My heart was beating very fast.Beads of perspiration were visible on my face. Even in the month of March,I was sweating profusely.I wish I could run away but had no choice.
’You are good for nothing,just a dumbo’,the sarcastic words of my tutor in a disapproving,icy tone that I had witnessed in the past, echoed in my mind.
Inhale ,hold ,exhale, fearing the expected,I desperately adhered to four ,seven eight technique to overcome anxiety that I had learnt from Meeta Mam,my counselor.
Roll no.thirty two,thirty three and it continued.I was physically present in the class but mentally exploring quick fix solutions to the problem.Lick the Odomos and put an end, run away,hide somewhere till the storm subsides or show a fake report card to the father.My id impulses were on a real high.My heart beat increased as I delved into more options of evading the issue.
‘Hey’ .My classmate was shaking me vigorously.’Your Roll number had been announced the third time’.
’Oh’. I looked at her sheepishly .’No choice’.I murmured.I mustered all courage and with heavy feet, I dragged myself towards my class teacher, getting ready to receive the mandatory scolding which was more like a ritual every year.
With shaking hands,a mind having a tsunami of thoughts and emotions,I opened the report card.
‘What..pass ‘.I jumped out of joy.
Shamelessly I said,’ Hooray’.
The teacher gave me an encouraging smile and the entire class was puzzled.My peer group members could not make out why I was so happy? But for me, getting a pass was a big deal. I had always collected my report card like a culprit,with apprehension and guilt.
Marks were never my friends but sarcasm,pity,scoldings and demeaning looks always surrounded me like my best buddies. I gave a quick look at my report card. It was forty or forty one in all the subjects except math. In mathematics,I had scored thirty eight plus two grace marks by our gracious and undoubtedly merciful Principal.I definitely deserved an applause as it placed me in the category of being promoted .’I will put in more efforts next time’,I had repeated my promise but the result was same grade per grade. I visualized myself as a loser and something within me always said ,’once a failure,always a failure’.
‘ Well done,keep trying, You can do,’echoed the words of my counselor who always tried to motivate me and pump in the so called positive attitude.
‘,I have full faith in you’.Give your best shot and leave the rest ‘she had said however my best was others worst. I heard those sentences from her every year that I could reproduce them verbatim.
She was very extremely happy to see my result but when I shared my quick fix solutions to the problems,she said ,’My dear, life is beautiful. Life is a precious gift from God and we have a responsibility towards it’.
‘ You are born to win, Never Quit’ she had continued. Her kind words of encouragement had a deep impact which resulted in at least forcing me to continue with my school education.She had added a new dimension in my life self confidence and a feeling of self worth .
The sound of the cell phone disrupted my thoughts.I checked the number.It was my husband Rohit.
‘Mohini,have you taken your medicines’,he asked in a worried tone .
‘Oh my God’ it's twelve thirty pm’.I murmured.I was lost in my thoughts for so long.
‘Not yet but I will immediately take them’.I replied.With a few words of concern ,he kept the phone.
I got up from the bed and reached out for medicine organizer.I gulped down a handful of medicines with water.With the protein shake in my hand ,I went to the backyard to enjoy the serenity and calmness of nature.
My mind was again down the memory lane.I felt extremely tired, totally drained of energy. Simple household chores exhausted me. My cycles became dreadfully irregular and unpredictable.Hemoglobin dropped to a mere seven.My nails were pale ,dark circles grew deeper under my eye.My legs trembled and severe unbearable recurring pain in my abdomen and lower body crippled me entirely .I lost interest in almost everything .I no longer cared to comb my hair.Daily tasks became unnerving.I had to struggle getting out of the bed every morning.I could not fathom what was wrong but something was terribly wrong.
That day I had a terrible pain in my lower body followed by severe muscle cramps.
‘Ouch .Rohhiiiiit,’I shrieked panting heavily.
‘What happened dear’’,Rohit rushed to me hurriedly as he saw me swaying. Within seconds I hit the ground with a thud,all unconscious.
The doctor advised an urgent ultrasound along with a list of tests and put me on pain killer which temporarily subsided the pain only to hit me with all its force.
The test results were alarming.
‘Nothing is alright.’communicated Dr Gulati to my husband.
High blood pressure,disturbed levels of thyroid,diabetes Type 2,low levels of Hemoglobin,high triglycerides,calcium levels dropped down to a significant low .I was a bundle of diseases,mostly a gift of faulty lifestyle coupled with negligence .
