Tuesday, September 21, 2021

#25SilverLinings - Getting Ready for Surgery

It has been quite some time since my last post of 25 Silver Linings. It was an emotional upheaval for everyone at home, and I think I was a bit hesitant to go back there and relive it. But I think I should do it to overcome it permanently.

My parents and siblings were devastated that I would be losing my whole left breast at age of 29 years. They did not completely agree with my decision to go the allopathy way, though later as I went on surviving, I could say - “I told you so”.

My sister who already was fighting cancer which had progressed to the last stages had a tough time knowing I will be fighting it as well. She was worried more about me since I had two children aged 11 months and nearly 5 years. She loved them and worried a lot.

My sister loved my son a lot
My sister with her loving Nephew
I constantly wore the mask of a brave person, since I did not have anyone with whom I could share my pain, insecurity or fear. My husband was kind of frustrated, irritated, angry and complaining all the time. My dad was confused and did not know what to say but I knew he was suffering immensely. My mom was struggling between my sister’s progress of cancer, my decision to proceed with surgery and my children’s future in case something happened to me. My siblings were too young and inexperienced to deal with cancer of two elder sisters in the family. They were kind of broken and emotionally very vulnerable. My children were affected emotionally as well though they did not know exactly what was happening. Farheena was especially very cranky and crying most of the time. 
How could I leave them behind?

In all the drama, my parents had to manage the Hospital Canteen I was running at the time, all on their own. Customers who knew the situation reacted in two different ways to this. One group gave them support, the other group started tormenting and bullying them. No matter when or where you are, the devils and angels are always there. 

The hospital was a walking distance from my home, so I decided that I would calmly walk away to the hospital when my parents were not around. They were anyway spending a lot of time in the canteen, struggling to manage it without me. Many had food and did not pay and my parents were emotionally broken to do something about it. The business soon started sucking our funds, rather than bringing in profits. I knew I couldn’t help them manage it in any way for at least 10 more days. 

Saturday afternoon I bathed and dressed up both my children and gave Rayyan some activity to keep him engaged. I fed Farheena and ensured she would sleep when I left. My brother was away but both my sisters were at home with a helper we had engaged. I did not want to tell my sisters either that I was going for my surgery, though they both knew the date and time. I calmly wanted to slip away, but my sister came to my room and started weeping. It is one of the most painful experiences for me and has remained etched in my mind. She was battling cancer which had spread on her chest, and she had to deal with this? How fair was it? It appeared to me that my own diagnosis had hurt her more than her own cancer. I did not know how to console her. I throttled all my emotions and killed them instantly, put up a stoic face and assured her I will be back safely in a few days. 

She came up to the gate with me, while my poor younger sister did not know who to attend to. Was she supposed to say bye to me, take care of my sister or pay attention to my children who were in the house? As I stepped out, my sister hugged me tightly and wept saying let us forgive each other any wrong we had done in the past. I told her we have no such grudges at all… and indeed we did not have any. I had a tough time holding back my own emotions, and I am not sure how I did that. Finally I started walking towards the hospital, not turning back to look at anyone or anything I was walking away from. I did not meet my parents either.  

When we talk about cancer treatment, we just look at the surgery, chemotherapy and radiation part of it. What we ignore is the effect it leaves on the person going through it and their loved ones. I was constantly worried about my family and their emotional state rather than my own surgery. I decided then that I had to be brave, stay strong and get back to them. I still value what my sister said that day and forgive my family whenever something goes wrong - because I feel her tell it to me even now. I decided to be there for my family like my sister had always been, before she entered the last stages of cancer and had to resort to Morphine for managing the pain. All that experience started changing something within me and I know I am not the same person I was before my cancer experience. 

When I entered the hospital, the staff who were familiar with me since I visited the hospital twice every week for Farheena’s assessment and therapies were sad and emotional as well. I just sighed and went to the room assigned to me. Soon the medical procedure would start which would get me ready for the surgery on Sunday morning. I decided to resign to whatever was happening because it was beyond me to deal with this. I settled down without worry with my husband being there with me.. all scared and confused as well. 

At this age, they needed their mom more than I needed my breast.

My sister, as always, taking the lead, and leading us (here me)
Tired and exhausted. In fact this was me trying to show my happiness..

Behind is the house that saw a lot of shit happening to my family

Looks tired and exhausted as well

Miss those carefree and happy times with my sister...


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