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My Love Affair with Oncology

Web Exclusives — April 24, 2023
Ranjana V. Bobde
Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India
In my lawyer’s dress in sari, in 2019, ready to go to court just before my cancer treatment.

I had this tumor in my left breast for over a couple of years. But I ignored it since it did not bother me.

In December 2019, I was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in my left breast. It had spread to the left lymph nodes under the arm. I was admitted to the BRA-IRCH & National Cancer Institute (NCI) All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), in New Delhi, India. Prof. S.V.S. Deo, MBBS, MS, FACS, Head, Department of Surgical Oncology, performed my breast surgery. I was 69 years old.

Dr. Deo did such a fantastic job. The breast was removed. He had stitched up the skin so well. No pain, infection, or any other complication. The wound healed so well. It blended with the normal skin around it. Truly a piece of artwork.

I went to the hospital like a normal person and came home like a normal person. There was no sign of any malignancy treatment administered to me. So grateful to Dr. Deo. I could not have found anyone better in the world.

After surgery, the chemotherapy treatment was given by Dr. Ajay Gogia, MD, DM, an Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Oncology at Dr. B.R.A Institute-Rotary Cancer Hospital AIIMS.

When I met Dr. Ajay Gogia for the first time, I was swept off my feet by him. I fell in love with him. He was a young man with a charming, cheerful smile, full of a positive attitude. He was a self-made man. He came from a small town. He studied in Banaras Hindu University until he earned his MD. He then joined AIIMS in Delhi. Did his DM from there. He has been working there all the time and is now an Associate Professor.

He is a tall, dark, handsome chap.

He stood by with a broad smile when I was lying on the bed for the treatment to start. I did not feel that I was in the cancer ward. The whole environment was casual and comfortable.

A total of 4 doses of chemotherapy were given intravenously (IV). The last dose was to be given in the first week of March 2020. By then, the COVID pandemic had hit Delhi and India.

My kindhearted, conscientious Dr. Gogia called up my daughter-in-law one morning. He informed her that the last dose of chemotherapy had to be given immediately because the hospital was in chaos due to the COVID pandemic.

With family.

My daughter-in-law took me to the hospital immediately. Dr. Gogia was waiting. As soon as I got into the bed, he gave me the last chemo dose through IV.

It was around late afternoon. Dr. Gogia left after organizing everything carefully. It was night by the time my chemo dose was over. We reached home after midnight. My chemotherapy treatment was over.

From the first to the last dose of chemotherapy, I went into the hospital calm and cool and came out feeling normal and good. All thanks to Dr. Ajay Gogia. He stood by me like a solid rock. There were no side effects. Life was going on as usual.

My cancer treatment in the BRA-IRCH & NCI AIIMS, New Delhi, India, has become a great memorable experience for me. It changed my mind, heart, and personality. I have become a pleasant and positive person. All thanks to Dr. Ajay Gogia.

He not only administered chemotherapy but he also became my counselor. He awoke the spiritual part in me. His goal was my welfare, not only through medication but unconditional love for me and my well-being.

How did our soul-to-soul contact begin? Dr. Ajay Gogia asked me to motivate him when the chemotherapy began. I told him that his request amused me greatly.

He was a young man in his early forties when I met him, and he had been treating patients with cancer for, I guess, more than a decade and a half.

I told him that he was a Karmayogi. In Hindu religion, Karma yoga is the spiritual practice of “selfless action performed for the benefit of others.”

He leaves his house in the morning to go to the hospital. He does his rounds in the ward, administers chemotherapy to new patients, teaches students, and starts giving treatments in the outpatient care department (OPD). AIIMS is a government medical college and hospital giving free treatment. His work in OPD goes on, sometimes until late in the night.

He holds medical camps in high-altitude Himalayan areas of India like Leh Ladakh, Zanskar Valley. His research papers are published in international medical journals.

What could I do to motivate him?

My experience had proved that he is a compassionate, kindhearted soul, full of good will, emotional warmth, and affection. I found him like a child. So bright and brilliant yet so innocent and lovely. Believe me, whenever I think of him, my thoughts go straight to the feet of Gajanan Maharaj of Shegaon, praying that Dr. Ajay Gogia be blessed with the best in life. Dr. Ajay Gogia is not aware that he has the blessings of the divine force. He is giving free service to humanity round the clock for good health. Being a government service, they receive tax cut salary of government employees.

“In nothing do men more nearly approach the gods than in giving health to men.” (Cicero)

For me this quote applies to both my oncology doctors.

The oncology ward of AIIMS Delhi makes me feel as if I am in a meditation center. Life seems full of joy and contentment. The faces, body language, and vibes of my oncology surgeon and chemotherapist have changed my attitude toward life. I became a positive, strong person and learned to take life in my stride. I learned to control my resentments, anger, and prejudices. I have only gratitude toward cancer and consider my cancer treatment as a blessing in disguise.

My son, daughter-in-law, her parents, my elder sister, and grandson all stood by me.

By the grace of Dr. S.V.S. Deo and Dr. Ajay Gogia, I am in remission.

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