Nikhil Joshi, M.D.
Doctor, Author, Leader
Nikhil Joshi is a young physician, writer, and speaker. He is passionate about furthering his ability to touch the lives of people positively.

Bro Speak

Bro Speak

A Phone call from Texas

N: Hello?
J: How the fuck are you?
N: J! What are you doing in Texas?
J: I’m drilling baby. But how are you?
N: I…I just took a pretty big shit kicking
J: How bad?
N: Remember that time with the Polar bear?
J: You had a Theo night?!!
N: I had 4-5 days of that.
J: Jesus Christ.
N: It was entirely unpleasant.
J: I’d say. We were worried you were going to die that night
N: Hahaha yeah so worried you assholes took pictures of me!
J: We didn’t know what else to do. You were lying on the bear putting your fingers through its dead teeth and talking to it.
N: Theo will always remain my spirit animal.
J: Was it any help?
N: I think what’s helped is that we partied really really hard in Uni. The first few chemo’s were like a bad hangover. It all helped me deal.
J: What’s it like now?
N: It’s like someone poisoned you and added a hallucinogen. Being in a chemo hole, there’s no sense of time or identity. Even coming out of it I still struggle with being here, being real. Everything is so surreal.
J: So this is a bad trip?
N: I don’t know. I mean sometimes, yeah sure it’s fucking dark. It’s like being in the Joker’s head. But other times, I feel like I’m supposed to be getting something from it. I’m supposed to do something with this illness, but my ability to think and reason is impaired for the first 6 days post chemo. So I just end up trying not to puke my guts up or be an asshole.
J: This reminds me of your 22nd birthday. We were totally cut, and then you ordered those 22 shots. And those girls tried to wheel their way into our table to get a free drink.
N: Hahaha and I told them they had to be a hell of a lot prettier to get a shot from us.
J: Yeah. Classic you.
N: Which explains why Josh always got the girls and you and I were just drunk.
J: Somethings in life are priceless. For everything else there’s mastercard.
N: J, I look like shit man. My hair’s fucking falling out, I look pale, and I think I’ve gained a bit of weight.
J: Can’t be worse than the time you told that girl you were a millionaire, made out with her and then puked into the foam on the dance floor. I mean you really looked like shit then. Your eyes were in the back of your head and everything.
N: Hahaha you asshole. You have a unique way of making me feel better.
J: Hahaha look it’s tough I get it man, but bottom line this isn’t the first time you’ve taken a shit kicking.
N: I’m not 21 anymore man. I’m fucking feeling it.
J: Yeah we’re both getting old. I know we can’t do the things we used to do anymore. But you’re not fucking old yet, you’re not done yet. I’m sure chemo is unimaginably bad, but we’re here for you man.
N: I just want it to be over
J: It will be soon. But in the meantime sack up buttercup.
N: True. True.

11 Responses to “Bro Speak”

  1. Sean

    This is a remarkable journey story. When this shit is finally over and you get your life back it is probably worth considering stringing these entries together with a little contextual editorial content and turn it into a book. The insight into the heart and mind of one person going through cancer and the treatments is something that is amazing. No one except someone else with cancer and truly understand what you are going through but it is incredibly useful to gain a little insight into the physical and emotional roller coaster you are experiencing. Fuck cancer, keep our head and courage up!

  2. AlwaysARedhead

    This was hard to read, not so much because you have cancer (which is unspeakably horrible), it reminded me of the conversations I used to have with my sister-in-law who fought cancer for a year and a half. Our conversations were much the same, they were real. I treated her the same as before she had become sick, this is why your conversation brought tears to my eyes, the memories. I do wish you the best in your fight.

  3. Andrew Griffith

    Been through this – twice, once for an auto stem cell transplant, once for an allo, and most recently some additional treatment to give me and my family more time.
    One of the hardest things, and particularly at your young age (I am 55), is getting through the Kubler-Ross stages, and not remaining in the denial and anger stages. I never made it to complete acceptance, every now and then some anger emerges (why me?) and my various publishing projects (Living with Cancer: A Journey, and most recently, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism) are likely expressions of denial, but gave me focus.
    Good luck on your journey.

  4. Doug Geiger

    Please share and I will love. I will deeply, quietly listen from the silence of an open heart. I will care, not try to understand, but will hear and feel, joining with your truth in every moment. Then I will listen and open more! I trust you and love you. Yes, I trust you and love you.

  5. Ian

    I have been fighting Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma for 8 years and the best advice that I can offer to fellow sufferers is to maintain a positive attitude and do all possible to help your body in its battle with the disease. I was lucky in that I live in BC and was introduced to the physicians and other therapists at who have complemented my traditional treatment by guiding me in adopting a healthier lifestyle, including the consumption of various super foods and supplements that have boosted my immune system and energy level.

    Nikhil I wish you well in your battle and applaud you for sharing.

  6. Mike Murphy (Curtis, Jennifer and Katelyn's Dad)

    Hi Nikhil,
    We don’t know each other but you went to school with my daughters and your older brother and my son Curtis were pals. I can’t say that I know what your dealing with but I wish you and yours the best and hope you fight your way through this ordeal and have a long and pleasant life. This Cancer shit scares the hell out of all of us but I’m sure we’re beating it slowly. Hang in there Bro and give the battle all you’ve got.

