Posted in Australian Politics, True Story, Inspirational, Word prompt

If Only, I Could Turn Back The Clock … (part 7)

dad lab

Even in the hospital Dad couldn’t help himself. He was still the same old man, who hated the societies preferential treatment to the have’s and the have not’s.  As he had “Dr” in front of his name all the attendants and nurses treated him well.  Unfortunately,  his neighbour was not privy to the same, sometimes even the basic requests were ignored. The guy next to him related to us that couple of nights ago, he had no water and the nurses had just ignored his several requests, Dad almost had a tumble trying to give him water from his jug.  Dad had even shared some of the food that mum had taken him. That guy was so grateful. But dad was annoyed and a tad bit ashamed that he was treated well and the other not so. If Dad was alive and living in Australia now, he would have been so happy.  So, happy to note that there was a society where you are an equal in a Public Hospital.  In fact you are an equal in most places.

I wrote letters to my uncles who were living far away, telling them that Dad has pulled through, that Dad was coming home tomorrow.  What a whirlwind of events.  But, we knew, it was a long way from us returning back to TRI (Tea Research Institute) or to a normal life.  There was suggestion that he could do light duties in Colombo with the Tea Board.  We knew he was still fragile, but he has pulled through the biggest hurdle. We will make sure that he doesn’t set back in his old workaholic habits.  We will take care of him. Dad’s 53rd birthday was coming up at the end of the month.  We will celebrate it, as we never have.  I saw a funny birthday card in the shops, something about old age, so I bought it then and there.  Life was good again.

I was thinking this was going to be our last evening visit to the hospital.  Dad was coming home tomorrow evening.  How sweet does that sound.  Dad had worked out what needs to be done.  He wanted mum and Cuz Sulo to come in the morning with several cakes from “Green Cabin” a popular cake shop and some good tea(leaves)from Tea Research Institute.  He had a list of doctors, nurses and attendants to whom he wanted to give gifts.

He asked Velu (a man assistant given to us by TRI), Thangamma (our long time maid) and myself to stay back and clean the house,  as he expected many visitors.  He told us the number of people he had invited to our house in TRI.  Not just for a meal, these invitations were for them to come and stay with us and have a holiday. He was in an elated mood.  So were we.  Much better than him confused and disoriented.  I shake that memory off, just celebrate girl, that was just a bad dream, I said to myself.

*Note: for the benefit of those who have not read the first 6 parts of this story, at present we were living in Colombo in one of my cousin’s house, our usual place of residence is Talwakelle (upcountry 4.5 hr drive) where TRI is situated).

The driver was a touch late to pick mum and cuz Sulo.  My cuz wanted to be in the Hospital before the surgeons finished their rounds, so she could speak to them.  So she asked to be first dropped off in the hospital, before the cake purchases.  Mum, decided to follow my cousin to the wards, so she could pack dad’s clothes, toiletries etc and take it with her before going for the cakes.  Her thinking was so when taking dad, their hands would be free to concentrate on taking dad to the car safely.

The clock had turned back again.  The blaring horns of the traffic outside my window sounded the same that night. It was humid, hot and uncomfortable as always.  There was no signs to say that the clock had wound back sixteen days.  There were no signs at all to say that the roller coaster was now on free fall.

Cont…

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/clock/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/confused/

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Posted in True Story, Inspirational

The Dreaded “C” Word (Part 8)

cancer

I got the same nurse Lyn Lee at CCU.  She was rather surprised to see me again.  But this time around the vomiting was very minimal. The doctor explained that they removed the rest of the thyroid, parathyroid and few lymph nodes and has been sent to the pathology for testing. I was recovering quite well.  It was day four.  The doctor walked in looking chuffed.  He was very happy.  The results were back and the cancer thankfully had not spread anywhere.  So, I think we got to it before it spread anywhere.  I am one lucky girl.

 

i beat cancer

This was the best outcome we could have had.  Still I had to go through more tests to make sure that it was not popping up anywhere else.  But for the moment it was GREAT news.

We had a chat to the boys and mum and explained what has been happening for the last couple of years.  And that I am now cancer free.  Mum was over the moon.  Hari was quiet for a moment and then he said, “mum is only 5ft tall but she is tough, she will be fine”.  Arj went quiet.  Afterwards, he said almost tearful “mum, some say that they have got rid of cancer, but it comes back after five years or so, will that come back for you too, what if it comes back?” I explained that yes it could come back.  Once you get cancer, there is no guarantee that it won’t come back again.

