Posted in True Story, Inspirational

If Only, I Could Turn Back The Clock … (part 9)

dad lab

Jana came running back as soon as she heard what unfolded that morning.  Mum and cuz Sulo got back from the hospital.  An uncomfortable silence kept the room still.  We each avoided eye contact.  Thangamma served the food for us and served her plate too and sat down with a heave.  I am not sure where the food came from either.  I cant remember anyone cooking. Maybe it was left overs.  We all ate in silence.  Even Jana was quiet.  She is never quiet. But tonight she was.

What now, another surgery I guess. After dinner Jana and I went to see our cousin Sulo to get some medical know how.  I don’t even know who suggested and came up with idea.  Cuz Sulo’s house felt heavy too.  She never stops singing or humming.  But tonight she was all done.  We asked her what now? another surgery?  She shook her head, “I don’t really know, It may be too close for another surgery”.  I think she knew, just that she didn’t really want to know.

I don’t know how long we were there for, and what we spoke about.  I think we all just sat in three different chairs and pondered to our selves. We both got back home and went to bed straight away. Jana slept on the next bed.  Mum and Thangamma were in the next room.  My memory is rather foggy, I can’t even be sure if Thangamma was there that night or for that matter in the morning or had she returned to TRI a couple of days ago.  But I know for sure that Jana was right next to me.

I had issues with the clock and sheep the whole night.  Sheep kept multiplying and the clock refused to move.  I think mum had the same problem in the next room.  By five o’clock we both gave up on sleep and sheep, and got to the kitchen the same time.  We made our coffees and sat down to discuss what to take for dad.  Usually mum would pack fresh clothes and some home cooked food for dad.  Velu stayed the night with him.  But on this day, we didn’t know what to pack.

We hear Parames Mami’s voice.  I think she was relieved to see lights switched on in our house indicating we were up.  She never visits us this early.

It’s Dad’s birthday tomorrow.  I so, don’t want to continue any further.  But I think I ought to.  Just because I suppress the memory, it doesn’t mean, that it doesn’t exist or it didn’t occur.  I turned fifty this year. I guess I am big girl now.  But in my heart I am still daddy’s little girl.

Parames Mami didn’t have to say anything, she just held her arms wide to hug mum, and mum and I started to weep.  It’s all a blur after that.

Dad never got to see my funny birthday card. Dad didn’t get a chance to approve (or disapprove) Ganesh.   Although I have a feeling he knew something.  He did mention to me once, quite randomly, “Ganesh is a nice boy isn’t he?”.  I really like to think he did and he was happy for me. More than anything, Dad never got to meet his two amazing grand kids and vice versa.  I have in time learnt to accept it as, “it’s fate”, “it was not meant to be”.In actual fact, it is just chants copied from others as a coping mechanism.

All this from start to finish, was just sixteen days.  The clock was ticking and turning a day at a time.  Each day with a twist, turn and at times with another nail for the box. We had no idea, that the clock was still ticking. Even when we thought that it had stopped and time had stood still, it was really still ticking.

This story has no happy ending. But, I guess that is life, it doesn’t always give you the results you demand or deserve.  We just have to remember the ticking clock stops for no one, make the most of life while it’s still ticking.

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

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Posted in Daily post, True Story, Inspirational, Word prompt

If Only, I Could Turn Back The Clock … (part 8)

dad lab

After mum and Cuz Sulo left for the hospital, Velu, Thangamma and self started on the cleaning. For the rest of the world they were just two hired aides, but for mum and dad they were like family, for V and T as well, mum and dad were like surrogate parents, they cared for dad not just for the pitiful salary they earned, but because they were treated like equal humans, they knew this was a couple who genuinely cared for their well being.

In most houses, they were not allowed to sit on your normal sofas, the aide/help would either have a small stool or they would sit on the floor, they would have separate plates and drinking glasses, slightly inferior in quality, may even have a chip on them. Never in par with the owners of the house. It was never the case in our house.    Dad felt a terrible sadness and guilt at the plight of the poor.  Time to time Dad would talk about it and say to me, “I know I can’t save them all, in the scheme of things, maybe what I or us as a family, what we do, may not make a difference, but for that one person that we helped, it would make the world of difference”. I know he was just repeating what he had heard or read somewhere.  But within him, he wished he could change the world, or at least this society, change the way people treated each other. He would say “it costs the same to smile at a rich man and a poor man”.

