Friday, March 26, 2021

#25SilverLinings - Problems, Solutions and Dilemma

After finding out what the biopsy reports said, I walked in and quietly went to take care of Farheena after coming back home. My sisters were both busy with the dressing my elder sister required for the wound the cancer had opened up on her chest. My brother was out. Mom and dad were taking care of the canteen and would come back home very late at night. It was by then that I had to be ready. There were questions I had to find answers to.

  • Who should I share this information with and who I shouldn’t share it with?
  • What will be my husband’s response to the news? He already seemed very upset when I went for my biopsy.
  • What about my parents who were already struggling to cope with my sister’s diagnosis of breast cancer and its progression?
  • Who will take care of Farheena and Rayyan when I go through my treatment?
  • How will I manage my finances?
  • What is the next immediate step?
I usually like to keep my life open, in front of everyone, because I know eventually the truth will be out. Cancer was not easy to hide because I had to go for treatment. Finally I decided to tell it out in open to my family and also call my husband and inform him of the diagnosis. He had left for Dubai when I was pregnant with Farheena. Farheena was 11 months and he hadn’t met her yet. He was already struggling to cope with her diagnosis and also his mom’s death which took place a few months earlier. Life was not easy for him either. Unfortunately everyone was having issues at the time and I could not turn to one person for support.
Everybody had to be onboard other than my children for the time being. Rayyan was just four and I needed a strategy to explain things to him. Farheena was just 11 months and would have no clue. Trying to hide things among people would lead to confusion and more fear which is born out of confusion and fear of the unknown. Anticipating the reaction was hard. I got different scenarios playing out in my mind.
Finally we got together when my children were asleep and I revealed to my parents and younger sister about my diagnosis. My elder sister was asleep as well and I decided to keep her out for time being. My brother already knew. The expected chaos did not take place. They were all very silent. Finally dad said, “there must be a mistake in that report. Since your family history has cancer, they have just assumed it is cancer”. Mom followed by saying, “How can God do this to us? You have two small kids. This cannot be happening”. They all went into denial. I couldn’t get there. For me, cancer was real but I did not think of it to be invincible. I was planning on slaying it rather than denying its existence.
I told them I will have a second opinion and check it out. They assured themselves that I will get to know the truth that it is not cancer and they pacified themselves. Hope can be a boon or a curse!
The next day I visited the hospital again to see the options I had. The BCH&RC had two oncologists residing in its premises because their spouses were working in the children’s hospital. One of them was doctor Murad Lala who I consulted for my options. I was familiar with him though we did not have much interaction earlier. He was a young and pleasant person with a great smile to greet people.
As he sat there reading my reports, I asked, “Sir, what should I do to survive this?”.
He looked quite happy with that question and paused with his reading. He looked at me with a smile and said, “I think you already have done it. You have shifted your focus from cancer to life. The will to live and thought that you can survive this is very crucial in overcoming your condition”.
He went on to say that usually people ask,
What will happen to us?
How long do we have?
Do I have to die?
etc but this was the first time he heard someone so determined and asking what to do to survive this.
We discussed a few more things about cancer and its treatment. I realized that operating on the breast was necessary followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. By now, I was familiar with it since dad had gone through the treatment. The doctor told me that he was working in Kidwai. I could get operated there.
I visited the hospital the same day and also another oncology specialized center considering where to undergo surgery. Kidwai Hospital was huge and confusing. There were patients everywhere and most of them did not seem to be doing well. I knew my children would want to visit me and also my parents when I would be undergoing treatment. This hospital would scare the shit out of them….
I discussed it with my daughter’s pediatrician. BCH was a new hospital and there was no rush there. The OT was free and it had enough facilities to conduct the surgery, but the staff were not trained to handle oncology cases. I had my trust in the doctor. He had openly mentioned that his field of expertise was head and neck cancer and also that I would be the first patient he is operating on independently.He also assured me that he would do his best. I decided the children’s hospital was the best option for me because we visited it regularly for Farheena’s therapy and check-ups. So nothing would be new or scary.
I fixed my surgery date to be on 28th of April and informed my husband about it. He had been in gulf for nearly 18 months. He said he will be coming back on 25th April and will be here for my surgery. My parents were not ready for this huge news of me going for the surgery, but they finally agreed. Somehow my elder sister got the news and was devastated. She was worried for my children as much as she was for me. I feel guilty that I caused her pain in the last few days of her life.
Once things were out in the open, days started moving fast. In all the chaos surrounding us, we completely forgot our little silent sufferer, Rayyan. He was confused and scared knowing that something was wrong but at the same not understanding what was happening around him, with his aunt and his mom. I decided to talk to his pediatrician, take her advice before talking to him. The biggest challenge was in front of me and I was scared to deal with this, but I had to. I geared myself up for this with a very heavy heart.

1 comment:

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