I went on to explain further, yes, I have escaped cancer now, but I could get hit by a car around the corner and die too.  In life there are no guarantees.  But just because there are uncertainties in life we don’t stop living.  If I get the cancer again, I just have to pick up where I left off the first time and this time I have some experience.  Arj was happy with that answer.

I had to go for monthly tests and then they became less frequent, 3 monthly, 6 monthly and now only annually. I still had to go for the annual endoscopy and colonoscopy because of a little inflammation/cyst of some sort near in the intestines.  Once again my fitness level had dipped. So I met Damien my personal trainer again.  He was excellent. For me it’s not just about losing weight to look pretty.  It is more to do with being able to move my body and use my body effectively.  To feel fit and healthy.  And that is exactly what Damien is all about.  Especially when you are after an injury or surgery, it is paramount that you are careful and that you don’t make things worse.

Hari got selected to enter University of NSW.  I was so proud of him.  He worked damn hard to get there.  From a very young age he was determined to become a Robotics Engineer and now he is at the door steps of his dream.  We were looking for accommodation etc for him in Sydney.  I decided that I will accompany him to show him the ropes and help him settle in.  For the rest of the world he is an adult.  But for me the mother he is still my baby. I am going to miss my baby, but I am going to hide those tears so he can achieve his dreams.

We were busy buying and organising things for his new apartment when I received a call from my Gastrointestinal Surgeon. He wanted to see me when I returned to Adelaide.   I had a feeling that this was for another surgery.  He wouldn’t be calling to say that I’ve won a million dollars now would he, it’s more like “I am running low on cash, can I open you up?” Yep, the small inflammation/cyst thing had suddenly grown into a massive lump.  This was sitting on the junction of the intestine/ oesophagus.  Being on that junction it was like on the corner of an S bend, was going to be a tricky operation.  And essentially Dr. Bessell was trying to avoid opening me up fully as that would be a rather big surgery.  His team of doctors believed they could do a laparoscopic surgery.  This would mean easier recovery etc.  He explained that they will try their hardest to do it that way, but sometimes they might have to change course and open me up.

My friend Sally worked in this hospital as a nurse and she came to see me before I was wheeled in.  Wish she was there to see my reaction, when I woke up. I woke up to find that I was opened from top to toe.  I stroked my stomach area to see where the laparoscopic holes were.  But I felt my whole chest feel really heavy and then yes, a big cut from the top of the rib cage up to the belly button.  They’ve cut me up like I was a piece of fish, gutted and filleted, okay maybe not filleted.

This was by far the worst of the surgeries.  As the oesophagus is in the back (inside the rib cage) behind heart and other organs.  So it’s similar to a bypass surgery where they have to open the rib cage up to get to this spot. The lump was benign after all that.  But I guess considering the size of the lump and my history they couldn’t take a chance and leave it there.

Recovery was slow, but steady.  I was in a lot of pain though.  By this time we had a new addition to the family.  Galileo our little pugalier pup.  We called him Leo for short.  Leo was a major part of my recovery.  Once everyone is off to school and work, it was just me, Leo and the TV.  He knew, he could sense it, that I was in a lot of pain.  He followed me everywhere and slept on the edge of my foot.  Keeping watch and keeping company.

In time I was now back to normal.  However, with these repeated surgeries, my body had taken beating.  Also a few months after this surgery I also managed to break my ribs a couple of times.  I felt like an old woman.  Walk was very slow.  My back hurt, my shoulder hurt and I had gained weight.  I was still my positive self, happy and chirpy. Everyone around me was happy to give the excuse that I have been through a lot and carrying a bit weight was the least of my worries.  They were not wrong, and I was happy to accept the same.

However, I was now convinced that I had to meet Damien again. If I am going to live, I am going to live well I thought.  I wanted to be able to everything I did when I was 21. I had cancelled my gym membership by this stage as the gym was not willing to put a stop on the payments when I go in for the surgeries.  I had whole heap gym equipment at home.  But I was worried again, if I was safe to use them.  Damien had left the gym.  But I managed to track him down.  He had opened his own gym.  A small boutique gym.  I started with him just on single personal lessons.  Back to Square one, or more like go backwards after each surgery.  One step forward and two steps backwards I thought.  Still I was prepared for the hard work.  Slowly I got the confidence to join his group class.  First class was just pure murder. But slowly I could feel my fitness improve, lose weight and feel great. I am probably still one of the weakest members, in the group. But it doesn’t matter.  I am not holding the gauge against the others, this gauge is a personal gauge.  The race is mine, and I am still winning the race.

