Season of losses and gains
Yuvraj talks of his life-changing battle against cancer, the moments of denial and his inspiration. N Ananthanarayanan reports. The Survivors | In pics: Yuvraj speaksgurgaon Updated: Apr 12, 2012 02:33 IST
The driver of the white Audi car ahead was taking extreme care negotiating the muddy stretch full of pot-holes filled with rain water to reach the school off the Gurgaon-Faridabad highway.
It soon became clear why, as the main occupant of the vehicle was still some way from regaining full strength after cancer treatment.
Wearing a black t-shirt with the slogan "love12", Yuvraj Singh smiled broadly as he got out at the Pathway World School, where he runs his cricket academy. After he was warmly greeted by the school authorities and the schoolchildren, he got down to address his first media conference since his world collapsed around him after being diagnosed with a rare form of germ-cell cancer on his lung.
Staying happy and positive was Yuvraj's theme throughout the hour-long interaction. He said his life perspective has changed having overcome doubts and fears during treatment in Indianapolis.No early comeback
Yuvraj was clear he would not rush back to playing. For the moment, exercise would be limited to a casual game of table tennis at his Gurgaon home.
"At the moment there is a lot of happiness that I can be like any normal person, without the stress of thinking what is happening with my body."
His physician, Dr Nitesh Rohatgi, senior medical oncologist, Max Hospital, said the treatment has been successful and Yuvraj had responded well. He said the cure rate was 95 percent which meant there was only five percent chance of relapse, and that was more likely to happen in the first year.
If there was no relapse for five years, one can say the cancer had gone completely.
Yuvraj was frustrated he could not play, he added:
"Definitely my thoughts have changed. You are very popular because of the game, you can get everything in life. But family and friends are the most important; money is important but it's important you stay happy and healthy."
The uncertainties as a player, the pressure, proving everyone wrong, it doesn't matter now. I am content. I will play with less pressure now."
He added: "After a few weeks, I will start exercises. Things will improve, but I can't put any time on that. Health will be my priority rather than thinking that my fans want me back. When I return, I want to be fully fit."
"Although I was coughing, and at times spitting blood during the World Cup, I didn’t tell anyone. But I felt there was something seriously wrong," he said. But Lance Armstrong's successful fight against testicular cancer before going on to win the Tour de France seven times has been a huge inspiration. Yuvraj, who read Armstrong's autobiography, "It's not about the bike", said: "His achievements are far greater than mine."
Like his real life hero, Yuvraj may also set up a cancer foundation in the future. He is already writing down his experiences dealing with the illness.