My fight with cancer strengthened my belief in humanity, in relations beyond blood

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Friday, April 13, 2018
my fight with cancer strengthened my belief in humanity, in relations beyond blood
Garima and her son

I was generally feeling weak those days. I thought it could be because I was multitasking. Apart from that mild, persistent fatigue, my life was all settled-- a loving husband, a cute little son, supporting parents, a stable job.

When the fatigue turned into a fever, I finally decided to meet a doctor, who prescribed some basic blood tests. Still, we were sure that it could be that regular dengue, malaria or viral.
It was around Diwali, I remember, and I was too busy in the festivities and delayed collecting my reports. 

The first sign of 'something is wrong' came with my blood reports. All the parameters were haywire. A few further tests were enough for my doctor to deliver the most dreaded diagnosis -- I had blood cancer and a rare kind at that.

The 'C ' word can shake one to the core. My first question to my doctor was:  'What are my chances of survival?',  and she told me that if I didn't get bone marrow match, I hardly had a few months.  

I cannot die,' I told myself.

My doctor advised me to get admitted to the hospital. She wanted to initiate chemotherapy. I needed eight cycles of chemotherapy followed by radiation therapy. And by that time we had to arrange a bone marrow donor.

I have always been a very social person, it was a moment like this that tests your faith in humanity.

In the 21st century when people live such materialistic lives and machines have taken over most of the manual work, there are things which are still in the hands of humans--and you need a supreme power to mobilize the goodness in them.

When we could not find a match within the family, we looked for voluntary donors outside through a bone marrow registry. We found nine matches across the country, but when we contacted them, all except two refused to donate.

In the meanwhile, my chemotherapy was on. I had to shave off my hair. I was dealing with the side-effects of the medicines. Chemotherapy is not an easy treatment, but  I think I was so occupied preparing for the next treatment, I didn't suffer much during chemotherapy.  

Guru Moorthy, a young engineer from Coimbatore readily agreed to donate his bone marrow to save my life. Post transplant, I had to be in the hospital for another one month under observation.

Only one person could stay with me during this time, so, my husband moved into the hospital. It was a real tough phase of the treatment. My body reacted very badly to the transplant. The medicines were so strong that I had ulcers in my gastrointestinal tract.

When your present is troublesome, you need to talk about a beautiful future. That's what kept me going. I dealt with the present, thinking about my future. It is contrary to the popular belief of 'living in present'

I could not swallow anything, not even drink water. I used to feel hungry but the thought of chewing or swallowing something would send shivers down my spine. It was so painful that I was breaking down.   

But that was not an option. I had a son, who was desperately waiting for me to come back home. I could not give up.

I realised that I needed to infuse a lot of positivity in my attitude towards the dreaded disease to be able to sustain ourselves through the treatment.  

We changed our conversations-- made them futuristic. We made a list of things I would pursue once I would recover. I started meditation, reading books. We watched a lot of movies.

You know, when your present is troublesome, you need to talk about a beautiful future. That's what kept me going. I dealt with the present, thinking about my future. It is contrary to the popular belief of 'living in present'.  

Eventually, it all worked. Finally, I came back home, to my son, to the family. I will not die of cancer, thanks to extraordinary compassion and kindness of a total stranger.  

On the health front, there are issues, and I know they will persist. But I have learnt to deal with them on a daily basis. I now know that I should not leave things for the future, I should pursue what I like every moment, the way I breathe.

My disease has changed me--for good. It has taught me to live the precious life to the fullest. It has brought me even closer to my loved ones, who stayed united in my battle with cancer. It strengthened my belief in humanity, in relations beyond blood.     

Comment

Amazing story, inspiring journey...I am husband & caregiver of a very brave lady who is fighting with Stage 4 lung & brain cancer for last 5 years and father of small kid, we could corelate with this pain & hope....Garima ji, wishing a very long, healthy & loving life... Keep smiling & lot of love to your champ :-)

Vivek Tomar    2018/04/23 02:34:21

Inspire to fight against a deadly disease and never to lose hope for better time.

Yogesh Gupta    2018/04/13 09:43:12

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