18th September 2015.  With Damien’s encouragement I decided to take part in the City to Bay fun run.  As the day grew closer I felt very emotional.  Just an year ago I couldn’t walk 1k, now I am preparing to run 6k.  I wasn’t sure if I could really do it.  But I was going to try. I was going to give it a real go.

city to bay

I was very emotional that day.  When I saw the finish line, I realised this was really a start line or could say restart line.  My life starts again.

 

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

The Dreaded “C” Word Cont… (part 5)

cancer

 The Dreaded C Word

The dreaded “C” word cont….

The dreaded “C” word cont…. (3rd lot)

The dreaded “C” Word cont… (part 4)

I am not a regular temple visitor.  Even when I go to the temple I prefer to go after the pooja and have a one on one with the Almighty in silent prayer/meditation.  I don’t ever ask for anything.  I go there to thank him. So this particular visit was a strange one for me.  I couldn’t stop the tears running down my cheeks.  I felt it was not fair to ask him to spare my life as there were small children dying of cancer; there were pregnant mothers dying of cancer, I was just asking for a postponement by 3 years if possible.  In 3 years Arj would join Hari in High School.  The school drops offs would become so much easier for Ganesh.  In fact, there was a school bus.  The two brothers together in the same school would mean they can be of support for each other.  These were my reasoning.

Some ask me if I was worried about death itself.   Was I scared of dying?

It never crossed my mind. I know it sounds almost untruthful.  But really it never did.  All my fears were about the two kids and how will their lives be.  If the question was put forward to me now, if I was scared of death,   I have to say no, death is the last of my worries, death is the easy part, and living is much harder.  I have to work hard to live.  Once I complete living today, I have to live again tomorrow, with all the responsibilities and commitments. 

I don’t know about heaven or hell or an afterlife.  I don’t really know if any of them, or some them exist.  I see no point in knowing that.  I don’t think my behaviour in this life is going to change in anyway by knowing that.  I do good, not for the dangling carrot, but just because it is the right thing to do. I don’t really care if I make it to heaven or I come back as a bird in my next birth.  I feel I have no control over that.  But I sure can have some control over what happens in this birth. 

I know he can say “I will give you cancer any time and take that smugness out of you”.  Maybe so, but damned if I was going to go without a fight.  I had nothing to lose and everything to gain for the sake of my kids.  You twisted bastard, you picked on the wrong woman. 

Things with my mother were becoming tolerable but not great.  We were behaving like guests living in each other’s house.  I knew I had to make some serious decisions and make some serious changes.  I didn’t tell my mum the date of my surgery.  One of my cousins lost her husband a year ago and mum has always felt guilty that she couldn’t make it to the funeral.  It was his one year death anniversary coming up.  This was all in Perth.  I booked her flight to Perth and suggested that she spend some time with her in her time of grief.

I had decided that its time that I made my family capable of looking after themselves in case I lose the battle.  I wasn’t accepting defeat, but I thought it was like having a will, life insurance, just having a game plan.  Training started on using the washing machine, putting the clothes out, bins out, vacuuming and helping me with cooking.

Obviously my mum was not happy when she found out that the surgery was going to be when she was away and wanted to change her flights.  One of her concerns were “what would the people say?” I put my foot down and said, if I need you I will definitely call you back, but you taught me to be capable and an independent woman. This is a simple surgery and there is no point in you changing your flights.  She was hell bent on staying.  Her adorable friend Lyn came to my aid. She could somehow feel it was something more than a hysterectomy.  She took my mum for coffee and made her understand that she needs to respect my wishes.

I needed all my strength to fight this battle.  I couldn’t do it with the negativity that was looming at home.  Even though I raised eyebrows by sending my mum away at a time most people would have asked their parents help, I knew this was the right decision for me.  One was the negativity, the other was while mum was around, the three men in the house would not learn any of the domestic basics. This was very important to me.  No loose ends.  If I am gone, there is no way that hubby and mum could live in the same house.  It wouldn’t be a healthy environment for the kids either. They needed to be self sufficient.

I did think about the two adults in this equation as well. My husband as usual wouldn’t show his grief, bury himself at work with zero patience and maximum irritation.  I can’t even imagine what this would have done to my mum.  Grief would have destroyed her.  Unattended grief turns into anger.  And that’s what would have happened to hubby and mum.