‘You were so careless about your health’,said Dr Gulati in an icy cold tone.
I was in tears and Rohit guilty.
The Doctor’s tone softened and she suggested us to wait for the ultra sound report.
‘In the meantime visit the endocrinologist who will help you with the medication .‘ she advised.
We religiously followed his advice,consulted the specialist and i was prescribed a number of medicines.
The ultrasound report was no good.My health had betrayed me just like my grades.The results were concerning.‘ We need to do a minor diagnostic surgery’ ,said Dr Gulati said.’and we don't have much time’.
That very day,Rahul took opinion from the other two expert doctors and they also approved of the same.After a small day procedure in the hospital , I felt better.
‘Thank God , I am fine now .No more shooting pains.’I felt relieved.
But my Doctor had suspected that something was not right .’We had sent a small piece of tissue for investigation’.We will get the report after two weeks’,she had communicated to my husband.
The painkillers and antibiotics made me feel comfortable and things started moving at its earlier pace.I was happy that am fine now ,but life had other plans.
After fourteen days of my operation, I showed the report of tissue investigation to my Doctor and asked impatiently,’ is everything all right Doctor’?
She questioned sympathetically , ‘where is your husband?’.
‘ I am brave enough to face the worst news.You can tell me’,I said ,trying to be bold.
‘Call your husband,’ she said gently yet firmly’,I am here till four thirty.’
I immediately called him and waited in the lobby till he arrived.I was wondering that I had always collected my scholastic report card alone and faced it .What could be the worse than that.My mind began to drift towards the school days.
‘Mohini ,I am here sweetheart, what did the Doctor say ’,my husband’s caring voice brought me back.I hurriedly repeated what the Doctor had communicated,
.’Don't worry we will meet him just now and figure it out’. He said in a comforting tone and we rushed to the doctor’s chamber.
‘The pathological report reveals that the tissue was cancerous’.She said with an air of concern.I grasped the hand of my husband tightly.
Cancer. The word resonated in my ears.The information was like a bomb dropped over my head.
I was diagnosed with Endometrial AdenoCarcinoma Figo Grade Two.
’It is aggressive cancer and a major surgery is necessary.’She said,observing me closely as I struggled to control the flow of tears.Don't worry,the chances of getting cured is quite high’ , she continued,’ but you have to take action fast.It is advance stage two and it multiplies real fast and spreads’
She informed that we had to go to the super specialty unit that treats cancer.I sat motionless, my mind experiencing an emotional roller coaster.
My husband talked at length and discussed the possible treatment plan with her whereas I sat in the state of delirium,oblivious of the sounds around me but fully aware of what was going on in my mind.
Life can be so messy and demeaning.It can betray you at any point of time.
We came home in a state of shock,without uttering a word. I was struggling to fight back my tears and silence seemed to be the best way to communicate.
Mohini,’Rohit called me lovingly while mentally preparing himself to handle the delicate situation. As if I heard Meeta madam saying in her sweet compassionate voice,’dear, it's Ok to cry when you are upset’ ,I allowed my pent up feeling to succumb to the outlet and broke down and cried and cried .For me ,the world had been torn apart.
‘Hey dear, don’t worry,I will not let anything happen to you’ , Rohit comforted me.When I had calmed down , he gave me an anti anxiety pill as suggested by the doctor and went to the kitchen only to be back with two steaming cups of sugar free hot chocolate to make me feel better.
’I am fine Rohit , please leave me alone for sometime,please’ I requested him, as I knew he had tasks to do. He nodded and went to the living room and googled to find more about the cancer.
I was still drinking my chocolate.Why me God,what was my fault,I lamented. Why am I going to be penalized?Am I going to die?The very thought of death taking me away from my loved one’s traumatized me.
‘Life had poised a challenge on you and you have to face it and come out with elan.’the words of my Meeta mam , my source of inspiration throughout my academic journey were again echoing in my mind .
Even today during the turbulent times,she was present with me in my thoughts and guiding me.‘ You are born to win, Never Quit,’Life is a precious gift from God and we have a responsibility towards it’.her words echoed .Suddenly I felt
I had gained the strength to fight the deadly disease .
