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.

A Note on Women

A Note on Women

A Note on Women



Since having cancer my life has changed dramatically, and I’m sure I have as well. But with any set of circumstances there is an opportunity for observation and learning. And what I have learnt since having cancer is that I absolutely adore women.


Now to be fair, I’ve always liked women. I was never one of those men who despised women, and found the company of such men to be either alarming or disgusting. But neither was I some soppy yes-man. I think I tried the nice guy thing as a method of picking up women for about 2 years- and after that was a terrible failure I learnt from it and adjusted my interactions accordingly. Now I look at those guys and shake my head and smile. If only I could help them. I don’t want to give you the idea that I’m some sort of Casanova either. I can’t have unemotional sex. To paraphrase the show Entourage and Johnny Drama “I can barely jerk off without weeping”. So as a rule I tried to never sleep around- because the consequences of it were worse for me than the momentary release. I’ve always been partial to Love. You don’t need to tell me that’s lame- my friends tell me all the time!


My newfound appreciation for women started when I was diagnosed and ‘came out’ with letting the world know. I think it all started with my mother- she’s the person I see the most on a daily basis and Mom is fucking awesome. Every morning we have breakfast and stare out the window of the kitchen and discuss life and the world. Nothing is off-limits in our conversation or our actions. I’ve watched her grow through me having cancer, and seen her suffer. And it’s awful and I would have done anything to spare her that- but now that this is here I’m glad she handles it like a champ. My mother is a strong woman and her example has led me to disdain weakness- both in myself and in others. She is sometimes surprisingly plain spoken for such a caring, warm woman. I’ll always remember fondly lying on the couch eating ice cream on a day post chemo and Mom looking at me, smiling and telling me to get the “f off the couch and go for a walk”. She’s horrified at this profanity laden blog (f bombs should rarely be used in her opinion) – but knows I don’t particularly give a fuck and won’t change. She researches my condition diligently, and silently. And when I need it the most, she comes through. A batch of sweets find their way to my plate post chemotherapy. The nausea subsides. My suffering ends for a moment. The way I’ve lived my life has forced her to give up so many of the ideals she held. I’m not sure I want children- as far as I’m concerned we all seem like such terrible assholes. Sure when we’re young it’s all I love you and here’s a macaroni plate. Then as we get older we love and suffer and fail and those things are transmitted to our parents and they suffer through us. God if I had a kid like me who did to me what I’ve done to mom and dad- I think I’d die. I need a Tums just fucking thinking about it.


There are so many people in my life like mothers. I’ve had my family and older friends want to shelter me like a mother would even though I’m not their child. I eat their delicious food they drop off to the house almost daily. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve it- and maybe that’s the limitations of being a man. You think you have to earn people’s compassion- not realizing that to give compassion is in itself a gift. I’m so thankful for all the people in my life who mother me.


I’ve learnt to stop feeling awkward about other people caring about me- it’s a wonderful part of my illness, to have so many people care. Most guys probably find it awkward since it evokes emotion- but I’m not particularly handicapped by that- cry, laugh, love- I try to do it all freely. Call that unmanly or more crudely “being a bitch” as one of the boys will tell me after this article is posted- but I don’t give a fuck. I think denying the pain you feel is unmanly. I think taking your shit and insecurities out on others is unmanly. I think infidelity is unmanly. That’s what being a bitch means to me. And to quote a popular meme “You gon act like a bitch you gon die like a bitch”.


Growing up with just me and Anand, people would often ask if I missed having sisters. I never did. I’ve had a close group of cousins and they’re all sisters to me. It’s been funny to have them check on me- they don’t want to let me know they’re worried. They’re bright on the phone like one of my friends would be, but I hear it in their voice. They’re scared for me- but they don’t let that fear get in the way of being funny, caring and compassionate and that’s what I love about them. Similarly since high school we’ve shared a close group of friends and I had a group like this in Calgary too.  These girls are like sisters to me and also check on me almost daily. They understand that I don’t want to talk about cancer all the fucking time, and think of creative things we can do together that won’t lead me to getting coughed on. They are patient with me even when I ignore their calls and texts but never give up on me. That’s a special thing about women I’ve noticed lately- as individuals they are willing to look at a persons’ actions in the context of what they’re going through. They just don’t think- he’s an asshole for not calling me back- they think instead “I wonder what he’s going through”. And sometimes I’m going through some shit, and sometimes I’m just playing videogames and being a selfish asshole. Hey- no one’s perfect. But the ease of their forgiveness towards a brother is a special thing. And sure I probably abuse it from time to time, but they know if they ever hit a guy with a car I’d come by with a shovel and some falafels and we’d make an evening out of it. It all comes out in the wash.


The last realization I’ve had about women has to do with romantic love- and that’s a discussion for another day.


Hey, thanks for reading this- and you look great. Have you lost weight?


Lots of love



6 Responses to “A Note on Women”

  1. Jackson

    “if they ever hit a guy with a car I’d come by with a shovel and some falafels and we’d make an evening out of it”.

    You’re hilarious. Another great post. Keep ’em coming!


  2. Smita

    Once again.. I am moved and speechless!

  3. Adrianne

    I love and adore you too! Xoxoxo

  4. Joe ONeill

    We Heard you on CBC with Anthony Germaine this morning. Great job telling it like it is minus the profanity (lol) We can certainly appreciate what you and your family are going through right now, and if you ever feel the need for a chat or a coffee we are just down the street.

  5. Michelle

    Just started reading your blog. What a breath of fresh air! I feel for your mother, I am one, and have two sons as well – her pain must be mind-blowing. But I feel for you so much too, like you were my own son…. and I also curse… quite a bit, I think we would get along famously!

    To those who criticize me for my language and say it makes me ‘unladylike’ or a poor role model for my sons – fuck you! I love your language, I love your openness, and I can feel (at least a little) your emotions – which I think is what you want, to share this experience in “real-time”.

    I have lost freinds and family to this fucking curse called cancer and while watching helplessly as they sufferend I often wondered what was going through their minds. Morbid curiousity, an a genuine wish to be able to do something, ANYTHING to help…

    Your blog has helped so many people. I loath that this disease has struck someone like you – dedicated to saving lives, someone who is REAL – who talks REAL, who is so full of life, but you know, had it not been for cancer, I would not be reading your blog. I still fucking hate it and hope and pray to St. Peregrine (google him – fucking fascinating) to everything God-related that you beat it, and that you don’t have to ever suffer again.

    But I am so grateful to have finally found someone willing to talk openly and honestly… and a DOCTOR no less?! Fuck me! You are AWESOME!

  6. Jennifer

    I saw one of your posts on CBC news this morning, and somehow found myself here. I think I love your mother too. She sounds awesome! I am a mom too. I can feel her pain but also her hope. I think hope is why we have children. Hope for a better world – isn’t that what our children should be giving us?

    When you get better – consider revisiting what you want in life. After all this is over – you have a gift to give. You’re giving part of it now with your books and blog, but a big part of life is how you raise your children. I think you’d be a worthy father, and your children will be very fortunate to come from such a loving and supportive family. You’ve got lots of time to think about it 🙂

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