We also come from a culture where the men think, all is achieved by making money. And for the women, it’s all about getting home cooked food on the table.   If only, those two things were the only things needed for solve all the issues in life, it would be much easier to live.

In all of these dramas hubby was no angel, but he has a visa, a permit, granted to him, under the clause of “whatever said and done, he is nice man at heart” which translates to he can be a brat as long as, time to time he shows signs of a gentleman.  My mum, my father in law and a few others or our kin are recipients of this privileged permit as well.  Somehow I wasn’t privy to one.  I read in one of the pregnancy books, that pregnancy brings upon tantrums and melt downs on the mother as her hormones are all over the place.  Reading that sentence out to my husband nearly caused another tantrum.  So there was no room for Uma to be a diva.  I didn’t want to be one anyway.  If you are surrounded by drunken people and you are the only one sober, you realise how badly they are behaving and you become more and more sober because you just loathe what you see.  Mean while the drunk is thinking I am great, I am funny, I am strong and I am it.  While they are gleaming in their egoistical glory unfortunately the sober one is suffering, she/he is thinking, this is my family, this is my friend, and I can’t leave, they will self destruct, no one else will put up with them, not for long anyway, and I am the only one thinking straight and fair.

We tackled Diva behaviour by dealing with the Evil Eye.  We believed that evil eye was the cause of everything evil that happens in one’s life.  Same reason was given for domestic arguments.  The reason we had an absolute melt down was because of this darn Evil Eye, “I said, you said, what will the people say” was all due to the poor schmuck who visited you that evening and complimented your kids. I failed to pick up on the fact that it was not a compliment but rather the work of casting an evil eye.  So we finish the argument by mum making a ritual of burning chillies in a pot with soil and other magical ingredients.  We hug and kiss and all forgiven (but rarely forgotten, memories are stored away for a later use).

The concern of cancer, young kids, just day to day chores, work, money or how little I was earning at this stage, future and like I needed a hole in my head the two divas was all consuming my thoughts.  But mum in Perth, there was a sense cease fire and we were starting to build a relationship.  We were actually happy.  It is a strange thing to say when you have a cloud over your head.  But then again, I was not thinking about it, not all the time anyway.  I really didn’t see the point in dwelling on an issue which I had no control over.

I woke up from the surgery, at this stage I didn’t know if they had gone ahead with the hysterectomy or they had just closed me up because they found the cancer.  It was good news.  The surgeon explained that they removed everything as the endometriosis had progressed real badly. They had removed both ovaries and everything attached to that, even the tubes.  They had to scrape down the walls of the kidney, liver etc as this growth had spread that far.   Everything removed was sent out for more cancer testing.  Results came negative.

I came to the conclusion that the raised tumour marker was due to this extensive endometriosis.  I felt that we had dodged a bullet.  I wanted to make use of this experience.  I was mad at us for having petty fights.  None of our fights was on serious issues, no one cheated on another, and it was not related to assets and property, we had everything to be happy for, but still we wasted time squabbling over stupid things.

Again I say the reason for bringing the laundry into the public is not to compete with the Kardashians, but to say that life is precious, time is precious don’t waste it.  We have been given a second chance, not everyone gets that wakeup call and unfortunately for some it’s too late.  Don’t hit the snooze button, just wake up NOW.  Then again, if you haven’t dealt with the issue, however trivial it may be to the other, that fight/argument is going to revisit you again.  Learn to listen to each other.  Be fair, and accept compromise, but at the same time don’t let the other bully you. If you let the other bully you into silence, you are playing Ms/Mr Amicable, while boiling on the inside.  Eruption postponed to a later date.

My mum was married off at a very young age, sixteen or seventeen, almost a child bride.  Her formal education ended with that. However, my dad believed in her abilities and talents.  More than anything he loved her unconditionally.  He was an educated man. But in his eyes, mum was still an equal, worthy of his love and respect. With dad’s support mum flourished in her confidence and started to hone on her talents. She got herself a Diploma in Dressmaking.   Dad’s sudden passing shattered mum.  It shattered both of us.  It came from nowhere.   No warnings.  Start to finish was just sixteen days.  He had a brain aneurism.  I have an enormous amount of admiration for the way she rose to the challenge of bringing up her only daughter.