I think the above paragraph is my procrastination or hesitation to write what happened next. Where I was going with all that was, V and T were as excited as me of the arrival of dad. I was holding the ladder for Velu who was now attacking the cobwebs on the ceiling.  Thangamma decided to leave us with the cleaning, she wanted to make some cutlets (a Sri Lankan delicacy – fish balls), it was dad’s favourite.  And it would be a great thing to serve to guests who would visit.

The phone rang.  It sounded the same as when dad rang to say that he was coming for my birthday, then again it sounded the same when he rang to say that he was not coming, he was unwell.  The ringtone never changed, just the tone of the messages kept changing.  It wasn’t me who answered the phone, my cuz’s mother-in-law did.  So, I don’t know the exact words that were parted by my cousin.

It wouldn’t have mattered anyway.  I don’t think I heard all the words.  Parames Mami (cus sulo’s mother-in-law) came up the stairs.  She called my name out as she came up the stairs.  She was out of breath.  But she, does pay us random visits like this all the time.  So, I didn’t think much of that.  I answered “Om mami” (meaning yes aunty), She told Velu to come down the ladder, not sure what happened after that.  I am not sure if I was sitting or standing, what words were used.  No, I can’t remember the chain of events.

Dad had another aneurysm the night before.  He had gone into a coma.  Cuz Sulo unaware of all this had skipped to his bedside joyfully with Hi mama (uncle).  She was surprised that there was no response .  There was no smile on Dad’s face.  Just a fixed gaze to the distance.  She knew there was something wrong.  She looked at his bed notes.  It was really wrong.  She had a chat to the nurses, and her worst fears were confirmed.

Parames Mami asked all the cooking and cleaning to be stopped for now.  Well, no one was in the right frame of mind to continue anyway.  She told me to get ready and we were going to the temple.  I obeyed.  No tears as yet.  I was dumbfounded.  Wish Jana was with me at that moment. She had just left that morning to see her dad and brother.  Not sure what Velu and Thangamma did after that.  I left for the temple.

We did some pooja’s in dad’s name.  It was all rather mechanical.  I just repeated the rituals as others performed.  After all the poojas, touching the idols, kneeling on the ground, flowers, pottu ( red powder and yellow paste in separate containers, you use your middle finger to dip in to these containers and wear it on your forehead), we sat down to meditate on our own.  I could feel the tears escaping my eyes and now rolling down my cheeks.  I dipped my head, so no one could see me crying. I can’t remember the conversation between god and me.  I didn’t bother asking him “Why me? What did I do wrong ?” I just wanted him to fix it.  I was asking him very humbly.  I was scared of getting him on the wrong side, didn’t want to jeopardize my chances.  I will do anything, I will give up anything.  I was trying to bribe god.  I understand the stupidity of it now.  But I didn’t then.

Cont….

 

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

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

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

 

Posted in Daily post, True Story, Inspirational, Word prompt

If Only, I Could Turn Back The Clock … (part 6)

dad lab

It was such a relief to see dad being wheeled back.  We were informed that the surgery went well.  He was back in the ICU.  A part of his hair was shaved and had a cone shaped bandage around the head.  He was not conscious as yet. We were only allowed to peak through the window.  Maybe tomorrow said the nurse.  Maybe tomorrow he will walk and talk again as normal. Maybe tomorrow he will hold me and say everything’s going to be alright.  Tomorrow looked so promising.  Today was turning out to be better than I feared.

Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow were getting better.  We were able to see dad, two people at a time with special head nets and socks.  Dad would take mum and my hand and kiss it.  His eyes looks welled. It was saying I love you and thank you.  It may have also been to say sorry for putting you’ll through this. He looked weak, and spoke very softly.  But that smile was still pretty strong.  Very infectious too.  It brought a smile back on my face.

I was ever so grateful to God.  Cuz Sulo’s mother-in-law Paremes Mami (mami is aunty in tamil) started to take me to the temple quite regularly.  I shunted between a Hindu temple, the popular St. Anthony’s Church and a Buddhist temple.  I am not sure if my belief was, if I pray to god he will give my dad back or just a place and time for me to just meditate in silence.  In each place the I performed the rituals without much thought, mostly followed what others were doing. But the rituals helped. I think it took me to a calmer place. Lighting a candle in the church gave me hope, touching the stone idols in the temple gave me assurance that I’ve been heard.  Laying a lotus flower in front of The Buddha statue gave me peace.  Now, I don’t believe that it is God’s job to look after the individual needs of each person.  “why save my dad or my child just because I ask him”, I don’t think he/she would be that petty minded or vain to think that our prayers and wishes are what he answers to.  But back then I wanted to believe that my prayer was going to be answered.

