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Jyotish Dhebar: strength in openness

Jyotish-Dhebar.jpgJyotish Dhebar isn’t afraid to talk about his own health. Faced with his own impending death from advanced stage prostate cancer, Jyotish has taken every opportunity to fearlessly open up about his journey, the effect it has had on those close to him, and the importance of support networks.

Jyotish’s prostate cancer journey began on a vacation to the United States when he started having to use the washroom far more frequently than normal. Upon his return, he had a PSA test that revealed extremely high PSA levels. With his kidneys faltering, a “pretty big tumor” was discovered and he was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer.

As Jyotish described it, his diagnosis turned his life “180 degrees”. He started treatment virtually the moment he was diagnosed. He was put on hormone suppression therapy and met with a radiation oncologist. His family was in a state of shock, especially his beloved wife. The burden of the caregiver became clear to him, and was much graver than he could have ever anticipated. Rather than bottling his feelings up and acting strong on the outside, Jyotish decided that the best way to find genuine strength would be opening up about how he actually felt.

In search of a judgement-free forum in which to express himself, Jyotish decided to contact a support group. To his pleasant surprise, his call was returned within an hour and he was invited to a meeting that very night with about 25 other men living in like circumstances. Almost instantly, Jyotish discovered the empowering effect of joining a kindred network for sharing and mutual support. In this comforting and open environment, his confidence was restored knowing he wasn’t walking this road alone. Not only was talking about one’s own feelings accepted in this community, it was actively encouraged. What it meant to be a ‘strong’ wasn’t ignoring one’s feelings, but rather having the courage to openly express them.

About four years since his diagnosis, Jyotish has been an active spokesperson for the prostate cancer movement and a mentor for fellow survivors. He is a longstanding and highly active member of the Prostate Cancer Canada Network (PCCN) in Oakville/Mississauga. His pay-it-forward attitude means he takes every opportunity he gets to share his story, as it was through hearing others share their stories that really helped him cope with things in the beginning.  Rather than closing up and feeling that his life is being taken from him, Jyotish Dhebar knows he has been given the opportunity to open up and encourage others to follow suit. In his words, “Once you accept it, it gives you more strength and ability to cope with it.”

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Posted: 2015-03-30 4:36:32 PM


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