Global Voices Against Cancer
In July 1997, my husband and I were on a holiday with our newly married son and daughter-in-law. One night, I felt a slight pin prick in my left breast. I got up and examined myself in the mirror and felt a hard lump. The warning bells started ringing. Thanks to reading so much about cancer, I had the gut feeling that this was IT. I broke the news to my family in the morning after tossing and turning the whole night. All hell broke loose but an immediate appointment with the gynaecologist set the ball rolling. It was a Thursday and by Saturday, all tests were complete and the diagnosis confirmed. The surgeon assured me that quick action had helped him make the decision to do breast preservation, a technique newly introduced in Indian oncology and followed by very few surgeons. I somehow was not afraid as I had full faith in my doctor and also someone up above who was there to look after me. All I thought about was my husband; how would he cope if something happened to me. After all, we were at that threshold of our life where the children had flown off to their own nests. But then, I have always believed in doing your best and leaving the rest to faith. I often sang the song and believed in it..."Que sera sera, whatever will be will be". The children had scheduled a picnic for Sunday and we decided to carry on with our plans. After all, life's little joys are the bricks that lay the foundation for happiness.
The surgery was performed that Wednesday, a 3 centimeter tumor, along with 17 nodes, was removed. The next day, light arm exercises were introduced and on Saturday, I was sent home. I was given no chemotherapy but a course of radiation was prescribed. I had no side-effects and life continued normally. During radiation, I was introduced to a cancer support group, which I joined with a marked feeling of Scepticism. But with the progression of time, I started liking what I was doing. A diagnoses of cancer brings in its wake a feeling of such helplessness and dejection; as if all roads to the future are closed forever. But when a survivor stands before you, a new vista of hope opens, saying where she/he is, perhaps I can also be. It is this positive feeling which is half the battle won and the doctors in different cancer hospitals vouch for volunteers seeking help from them to tackle the negative feelings of the patients and their families.
The irony of fate was that my husband, for whom I had worried so much when I was diagnosed with cancer, sucumbed to pancreatic cancer in the winter of 2007. From a survivor, I became a caregiver with the sole purpose of doing the best for him. In truth, his illness was more of a shock to me than mine. The doctors gave him just four months and all those months were spent keeping him as happy and as comfortable as he could be. There were good days and bad days. On the good days, I would encourage him to do what he liked and took him to the park to sit in the sun for as long as he could, so that he got the feeling that things were all right. My experience with cancer stood me in good stead and to this day I feel blessed that the end came when it did for not for a day was he confined fully to bed. I was bereft but then my work in the hospitals drew me back in the mainstream. It gives one lot of satisfaction to wipe a tear and bring back a smile, a flicker of hope and I pray to God to give me enough strength to work with people who need me. It is a two-way process, where they give me much more than I give them, for they bring a warmth to the heart which dispels the negativity in me, God bless them.blog comments powered by Disqus