Cancer Survivors Day – Vivek’s Story
Today is Cancer Survivors Day, a day we celebrate annually here at PayGround. Our company’s origin started after our co-founder/CEO, Drew, battled and beat testicular cancer.
This year we are highlighting the story of Vivek, a dear friend of the PayGround family and someone who believed in and supported PayGround early on. Vivek was diagnosed with colon cancer in December 2020 and we are thrilled to say he recently had his 6-month scan and is cancer-free!
Read more about Vivek’s story below.
From Vivek’s Family
December 9th, 2020 we added a new chapter to our life with Vivek’s Stage 3 Colon Cancer diagnosis. Saying that we were caught off guard would be an understatement as one never really ever thinks this is something that could happen to them. What followed was a colon resection surgery where they removed a foot of his colon (not to worry, he still has approximately 4 ft left), countless number of blood tests, ultrasounds, PET Scan, biopsies, endoscopy, colonoscopy and 10 rounds of chemo with two different types of cocktails. And now the time has come to close this chapter and give it a name. We as a family decided to call this “Flipped the Script.”
One of the biggest things that we knew we needed to do after receiving the diagnosis was to make sure we kept a positive mindset. The night he was admitted in the hospital we as a family started a nightly gratitude circle for appreciating all the things that were going right for us despite this bend in the road. More than the three of staying positive, it was key for Vivek to be able to not let himself get down and to stay distracted. He decided he was going to do this with staying busy at work and also continue to exercise and stay fit as much as he could. We ordered a Peloton the first week of January (which did not get delivered till March 24 because of the backlog from the pandemic) so he worked on playing pickle ball and squash outdoors with our kids, Riya & Eshan, hiked and of course challenged himself to do 100 rides on chemo. Which by the way, he managed to do an hour before going into his last and tenth round of chemo. Anytime you asked Vivek how he was doing, his answer was always ” like a champ.”
We did our best to keep our friends and family in the loop as much as we could and always loved their messages and truly were the wind beneath our wings to keep soaring. We knew this journey was something we would need to take a day at a time and our plan was to ride the high waves and swim with all our might through the lows. The only way we managed to do this for ourselves was by changing our perspectives and flipping the script to stay on the path of positive.
We have been very open with sharing our experience and our story to create awareness and encourage people to have their colonoscopies scheduled. In May 2021, we shared our story on ABC 15 with reporter Sonu Wasu about lowering the official colonoscopy screening age from 50 to 45 by United States Preventive Task Force (USPTF). It was a huge win and will help save so many lives, but at the same time it is continuing to be diagnosed in people younger than 45. You have to take the initiative to schedule that appointment with your medical provider not only when you turn 45, but earlier if you have any symptoms, concerns or family history. Vivek was 48 at the time of diagnosis and could have been lower than a stage 3 if he had been screened three years earlier.
We could not have done this without all the constant messages of love and support from family and friends across the globe not only checking up on him but also on Riya, Eshan and I.
It has definitely been a surreal journey. It almost doesn’t feel real, it’s been less than a year since the end of chemo, but in some ways it feels like a lifetime ago. I think we did our best to get through this and tried to do all the right things – gratitude circle, focus on the positive, inspiring hashtags like #eyeontheprize, #beastmode and #100ridesonchemo, and a constant reminder that you have to go through this, so might as well have the best attitude and outlook possible. And not to forget all the love, support and encouragement from friends and family. It is hard to describe why a text out of the blue checking in on you has so much meaning, but for some reason it does. Lastly my three pillars, actually four pillars, since we can’t forget the fur baby. They have been such a source of strength and a constant reminder of why we are doing this. I never felt that this was my journey and mine alone. It was our journey and I am truly one lucky guy to have them as my source of strength.
At the end of the day, it is clearly not an easy journey and is filled with many ups and downs. I share this mainly to emphasize that prevention is the key. Going thru a colonoscopy is certainly not a walk in the park but believe me, a colonoscopy is nothing compared to six months of chemo.
Colon Cancer Facts
As you can imagine, this journey doesn’t end here as we need your continued support to raise awareness and funds for Colon Cancer.
A few facts about Colon Cancer:
- It is the 2nd most common cause of cancer death in the US after lung cancer, in both men and women.
- It is the 3rd leading cause of cancer in both men and women in the US.
- Most colorectal cancers develop from polyps. Removal of colon polyps is key and usually has no early symptoms.
- Colonoscopies may be uncomfortable, but chemotherapy is much worse.
- It is being diagnosed in younger people.
How You Can Help
If you would like to donate to help the fight against colon cancer, you can donate in Vivek’s honor here.
Photo: Krista John Photography