the world around me, and attitudes towards life, in general, have all witnessed vast leaps forward. In addition, I have developed a newfound purpose in my own life. This new mentality can be perfectly summarized by the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi:
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi
In regards to cancer specifically, I aspire to do whatever is in my power to work towards a future in which nobody has to live through what I and so many like me have been afflicted by. However, this Herculean task cannot be accomplished on my own. I am confident that with your aid and generosity, we can quickly move towards this better reality and have a little fun along the way. When we stand together, nothing is impossible. Thank you.