Little does she realise, that this is where I drew half the strength for my battles.  She lived the life of Riley’s until my Dad’s passing.  She lived in a great big house with an aide for each chore. She was Chauffer driven to anywhere and everywhere.  She was treated like a queen by the staff at The Tea Research Institute, where my dad worked as a scientist.  These were the perks that came with my dad’s profession.  After, dad’s passing we moved to Colombo into a small flat. Life began with no aides and no cars.  We had to learn to use public transport.  We had to learn to live on a small pension. Mum realised this was not going to be enough.  She did not hesitate.  She thought she could make use of that diploma in dressmaking and accepted a job in a Garment factory.  Most relatives and friends were very supportive. But there were the odd ones who couldn’t resist sniggering at mum for going below her social standing.  Mum didn’t care.   Mum was just forty two. She may not have a formal education, but made up for it with her conviction.  She was very strong, even when it came to my marriage; some were not very convinced with my choice for a husband.  But she stood strong; her daughter’s happiness was paramount for her.  She wasn’t going to let anyone bully us.  Dad had given us the confidence to be independent and she was not going to fail her husband.  She missed dad immensely, we both did, and we had to be there for each other.  This was the period I realised how strong my mum was.  Each day she was becoming more confident and embracing her independence.

Living with us I realised, she had to live according to our whims and fancy.  It wasn’t always fair.  We were taking each other for granted.  When things got heated we didn’t mind telling her that this was our house and that’s how it’s going to stand. So, when mum returned from Perth, I explained to mum it would be better if she moved out.  In my mind I wasn’t just thinking about my needs, I was genuinely thinking of her needs as well.  She is an independent woman, and we are keeping her here with her wings clipped.

She didn’t see it that way.  She was very upset. She was really angry.  Well, why wouldn’t she?  She felt betrayed and used.  She looked after the boys from their birth. She was the full time child minder, when I returned to work. Now, that the boys are grown up, I am just discarding her. I tried to explain to her that wasn’t the case. I explained to her that, I love her very much but living under the same roof, we are just tolerating each other.  I don’t want to tolerate my mother, I wanted to yearn for my mother and her company.  And I explained that living separately but close by, we could achieve that.  Again Lyn made mum consider my suggestion.  So she reluctantly moved out.  She was still very angry and hurt.

I was still recovering from the surgery.  So, in everyone else’s eyes I was being crazy.  Why would I disregard her help? She could cook for me and take care of me.  Everyone thought I was just being spiteful.  Well, probably mum thought the same.  In life there is nothing called a free lunch.  Help usually comes with control and obligation.  This is how I felt at that time.  This is how I was made to feel.  I wanted my independence and sanity back.  And I knew in time mum will start to enjoy hers.

It was about a month and half since the surgery.  I had started to drive and do simple stuff.  This was a strange surgery.  You feel fantastic one minute and the next minute a dizzy spell.  I felt that I was starting to gain weight.  But more than anything I felt unfit, my stomach and my back were like jelly.  So went to see the personal trainer, I met years ago for a shoulder injury that I had.  He was amazing.  He explained to me that as the stomach region is compromised due to the surgery, and that in turn is not supporting my back. So it was gentle core exercises to strengthen the weaker muscles.  Progress was very slow.  But gradually I got fitter and thinner.

Life was good again.  Life was actually fabulous.  I felt like a new woman.  Many showed concern about a hysterectomy as they felt worse after the surgery due to the lack of hormones.  For me it was the reverse.  I wish I had done it earlier.  I just felt so great.  Until…. Until Dr. Lynch decided to spoil it all.

 

 

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

The dreaded “C” Word cont… (part 4)

 

cancer

The Dreaded C Word

The dreaded “C” word cont….

The dreaded “C” word cont…. (3rd lot)

 

As I said before I am a very practical person.  My method of parenting was also very practical.  I had much to do, minimum amount of disruption was vital.  “Mum he started it” was dealt with “I don’t care who started it, I can finish it” punishment was for both of them, my theory was one of them escaped the dreaded wooden spoon one time or another, so it was all even at the end of a long week.  I wish I had a similar method for my mum and husband. Their relationship was straining.  In turn, it was affecting me as well.  I usually keep my peace with mum; as when she erupts it’s a few days of misery.  But after continuous prodding by the GP and the Gyno, my stomach was in all sorts.  Pain was in its absolute peak.  Unfortunately my mum was not privy to any of this information.  So she kept pushing everyone’s buttons.  I made a slip. So the day I went for the first of the scans, I was not entirely thinking about the scan or the dreaded tumour marker.  Hubby and I were mostly discussing the eruption we had the night before.  It was a very good distraction.

