From pitching balls to making the perfect music pitch

True to his name, the story a Bangladeshi teenager who rebelled against cancer to become the lead singer in a music band.

One can either completely give up in a difficult situation or find a way to convert an adverse situation into an opportunity. As a teenager doing well both in academics and sports, Adri (name changed for privacy) epitomises hope and strength. He was a national level fast bowler who had everything going his way till a rapidly growing mass was detected in his leg. This came in the way of the active lifestyle he was leading both on and off the field. When the tuberculosis treatment he was put on failed to curtail the growth, he was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a malignant tumour of bone that most often affects children and teens.

The aggressive chemotherapy treatment and the change in diet that was prescribed as part of the treatment was not something Adri was ready for. Adri understood his situation with maturity and agility that was much beyond his years. With this newfound strength, he rose to the occasion and used his trait of rebellion constructively. He is a rebel with a cause while he still grapples with the fact that he will never be able to play cricket again. He embraced music as a coping mechanism, but three years down the line, music is so much more to him. He is now a lead singer in a heavy metal band called Grohon (eclipse) which he started with his three friends. “You can either keep holding on to the past or move on from it,” says Adri while he fondly talks about his band’s first original composition. He adds, “There comes a time in all our lives when we feel totally defeated and lost. In 2018, I decided to put my past behind me, and that is how this composition came to being. This song will always give me strength as I move on to a new phase of my life.” This was also when Adri met Khadija, our Nutritionist, for the first time. Adri was participating at the Hospital’s annual function, where he was singing to inspire others like him.

“Adri has had a difficult time, and I was sensitive to that. What he needed was patience and someone who had a deep understanding of his journey. I gave Adri the time to warm up to me and after that everything slowly fell into place,” informs Khadija who is proud of the journey Adri has made both physically and emotionally. While the diet prescribed by Khadija showed a positive impact on his health, Khadija feels that meeting Adri has also enriched her life. “He taught me the invaluable lesson of acceptance”, says Khadija who shares a strong bond with him and stays connected with him over the phone. “The fact that we both enjoy Atif Aslam’s music also helped us connect. Khadija is always with me as a friend and guide,” adds Adri who records Atif Aslam songs for Khadija’s birthday every year.

After successive chemotherapies, he returned to his home country Bangladesh, from where he continues to follow-up with his doctors at the Hospital on his progress. Unfortunately, his cancer relapsed, and he had to undergo an amputation of his leg to subside the spread of the virus. This final blow to his dream of being a cricketer was hard on him but his resolve to defeat cancer made him go ahead with the surgery and continue his chemotherapy. Music again saved his life by giving him hope and by providing an outlet to his agonies that came with re-setting his life repeatedly.

As if life was not hard enough, Adri was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a rare disorder of the skin and mucous membranes which starts with flu-like symptoms followed by a painful rash that spreads and blisters. He returned to his home so that his quality of life could be improved as he battled with cancer, the new infection and learnt to re-adjust to life after his amputation. The resilience and strength that Adri has gathered during this time, continue to hold him in good stead.

He is now a cancer survivor and will return to the Hospital in December 2020 for his follow-ups. With this newfound hope, he wants to continue to make music and credits Khadija for making his life easy. “Khadija understands my needs, and the nutrition diet she prescribed me was easy to follow. I look forward to meeting her on my visits to the hospital,” says Adri.

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About Shreya Gupta

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