Things were going really great now.  It is now nearly fourteen days since all the drama started.  Dad was coming home tomorrow.

Cont…

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

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

Posted in Australian Politics, Daily post, Sri Lankan Politics, True Story, Inspirational

My Island Paradise

Sri-Lanka (3)

The pearl of the Indian Ocean, once the envy of the east, now torn and battered, gasping, clutching at the last straws to survive another day.  Is it the end of the civil war or just cease fire for another eruption, for another day for another cause?

A lot has happened since the start of the civil war, loss of my friend and then my departure to Australia.  Before I go any further I like to dedicate this story/writing/rant to my late friend Lalith Gunesinghe.  This is not all about Lalith.  But Lalith’s passing was the main reason for me to analyse what happened, what went wrong in my place of paradise.

I have no illusions of changing the mindset of the Sri Lankan’s, but I do hope that I make at least an iota of difference in someone’s thinking, especially of those from Australia, or at least amongst the young generation to make them think, make them aware of what actually happens in a war.  More importantly when you hear it on the news, it is just data and that of distorted data, words such as “casualties” are thrown around, just a mere number, their names are not important, I understand that there are too many of them, but there lies a real person, he is a dad, a son, a brother or even a friend. This person is going to be missed by all, and not just for that moment, but for years and years to come.

My name is Uma Sivapalan. To a Sri Lankan this name would explain that I am a female of Tamil origin and most likely a Hindu. My friend Lalith Gunesinghe was a Sinhalese male.It is, if the name was Mc Donald it is very likely the person is of Scottish decent, likes the bottle with the walking man and has a good command of the“f” word. Lalith’s name doesn’t really stipulate that he was Buddhist, but most likely.  Some of those who converted to Christianity during the English  colonisation  did not change their surnames.  But Lalith was a Budhist from the Kandy region.  Upper Class.  My forefathers came from the North of the country Jaffna.  Again from the right class and stock.

History is usually written by the victor.  But what saddens me most is not that History could be biased.  But, we use history for the wrong reasons.  We should learn from our mistakes, but preserve the good.  We constantly do it in reverse.

Sri Lanka is a very small Island with a big population. Most of us are not even Christians, but we believed in “go forth and multiply”.  It is made up of Sinhalese (majority), Tamils, Muslims and Burghers. Languages spoken are Sinhala, Tamil and English.  Not sure why we did not adapt Portuguese and Dutch. We took their surnames and cooking but not their languages. Thank god we didn’t look to the English for cooking tips.  We stopped at sipping the tea.  We copied a bit of the singing and dancing from the Portuguese as well.   Budhism and Hinduism came from India.  With the invasions of the west, some of us converted to Christianity.  Islam came from the Arab traders.

I think what baffles most of the westerners who have visited the island is that, if you take the individual Sri Lankan, he is a very peaceful and lovable person. They are renowned for their generosity and friendship, how can such a lot then be involved in a terrible war, where they killed their own. Yes, we killed our own. Yes, you can separate them as per their language/dialect they speak.  But, we are really the same.  Some Tamils, who are now residing in different countries, have taken a stance to say that theyare not Sri Lankan’s.  I understand their reasons, but finding it hard to condone it fully.

We look the same, brown skin, black hair, dark eyes etc. Act the same way when someone asks you “are you from India?”. I am still to witness a Sri Lankan, who takes more than two seconds to say, “NO I AM FROM SRI LANKA ”.  We respond as if we’ve been called  a pariah. In this we become SriLankans.  It may be a tiny isle, but it has its own identity, New Zealand is not Australia.

As a Tamil, I understand why some of the Tamils have disowned their birth place.  I sometimes wonder if I am a Sri Lankan or an Australian.  Am I being unfaithful to Australia, when I secretly wish Sri lanka doesn’t lose badly in the cricket?  Am I being unfaithful to Sri Lanka when I support Australia over my birth place? For some Aussies they can’t understand why I don’t support Sri Lanka, for some others it definitely has to be Australia, I have adopted this country that means I should support everything Australia.  If not I am being unfaithful.  It’s not that easy or simple.  It’s like when you get married, now you have another set of family and an extended family.  Just because you love your husband doesn’t mean you hate your parents or siblings.  The love and affection you have for you’re in laws will depend on each ones experience.  And hence the reason why migration either works or doesn’t work.  The answer is not one size fits all.  It depends on both parties as well.  And if you love or hate your birth place will depend on your individual circumstance.  I will revisit this area again later, why for me I cannot join the collective hate nor love for Sri Lanka.