My reasoning for bringing this part of the laundry into the lime light is not to discredit my mum, my husband, father in law or anyone else.  This is to point out, that just because you are going through cancer, the rest of world doesn’t stop to lay you that red carpet, not always anyway. Life goes on as normal for the rest of the world.  Your closest and dearest are forced to change their routine a little bit, the bit where they were reliant on you, is now on them to carry on, on their own.  It’s not like when you have the flu, where the inconvenience is just for a week, but with something like cancer, it’s a long road.  A long bumpy road, with many potholes. The driver is going to try and avoid those potholes and the passenger hopes the same.  But unfortunately the wheels are going to hit those darn potholes once in a while anyway.  Pain is experienced by all.  You have to just keep driving.  Driver fatigue is very possible in this journey as well.  It’s important that you involve the passenger to take on the wheel at times.

Friends became co-drivers in terms of school drop offs.  We headed to the doctors for an 8.30 AM appointment.  This Gynaecologist was recommended by a nurse friend of mine. She told me he was thorough. This man takes thoroughness to another level. What we learnt later is that this blood test that flagged the tumour marker, is not usually a test that Gyno’s worry about.  It’s not a conclusive test, it’s something used as an indicator on advanced cancer patients to see if the cancer was returning, rising etc.  Not sure of his thinking why he asked me to have it done.  Anyway, that inconclusive test is the main reason why I am still around to tell my story.

Dr. Munday went on to explain that the tumour marker count on a normal person should be around 0-10, and mine was around 175.  Quite high I guess.  But at the same time this is an indicator, in laymen’s term, (this is how I convinced myself that it was not that serious) it’s like saying if you have a headache it could mean you have brain tumour, or it could even mean that you just have a migraine.  He had already looked at the results of the tests performed the day before.  Lungs were clear.  The liver had some white masses, so he had discussed it with the liver specialist before my arrival and the opinion was that it is rather a normal feature in women of my age.  The intestines/ oesophagus had a small area that they wanted to have another closer look at.  So he had already made an appointment for me with a Gastroenterologist. Dr Munday went on to explain that until we explore the possibility of the cancer and if I had cancer that had to be dealt with first before the hysterectomy.  Three days later I was going for an endoscopy and a colonoscopy.  Fasting, jelly and the rest of the glory began.  Mum thought that was all part of the hysterectomy. I didn’t see a reason to correct her.  I needed support and strength, someone who would say and feel it was going to be okay. Not the other way around.  I didn’t have the energy to console my mum.  It would be hard for any parent to not fall apart.  Let alone for one who has lost her husband and this was her only child.  Not telling my mum the whole story meant she didn’t see a reason to let go of the fight that started 3 days ago.  Hubby may be domestically challenged but when it came to the mental strength that I needed, he was like a rock for me.

I had taken on a new client. This meant their books were an utter mess and years behind in reconciliation. The Tax department was breathing down their neck and so were the creditors. The added trips to the doctors and specialists meant I was behind in my work.  So, before going in for the scopes the next day I promised that I will have all reports emailed to them that night.  I was working till midnight with the jelly and toilet trips.  I was like a woman before labour.  Nesting instincts had clicked in.  I was doing it all, cleaning, ironing uniforms, helping with homework and profit and loss statements all tackled.

Scopes were done and the results drew blank. So Dr. Munday decided to go ahead with the surgery. The cancer cloud had not completely cleared.  The possibility that the endometriosis was giving an elevated reading was talked about. Still no real answers to why it was high. Dr. Munday was going to have an oncologist on site, so if he saw anything untoward, then they will stop the surgery, close me up for that day, take actions for the cancer and so forth.

With all the tests and doctor’s appointments completed until September for the surgery, life was back to the same old.  Reality was starting to sink in. I could have cancer.  I talked to a selected few of my friends and to one of my cousins who lived in Adelaide.  Other than that we didn’t want to alarm any one before we knew the exact story ourselves.

Moments of sadness crept in.  I lost my dad at the age of 19.  He was only 53.  My life completely changed after his passing.  I lost my whole identity.  From a girl who was full confidence and conviction, I became withdrawn and almost very insecure. Not that I lost interest in my studies, but I was not firing with all cylinders.  I knew it would be the same for my kids. They were much younger than I was when I lost my dad. Not that I had lacked confidence in Ganesh to be a good dad, but I knew, without me the house would turn into Capt. Von Trap  and his two sons on two minute noodles.

