Thursday, May 6, 2021

#25SilverLinings - Believing a Lie and Living It

The accusation had driven me angry. Time and tide wait for none… I had calmed myself  down. I am usually very good physically and emotionally when I am angry. It heals me. I know many will not agree with me, but when I am angry I do all the right things. 

Slowly I calmed down and settled to wait for the date of surgery. It was just 20 days, but the days were just crawling slowly at a sloth’s pace. Meanwhile, my sister was an emotional wreck and afraid of what would happen after my surgery. Even though her condition was more serious, she constantly worried about me. Hospice had stepped in and started Morphine for her. When breast cancer is left alone, it can really turn into a scary thing as it progresses. My sister had the courage to deal with it. She dressed the open wound everyday and it was much later that I convinced her to take something for her pain. Until then, she tolerated the pain with OTC painkillers. But as we all know, it is not the physical pain which can destroy you, but the emotional pain. Physical pain has its limit, beyond which you either faint or go numb, but the emotional pain will just destroy you because you are defenseless against it. This is what I saw in my sister who went on deteriorating faster after she got to know about my diagnosis. 

I was trying hard either to assure her that I will be OK or avoid her. We just couldn’t be together without the topic of my cancer cropping up its ugly head and making her emotional. Moreover she doubted my choices. 

The other cranky person I had to deal with was Farheena. I had suddenly weaned her off breast milk and she was not happy with it. Rayyan was playing, singing and trying to calm her down as I tried bottle feeding her. She would push the nipple out and demand for breast milk crying loudly at times. She was a peaceful baby who did not cry much, and seeing her like this was very frustrating. Those times I felt life/God or  something out there was very unfair. 

Due to milk collection, the tenderness in my breast became quite painful, especially on the side where the biopsy had been done. Pus had collected around the stitches and the doctor recommended I get the stitches removed. I was not eager. I felt that since the breast was going to be removed, what is the big deal with the stitches on it? The surgeon who did the biopsy did not want to hear those arguments. He was also a bit upset that I chose another doctor for surgery. He was a general surgeon, but I was damn sure that I wanted a onco surgeon only to operate on me. He said, “I did the biopsy and put those stitches in. I will remove it and finish what I started. You can do whatever you want after that”.  Six ouches later, the threads were out. The breast was looking very nasty and had developed different hues. 

There were times when I would feel a shiver running through my spine. I would feel scared as though I was facing a real monster. But I had to work hard to keep my fears locked within me since my family who were not expressive earlier, had started responding to the news now emotionally. All that I thought was bravery was nothing but numbness that hit them due to the shock of the news. The emotional condition of everyone around me was similar to the orchestra which was moving toward the crescendo. 

The biggest challenge here was to convince everyone around me that I had made the right decision to proceed with my surgery and removal of my breast which would be followed by chemotherapy and radiation.  There were a lot of issues they were worried about and the biggest one was me being OK and alive after the huge surgery. All my energy was being spent convincing my family that I was doing the right thing. They did everything because they loved me and more than me they loved my children. I had no heart to be rude to them or ignore them. I was myself worried and scared. I needed someone to pacify me and tell me everything's going to be alright, but here I was convincing others that I am going to be alright. 

Every negative thing has a positive side to it. Trying to defend my decision and convincing my sister and my family, I ended up convincing myself as well. I am not sure whether it can be called ‘believing your own lie’ because I was not exactly lying but I was not telling the truth either because I was not in control of the future. It is known that  a lie can embed itself in memory and come to feel as real as the truth and that is what happened to me when I was convincing everyone about the successful outcome of my treatment. I became more and more confident with each passing day. 

A week before my surgery I met my doctor to discuss and finalize a few things. He asked me to donate my blood so that it can be used during the surgery. I was a bit skeptical about this, but he explained how my own blood was the  safest blood to transfuse because it eliminated  disease transmission and allergic reactions which could be dangerous. He also explained that my body would start regenerating blood within 24 hours, so not to worry about it. I trusted him completely and went ahead with his suggestions. He asked me about my children, my family etc. He wanted to meet my husband and talk to him as well before going ahead with the surgery. At the end he said, “It felt as though we were talking about having dinner on a weekend rather than about the surgery on a Sunday morning. It is surprising how calm and collected you are”.  That was the result of convincing my family about my success story. I had come to believe it by repeating it day in and day out and now I think I can say I lived it out as well for 25 years.

My dad, myself, my sister and my mom- 4 of us had to fight cancer. 

Just few months before all the hell broke loose.. we were already stuggling during this time.

You can dress and pose whichever way you want, the pain cannot be hidden. I think I can see my own pain here where I am trying to look normal and act cool..

The guy always missing in group pics because he was clicking the pictures. 


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