Earlier this year in March, Indian actor Irrfan Khan revealed that he had been diagnosed with cancer, that is, a Neuroendocrine Tumour (NET) which is one of the more uncommon types of cancer.
There are subtypes to the NET, and Irrfan Khan found he had high-grade neuroendocrine cancer; a high-grade NET has the daunting characteristics of being malignant and metastatic, meaning it can spread to other parts of the body. This made the discovery even more difficult to come to terms with, seeing as it is not only a critical disease but also one, according to Irrfan Khan, that has more ‘unpredictability’ due to its relative rarity.
The note that he has written regarding this difficult time in his life is startlingly raw and heartfelt; the months directly following his diagnosis did not see many updates from his side for the public, but his recent revelations have surely breached the gap.
The actor places a significant emphasis on the concept of life and death as a ‘game’, explaining how before the diagnosis he was cruising through life on his own terms:
I had been in a different game, I was traveling on a speedy train ride, had dreams, plans, aspirations, goals, was fully engaged in them.
He then goes on to draw a parallel by bringing up the famed Lord’s Cricket Ground in London that he calls ‘the Mecca of my childhood dream’:
“As I was entering the hospital, drained, exhausted, listless, I hardly realized my hospital was on the opposite side of Lord’s, the stadium… Amidst the pain, I saw a poster of a smiling Vivian Richards. Nothing happened, as if that world didn’t ever belong to me.”
The picture he paints brings forth a feeling of melancholic disillusionment; these are things most of us would hesitate to voice, seeing as they reveal a raw and personal side we tend to keep hidden for fear of appearing vulnerable: “Between the game of life and the game of death, there is just a road. On one side, a hospital, on the other, a stadium. As if one isn’t part of anything which might claim certainty – neither the hospital nor the stadium.”
But it seems that bravely admitting that the “only thing certain was the uncertainty” has set Irrfan Khan free and feeling hopeful for his recovery: “All I could do was realize my strength and play my game better. This realization made me submit, surrender, and trust, irrespective of the outcome…”
“For the first time, I felt what ‘freedom’ truly means,” he admits conclusively, describing a kind of magical quality to the realization that reiterates how impactful his entire journey has been for him. https://travelwithgirls.com
“The unexpected makes us grow,” he had said a few months earlier following his diagnosis. His words do certainly have an undertone of enlightenment. Furthermore, describing his experience with the kind of transparency that he did gives us a new lease on life; we all have our battles, but it is how we choose to view them that makes all the difference.