Hari had just moved to high school and was slowly finding his feet.  It always takes a bit of time for Hari to make friends and accept a new place.  He already had his challenges with his hearing and the issues that brings on.  I feel somehow responsible for his hearing loss and then on top of that to lose his mother at a young age would just make things worse.  He had an amazing final year in his primary school, winning scholarships, chess tournaments, Maths Olympiad and South Australian Champ for Robotics.  He showed so much promise. Arj was just blossoming as a young actor, orator and debater.  He had Midsummer Night’s Dream under his belt.  He was just nine years old and a star already.  I was going to derail everything.

Cont…

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

The dreaded “C” word cont…. (3rd lot)

 

 

cancer

 

 

The Dreaded C Word

The dreaded “C” word cont….

Read the above two before you tackle this …

My journey begins. For years, I suffered from endometriosis.  Medical explanation to this is a tissue that lines the inside of the uterus starts to grow out side.  I also had a few fibroids in my ovaries.   I just like growing things inside my body.  If I had done so much growing on the outside of my body I could be six feet tall instead of 5ft. This meant for years I had suffered from bleeding and severe stomach cramps.  Naprogesic (a pain killer) was my ever loving friend. I was anaemic at most times. It was unbearable pain and discomfort.  However as a working mother of two over energetic boys and a wife of a domestically under contributing husband, I had no choice but to soldier on.  The GP’s were shying away from a hysterectomy as I was under the age of 40.  Damn hormones, you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them.

With a busy lifestyle my visits to the doctor was not that frequent.  I turned 40, but we also moved states and yes there was so much else happening.  So, no trips to the doctor, just trips to the chemist to get more Naprogesic.  I was 41, I could feel that things were getting really bad; a job got cancelled last minute.  That day was no different, I was in a lot of pain, I was already in the car when the client declined, so decided to drive to the doctors and get this pain sorted out once and for all.

My reasoning was that I had two kids, not planning on another, I had enough, I want the whole thing out.  Well, did I open the Pandora’s Box or what?  Ultra sound confirmed that I had plenty of rubbish in one of my ovaries, and the endometriosis was well cooked. Next stop, the Gynaecologist.  Met the Gyno, nice man, apparently his dad was a Gyno too, and his sister was a midwife.  Hope they were not talking shop at the dinner table.

Didn’t, realise that this would be the start of all tests.  At this stage, things were rather simple, decision was made to remove one of my ovaries, so that the other could produce enough hormones and we could avoid hormone replacement therapy.   This was around June/July. I was told that I will need two months minimum to recover.  I am a very practical person.  I thought well I will have to do it in one month.  We set the date for the surgery one week before the school holidays in September.  I had endured this for so long I couldn’t see the urgency.  I had so much to plan before the surgery.  Two months gave me enough time to cook and freeze food for the domestically challenged and his kids.  School holidays meant no school drops offs, and sports drop offs, no chess clubs and no debating.

I started cooking. My surgeon had given me scripts for a few more scans and blood tests to be done before the surgery to assist him with the surgery.  Blood test completed.  Two weeks went past and my life remained the same. I was still yelling at kids to get up in the morning, and the husband to get out of the toilet.

I was at work, it was 11: 30 am.  Just had a coffee and biscuits, too late to feel guilty about that chocolate bikky that I downed.  Yep, it’s Lyn, my surgeons’ nurse on the phone asking when I had something to eat.  I said just now, thinking “Christ I am only going for a hysterectomy not a lap band surgery”  She said politely, “Can you not drink or eat anything anymore and can you please come in for some scans at 4.00pm?” My blood test revealed that my CEA count was high.  That was a  Pauline Hanson moment – Please explain.  Carcinoembryonic Antigen.  She said “best if the doctor explains it, he will see you tomorrow after the tests”.  She said it’s a type of tumour marker. I am still in the dark. But I realised, that there were some alarm bells going off, at the doctors. I didn’t have much time to ponder if it was a false alarm or not as I had to organise school pick up and everything else.  It did stun me for a bit though.  Talked to the girls at work, they were nurses before they started their own business doing physio therapy, they had some idea but I was probably not in the right head space to take in all the information. Went outside to get some fresh air, and to call hubby, ask a friend to pick up the boys.  Time passed very quickly.  Had a CT scan of my lungs and a MRI of the stomach.

Little did I realise that this was the beginning of radiology cocktails.  Most of them were white, some of them had slight pink tinge, some pale yellow. It didn’t’ matter what colour it was, they had one common component.  They all tasted rotten.  Anyway, I was asked to come the next day to meet the Doc.

cont …. Continue reading “The dreaded “C” word cont…. (3rd lot)”

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

The dreaded “C” word cont….

