Welcome to Bangalore Cancer Support group (Connect to Heal) Blog page

Welcome to Bangalore Cancer Support Group (Connect To Heal) Blog Page
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Saturday, August 6, 2011

The dreaded 'C' Shivakumar Kalyan's story Part 1

It was a pleasant evening of October 2006, when i was taking a brisk walk in the park near my house. A sudden shooting pain in the groin and a nagging low back pain stopped me in my tracks. I soon guessed that it was due to a urological problem that I had been facing since one year. I decided to consult an urologist who immediately asked me to do a blood test and an ultrasound. He put me on some temporary medication to relieve the pain. And when the results came, the doctor looked pretty grim and said that I have to urgently undergo a bone scan and meet him with the report at the earliest. The diagnostic reports confirmed his worst fears - I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer with bone metastases and lymph node involvement and graded stage 4 - which in simple language means that the cancer had spread from the prostate to the lymph nodes and the bones. The treatment possibility was more or less restricted to just palliative care. The PSA reading was an alarming 360 against the normal level of maximum 4.
As an energetic 62 yr old at that time, I was suddenly confronted with this life threatening ailment and my world suddenly seemed to go into a topsy turvy.

The doctors gave me a choice between surgery along with medication or a fairly expensive long term quarterly injection and medication. I opted for the latter and thus my journey in combating cancer started. It is now 5 years since and with the grace of God I am still continuing to lead a fulfilling life.

The continued fight with never lowering your guard coupled with enormous moral support from family and friends- at this point I would like to mention the contribution of Connect To Heal support group. The fortnightly meeting proved a source of inspiration and motivation whilst creating a forum for exchanging views/comparing notes with other cancer survivors and professional Counselors- Has sustained me throughout this ongoing battle.And the pay off for all this discipline - I am able to lead a near normal life and as energetic as earlier, continuing to keep myself occupied with a full time job.

This ongoing effort and how to take this battle into the enemies camp (Cancer), I will discuss later in my next write up.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Padma and the Kitten story

My eyes still fill up when I think of the kitten I gave away. There are also times when I break down and sob away, particulary when I see the image of the kitty in the cage; how she moaned ,the grief from her tiny heart as if here is one more loss to bear in the short span on this earth. We still hear her meow whatever time of the day and night. Even at mid night when my husband goes for a warm drink she meows ,saying hey I am here too, and then we shut her up cruelly saying go back to sleep its not yet morning.

She lost her mother maybe in the 2nd week, she was still nursing.Slowly we helped her find her feet and now we've given her away to CUPA and my daily prayers and reiki is that she finds a better home with an younger couple not so rigid in their ways.

Why did it affect me so much?

Answer to this question is in the brief conversation I had with a friend...-we were talking about finding her a home and she couldn't help and said maybe I am meant to keep her. She also wondered whose soul the kitty has and we spoke about my mother-in- law and mother as both were fond of cats. I told her it must be my mother for I see her looking at me with so much love!!

This brings me to the core issue- I feel once again I have been derelict in my duty. My mother was diagnosed with cancer of the rectum and all though in Stage one, she overtly looked not so bothered and treated the disease and herself casually .
The timing of the disease was inconvenient(when is it otherwise?) and I reassured myself that being a doctor she knew how to deal with it. Slowly the days passed and we all ignored her. Atlast I forced her to see the doctor and even bullied her assistant to tell me what to do- she agreed and then consulted many doctors who recommended surgery - resulting in colostomy. This was a shock,and again she never shared her feelings!! Or did I not listen active enough to pick up her grief?

Outwardly I did all that a daughter could do...helped her through her hospitalisation and brought her home. She preferred to be in her own place so she left for her home.She had the staff at ther beck and call and me with my endemic habit of feeling ' I don't know enough' played a passive role. She started getting weaker.We celebrated my birthday and two days later she took to bed. She lost control over her body functions and therefore wanted to reverse the surgery. Doctors warned her that at least 6 weeks need to go to prepare the body-she was stubborn and being a senior physician they gave in. She was discharged and went back to her place and continued working for the next 2 months.A month later she stopped eating and again I took her to the hospital to correct her dehydration. She forced ryle's tube-shehated it.

She asked to be discharged and they gave in as nothing much could be done. The doctor ased me why don't I take her home? I said i am scared. Anyway, my other brother came down-she was staying with my brother- and she lived another week. I remember making drum stick soup-her cook was very possessive about her kitchen and feed her a spoonful. She relished it.When she came home at night next day she started having difficulty in breathing and being far away from town she did not get assistance till next day and managed with oxygen. Next day she was shifted to her clinic and that was the last day! I was with her that night. At 2.30 I got up and saw her 'not awake' and lovingly ran my hand over her face, talked to her and went to sleep. A while later my brother came running to say she is no more!!
What was my learning?-I could have been more proactive, listened to my heart, had more trust in myself and been more assertive. The Kitty taught me all this. I tend to run away when the going gets tough!!
This kitty helped me grieve for my mother who died 5 yers ago. Then I was busy with funeral arrangement and all that. Did not deal with the anger that I felt at her abandoning me. My earth shook and I distracted myself and got back to work. This kitty showed me how what is 'unconditiional' love, courage, and grit and determination. I have learned that others could feel differently from me- mine is not the only way.
So Goodbye my mother. You are still in my heart. I see your picture every morning and thank you for making me who I am (warts and all) for showing me to have dreams(although many of yours remained just that) and giving me courage. I am also becoming like you finicky, controlling(which the kitty corrected) and wanting to make a difference in this world.

by Padma Mahadev