Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Surviving Cancer For More Than 20 Years... Touch Wood.

It has been more than 20  years since I underwent mastectomy to fight cancer. I still feel the chills in my bone when I think back on those terrible times. As I realized that I have III stage cancer, which meant I could die leaving behind my two kids, my daughter who was just 11 months and son who was just 4 years, I felt the ground slipping away from beneath my feet. 

This was one of those times when  life brings you problems big enough that you may find yourself in a canyon deeper than Grand Canyon with steep walls.You may feel like losing all control and tumbling down the stairs. It may be enough to make one lose hope of ever getting out of this messy situation. But then, life itself teaches you to be strong and persist in efforts, until you claw yourself out of the deeps; and then it gives you confidence that ‘nothing is impossible’. 

All through my life I consider the year 1996 to be the worst I have faced ever in my life. Ahh! There are situations and times, that for a moment make me feel, there are far more worse moments in my life; but when I sit down and serenely think upon the events, I am sure that this is the worst and toughest part of life. 

I had to deal with my daughter’s special needs condition, in addition doctors came up with all kinds of diagnosis making me more nervous and unsure what future had in store for us. Then I had to deal with my diagnosis of breast cancer, III stage while my daughter was just 11 months old. The worst thing that ever happened to me was to follow soon.  I lost my loving (not only by me but by everyone who knew her) sister to cancer. My son was a nervous wreck after losing his loving aunt, and watching his Mom suffer side effects of chemotherapy. He must have felt the fear of losing his mom too. My family was torn to shreds and I don’t know whether it has ever been repaired again.. SIGH!

 I wished to give up EVERYTHING, the struggle, the fight and the will to survive. All I wanted to do was rest and allow the tide of life to carry me wherever it intended to. May be it would have happened if not for my kids. Kids are great motivators, or at least I feel mine have been to me. My sole purpose to live and struggle was the thought of two orphaned kids with no Mommy to love and care for them. This was a strong booster.. it picked up my drooping spirit with a gusto that a so and so called drug has claimed to do for a so and so droopy thing. Another motivation came from my aged parents who had just lost their loving daughter to cancer. I could not put them through the trauma of losing another daughter to the beast. Anyway I started clawing the walls of the canyon, came out of the deeps and climbed few hills with the momentum I had. Somehow I feel I have kind of turned into kind of unstoppable person now. I am not satisfied with just being where I am… I want to fly high and touch the skies.

When I think back on the days of being diagnosed with cancer, the day I went for my surgery and looked at my breast in the bathroom mirror of the hospital for the last time, the day I lost my original form never to be the same again, the drama plays in front of my eyes quite vividly. God had made some mistakes earlier too, giving me a club foot but this was another kind of deformity of my torso I had to live with now. 

I felt bitter back then and the bitterness grew when I brushed my hair and they came out in bunches and filled my lap. I went totally bald with the chemotherapy. It was tough to go through cancer and tougher to go through chemotherapy but then it must have been easier than to be orphaned at the age of 11 months or 4 years and grow up knowing you lost your Mom to cancer. I came out of self pity. The concerned look on the face of my son is what woke me and told me to pick up the bits and make a good looking collage out of it. I went ahead and did it… and now I have a beautiful collage of life to live ;).

One thing problems could never take away from me was my sense of humor. It has lasted the tough ride along with me. It has gone through quite the drub but always comes out in triumph to put smiles on lips. Once I was out of blues, I started to feel that I should have taken a picture of myself before going for the surgery; I should have preserved the memories of my bald head through photos or done something crazy just to lift off the pressure. Back then the concern for my children and the fear of not being there for them had pushed my sense of humour into background … but then it made it come back one fine day and I felt cancer has not changed me much. It had not made me bitter for long… I was feeling better than before.
I have learned my lessons of life… and the lessons help me live life with lots and lots of hope. The hope to live, laugh, and let others live happily around me. 
Today I stand here 20 years later watching my children become adults, realize my dream of being counselor and psychologist, training people to lead better life and living life to the fullest with gusto. 


Rayyan Lost in Laptop

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