 

cancer

For me, I took a lot of strength from some of the famous cancer survivors, their determination and their outlook in life.  To name a few Olivia Newton John, Glenn McGrath’s wife Jane and Lance Armstrong (obviously, this was before he was found out).  But more than anyone, who gave me most strength was my neighbour Nick.  Nick was an Old Italian man.  Every year on x’mas day our street has a tradition.  We all visit each other, with gifts and have port, wine, baileys, black coffee, food, all the good stuff.  It is really great living in an Italian neighbourhood.  You are drunk by 10.00 am.  Anyway, coming back to Nick, the previous year Nick had bowel cancer.  So the next X’mas when we were there, as usual his wife was trying to feed us with everything she could find.  I passed the tray to Nick, and he explained that he can’t eat all that, I guess the Doc’s had a field day snipping his intestines.  So I asked, “so how are you now Nick?” (With concern and a sombre voice) and he goes “I am fantastic, I will live another 100 years”.  He is (I know he is no longer with us and I should use he was, but his spirit and his cheerful cheeky face is still fresh and alive in my mind) a breath of fresh air.  This is the man when we first moved in, we were still unpacking, moving furniture, cleaning, we were ready to drop, looks at us and says apparently his dad told him that “it is only the first 100 years of your life that is hard, after that it is a piece of cake” and he chuckles.  I could write a separate book about Nick. So Nick was no celebrity, not even an academic, he was not a motivational speaker, he was just an ordinary man. He is not someone who could quote Nietzsche or Shakespeare, he just quotes his dad.  For some reason he made a massive impact on the way I looked at life.

Do I really have it, I don’t think so, so what’s this stupid tumour marker, I don’t know, just do the darn tests, test after test for nearly two and half years.  MRI’S, CT Scan’s, PET Scans, Endoscopy, Colonoscopy, Cystoscopy, every type of scan and every type of scope that there is, my body has endured it, over and over again.

cont…

If you havent read the first blog, it would make more sense if you read that first  The Dreaded C Word

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

The Dreaded C Word

cancer

A friend of mine asked me to write my story, my journey through cancer, struggle and survival. Initially I thought, I am no hero, me being alive is due to my luck and my fate.  I really had nothing to do with getting the cancer or getting rid of cancer. Many others have had a much harder battle than mine, with much harsher outcomes. In my case cancer was not the biggest battle, trying to find the cancer was the bigger battle.

Anyway after much thought and consultation with my husband, decided why not.  My case is still being studied and researched at the Adelaide hospital, what I had was a very rare type of cancer.  If the medics can learn from my case, so can the rest of society, I guess.

One of the things I learnt living in Australia, among the white men, is that they deal with these things in a much more open manner. Part of it has to do with educating the rest of the mass.  I remember as a young kid, I was not allowed to say I had asthma in public, my uncle didn’t have diabetes, he was just being careful.  Or you had the opposite, where you get a barrage of advice, of which ninety percent of it is incorrect.  The sentence starts with “they say apparently if you do this it will just clear in two days”. If you eat ladies finger three times a day, looking at the sun, winking with one eye, while standing on one leg and your cancer will disappear.  I am not denying the benefits of ladies finger or any other vegetable for that matter, but you simply cannot cure serious illnesses such as cancer with a vegetable. If it were possible, someone in the USA would have patented it by now and would be making a fortune.  We, the Sri Lankans, thrive on misinformation.  I guess it was the same in the West in the Elizabethan era, but the people have changed, they now demand knowledge, the doctors don’t tell you anymore, now they discuss with you, they explain it to you. So I say to anyone, who is struck with a serious illness, arm yourself with knowledge, ask questions, read and read about your condition, and with the information you have, ask more questions.

The Aussies are a tough lot.  If you look at history, their journey to Australia was an arduous one, the weak and the meek died at sea, the ones who made it here, wondered why. They were envious of those who perished at sea. The terrain they landed was terrible.  If life was so hard in the lush English soil that they had to steal that bread and hence their journey to this land, now how were they going to survive in this barren land?  Now this barren land is a major exporter of farming products. This lot didn’t make it this far to perish of starvation.  They were going to make it against all odds.  This is the reason, when this lot go out to play sports in the international arena; they get branded as being too rough. TOO ROUGH!! You should see the local games to see how rough they can be. They will continue to play with broken jaws and fingers.  Yes, you have to soldier on with pain and agony to see the end result.  When you get cancer, there is no prize for second best.  Runner up isn’t going to cut it

to be cont…..