Skip to main content

Celebration of cells: letters from a cancer survivor

Letters to a friend with cancer, from a cancer survivor.

In 1989, in the middle of a busy day, R.M. Lala happened to notice in a mirror that one side of his neck was significantly enlarged. Tests revealed that he was suffering from malignant lymphoma, a form of cancer that affects the lymph nodes. The awareness of this Iife-threatening illness meant a radical change in how he lived, a marshalling of mental and physical resources such as he had never had to do before. For treatment, like the disease, is harsh. It involves, among other things, a regimen of chemotherapy that can leave a patient drained of every ounce of strength. A person weakened by disease and treatment has to eventually draw on his own faith in himself, supported by the love of others, and in the author’s case, a strong and abiding belief in God.

Written in the form of letters, this book is meant to prepare a friend, also diagnosed with cancer, for the rigours ahead of her. Drawing on his experience to provide her reassurance, the author shares with her his feelings of despair as he underwent the painful treatment, and the hope that he was able to generate in his darkest moments. Ultimately, he addresses all of us, healthy  and ill alike, showing us the indomitability of the human spirit which can survive anything, teaching us how to make each moment of our lives a celebration.