  7. Carson

    It too was a hard read for me . I will be 51 next week and about 18 months ago I too found a lump. I was going to just let it go too but I have a beautiful loving wife, two great boys and some others who I care about deeply. My thoughts were about them, I just didn`t want them to have to suffer anymore than me if I kept putting it off. After waking up from the biopsy I threw up. It was gross and my throat was so sore. Right from the get go, the doctors kept saying chances are it is some form of cancer. My wife, who is the rock in my house, and I just said whatever it is, it is. We will handle it together. The hardest part was telling my mom . Never should a parent have to see their child sick and mom who has been a single mom for 40 years was upset and kept saying she wish we could trade places. As for my two boys, I kept it from the youngest but that was wrong so we decided to tell. Both faced it really well.My doctor was in the city, what a great doctor and more important a great man. He just sat us down and told us chances are it is cancer. I now call it the big C. A few tests and the results just confiemed what they thought it was. He said it just grumbles along and it may be back. When it does come knocking again, we will face it the same way we faced it this time.HEAD ON Now it had a name,Non-hodgkins lymphoma. I always said if evrybody says it smells like shit, chances are it is shit. So the first chemo in St Johns. The ladies there were amazing. I finished the chemo at Sir Thoma Roddick hospital and the ladies there have also been great. To finish this off I now am about to receive my last post-chemo treatment. December 20 will be the big day. I will be one happy camper when that needle, more like a straw, comes out of the back of my hand. To all those going through it, I feel for you. And to all those supproting someone that is going through it, keep it up. That is so important. I never turned to the church, never got mad, I just faced it with the help of Jack (Jackie), my two boys, my fantastic brother and two sisters as well as mom. Dad and my freinds wre also really supprtive. The whole bunch of them made my life better. To anyone that needs to speak to someone who has been through it, I am not hard to fine. No one really knows what it is like until they have went through it . I forgot to mention I also had two great ladeis who were also battling the big C and we use to go out to luinch every three weeks. That was so helpful. To anyone who reads this, and especially you Dr. Joshi, all the best . Don`t shy away, live each and evry day as best you can. Forgive me for rambling on but beleive it or not, this was the first time, I wrote about my experience and it made me feel good

  8. Tracy (O'Keefe) Follett

    Hey Nik,
    It’s been a few years since we’ve seen one another, and then this morning, I heard your story on CBC radio. Wishing you strength and perseverance (which I know you to have in spades). You were a stubborn student when it came to practising saxophone and I recall your sense of humour to be honest and maturely self-reflective (if a little self-effacing). I’m sure you’ll tackle your illness with the same gumption and much needed honesty and humour that is required. Take care.

  9. Janet Gaudet

    Thank you for writing so honestly and openly about your cancer. My husband was diagnosed in 2005 with inoperable lung cancer with regional spread. The day we got the diagnosis from the respirologist, it was overwhelming and I went completely numb, and felt as if someone had grabbed me by the ankles & stood me on my head. My husband had 37 radiation and 4 chemo treatments in cancer centre in Charlottetown and is still in remission. When Dr. Ethan Laukkanen, his radiation oncologist, showed us the x-rays it was overwhelming, they looked so bad. As his caregiver I was dealing with the diagnosis, being with him for all his medical visits and treatments, and being faced with the loss of the best friend I’ve ever had in my life. We were married in 1991. His courage, determination, and faith were what got me through those difficult times. My husband is amazing, he really is. Since then he’s been through heart surgery, ruptured appendix, and at age 73 he’s still doing electrical service calls. He’s a real fighter, never gives up, and I’m so darn proud of him. He’s one of 7 siblings to be diagnosed with cancer. Three have died, and four are in remission. Another sibling is presently going through testing. I worked in health care many years in hospital, nursing home, home care & support, volunteered for Island Hospice, and I have never seen a family with such an overwhelming history of cancer. It appears to be a genetic factor in his family.

    I wish you the very best of luck in your journey with cancer and my very best wishes also go to your father as I can understand how difficult this must be for him. As bad as it was when my husband was diagnosed, I think it would be far worse if it were a child. God Bless you and I will certainly keep you in my blessings. A positive attitude is an important part of the cancer journey, both on the part of the patient and the caregiver. I shed a lot of tears but never in front of my husband.

    One important point I’d like to make, any health care worker – nurse, doctor, technician – who lacks compassion should not be involved with cancer patients and their caregivers. We had a very negative experience with a medical oncologist and had to ask for a change of oncologist. Fortunately we were changed to a wonderful oncologist. These people are truly God’s guardian angels on earth.

  10. Janet Gaudet

    If you read my comment, you will see that my husband is still in remission after having treatments in 2005. He’s 73, an electrical contractor, and still doing service calls on a light basis, nothing too heavy. You’ve got so much to live for and you have a good attitude, very positive, which is so important. Best of luck to you. Support of family & friends is so important and it sounds like you’ve got lots of good support.

    Sincerely, Janet

  11. MTL

    N, this is a remarkably courageous thing you are doing. I’m going to graduate from medical school in a few months, and my girlfriend was also recently diagnosed with melanoma a few months ago. As you know, the entire experience is surreal when it happens. I’m sure everyone has that “How the hell is this happening to me?” moment. The way that you are tackling it is truly inspiring. Keep pushing one day at a time, enjoy the subtle gifts that life has to offer, and you will soon enough look back on this difficult yet powerful period of your life.

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