‘I am pretty Ok,Rohit, and let’s finalize the date of surgery.’I uttered in a cheerful voice,camouflaging the pain as I reached for him in the living room .
He smiled at me and we chatted for an hour.My mind was light and I went to bed.
My husband was practical and was well aware that every moment was precious.The first thing he did was to break the news to my mother .The septuagenarian arrived with my brother in no time and he witnessed a real meltdown moment.I cried profusely whereas my mother slowly wiped away the tears from the core of her eyes and consoled me as she hugged me tightly .I found the desired solace.
We had to finalize the hospital. Rohit sought opinion from his medico friends, read reviews of hospitals and Doctors at night and in the morning visited a few hospitals.
We had no insurance policy,so we had to bear all the expenses out of our savings .
The treatment plan was discussed and finally I was admitted to the hospital.I underwent a major surgery and stayed in the hospital for ten days. .Although my diabetes slowed my recovery, yet I felt better day by day.
When I went for the next phase of the treatment that was radiotherapy along with concurrent chemotherapy,I had recovered well.
I asked my oncologist anxiously , ‘Doctor are you going to inject snake’s poison as a part of chemotherapy?’.
‘Do we look like snake charmers ’? ,he patiently answered to my naive yet stupid question.
‘Hahaha’, not expecting humorous reply from the doctor, myself and Rohit could not control the burst of laughter even in those strenuous moments .From next week on wards my therapies began.
The first phase of treatment left me fatigued.The heavy doses of medicines had a deep impact on my mental health.With chemotherapy under progress,I lost my crowning glory, eyebrows and eyelashes.I finally shaved off my hair.My skin turned dark.I developed blisters in mouth. I felt nauseated most of the time.The Doctor gave me heavy doses of medicine to control my urge to vomit.The very sight and smell of food once I relished ,was now unbearable to me.Sometimes my legs became numb and just five minute walk became a task.I avoided people.I could not tolerate noise or even sound for that matter.There was a cognitive fog. I could not recall even minor information.My handwriting deteriorated .I began to sleep with the light on. Realizing that my overall health was deteriorating,I cried in desperation.My mother consoled me,patiently listened when I used harsh words. Each day was a punishment. Each day was about surviving and nothing more.
Life revolved to and fro from home to hospital.Finally after six months of ordeal, in June my cycle of treatment was complete.I tolerated the treatment which not left a scar on my physical and psychological well being, but also dug a big hole in our wallet.
The sound of the alarm transported me to the present for a moment.I snoozed it for a later time.I realized that my eyes were wet.Somehow my nostalgic memory overpowered me and I was again lost in my thoughts.
It was a bright morning.Today I had to collect the report and meet the Doctor.My self along with my mother and husband reached the hospital before time.
The doctor congratulated me for the successful completion of the treatment.There were no traces of cancer.I felt like saying,’ Hooray’ but controlled myself. The Doctor gave a gentle smile and advised me to take care of the diet ,medicine and regular checkups.My mother thanked the Doctor profusely and with tear in her eyes, uttered, ‘I am her biological parent but because of the efforts of your team of Doctors,she had been reborn’.
So began the celebration of my birthday twice a year, one in January,other in June.
Imagine,I became a Capricorn as well as a Cancerian.
Yes,I could not understand the theoretical content of my books and I did not score well throughout my academic career.I had to struggle, accept scoldings,was mocked at and I could never come out with the flying colors but without any doubt,I succeeded in the larger exam called Life and mind it, there was no guide book.
Life is an exam where the syllabus is unknown and question papers are not set .
With positive attitude, hope ,love and good wishes of family and the people who are significant ,one can face vagaries of life and bounce back really well.I was indebted to the doctors for their expertise,My mam whose words resonated when negative thoughts enveloped me, my family who had helped me to navigate the challenging passages by showering unconditional love and showing patience despite myself getting rude at times.I sailed through the turbulent times because of the warmth and comfort extended by them.
They helped me to showed resilience and emerge as a stronger women ,wiser ,compassionate,responsible towards self and above all confident that I can face the challenges of life and come out with elan.
‘ Never Quit,You are born to win’, the words of Meeta mam reverberated in my ears.
The continuous ringing of the doorbell broke my chain of thought.
I will never allow the thought of running away from the problem to ever come to my mind. Face, it and fight it is my new Mantra.
‘ I am Born to win’.I smilingly said to myself as I moved towards the door.