It is now over 25 years in Australia, most of it spent in Sydney and the last ten years or so in Adelaide.  Altogether I have lived more of my living years in Australia than in Sri Lanka.  Does it make me an Australian or Sri Lankan? Legally yes I am Australian, but within me who do I want to be? More importantly what does the rest of Australia accept me as?

I feel like an adopted child who is extremely happy with her adopted parents.  Have the same anguish and disappointment of my birth parent Sri Lanka.  I did nothing wrong, but she still let me down.  I don’t really care, I am in a good place, in fact I am in a better place, the best place, but it still hurts.

Cont…

The above is a story I am currently in the process of writing.  I was not going to publish this until I completely finish it and analyse it, as I have a feeling I am going to annoy a lot Tamils as well as Sinhalese with I say and reveal.

The reason for me to publish some of it today is because My New Island Paradise Australia is showing signs of falling pray to racism.  I am really upset and annoyed.  Every time a foreign celebrity, accuses Australia of being racist, I keep defending and say “Nah” they are just open about what they say, absolutely amazing people.  Just a small minority is spoiling it for everyone.

I am posting my story because I want you numb nuts to know that there is nothing amazing about going to war.  Not within your own country.  You may not know it, but this is just a paradise.  Please don’t spoil it because your kids wants Kung Pao Chicken for dinner and not your pot roast.

A vote for Pauline Hanson is a vote for racism.  Come on guys we can do better than that.  I am not saying we don’t have issues with refugees and migration. But we need to address them in a democratic way.

Imagine if your child is born being hated.  Where do you think he will end up.  That’s exactly where you are sending the Muslim kids to.  Straight to ISIL.  In my view anyone who engages in hate speech/rally is also a Terrorist.  Well, if you see a bunch of Muslims gathered and say bad things about Christians what would you call them?

I am skeptical about churches and priests after, what I’ve heard of the horrors that happened behind certain doors.  Yes, I am angry with all the churches and priests.  As in my mind even if you didn’t commit the crime, you allowed it to go on, so you are guilty too.  You don’t want to know what I think of Cardinal Pell.  But do I then go on to hate my neighbor who is a Catholic too?

The question of whether Islam is a religion of Peace or not is another ludicrous argument.  All religions are meant to be peaceful, But every religion or it’s followers manage to make it as vile as possible.  Every religion, at one time or another has been the cause of some misery.  Because religion is in the hands of the man, he will twist it and turn it to suit him. Let’s stop blaming religions and blame the actual culprits.  Let’s stop generalizing  a whole group of people and address the individuals who commit the crime.

I think I have vented enough.  World Peace seems far away.  But, ever the optimist, will sign of demanding for one.

Daily post word prompt: Island

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

Posted in True Story, Inspirational, Word prompt

Fifty and I know it…

50

Fifty and a day old.  Don’t feel any different.  But there has been a gradual transformation. Embryo to Fifty !! Pretty good effort on my part.  Mum had five miscarriages.  I said none of that, I am COMING, here I am ready or not.  Well not exactly those words.  But that’s what I did.  Born a survivor, I am still here kicking and screaming,  time to time, I had to keep reminding the man up there about it. (it could be man or woman,  I have no issues with either sex as the god).

Embryo to Now, pretty big transformation.  Body. Mind and Soul.  Caterpillar, cocoon to a butterfly. (I think, I got a bit ahead of my self there.  So I may not exactly be a butterfly more like a moth).

The core of me is still there, but the mind has gathered more thoughts, freedom, compassion, empathy along the way.  Transformation has been slow, but it has happened.

No Regrets.

written in response to today’s daily word prompt

 

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

 

 

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, Uncategorized

The Dreaded “C” Word (part 7)

cropped-cancer.jpg

Relationship with my mum was getting a lot better.  Mum was already a volunteer worker at St. Vincent De Paul and World Vision.  But after she moved to her new place, she had started to work at the Cheltenham Community Centre as well, teaching sewing to migrants.  She was starting to enjoy having her freedom.  Mum had also started to going for computer and swimming classes.  We would visit her every Saturday for an authentic Sri Lankan feed.  Our kids would go and spend a night or two during school holidays.  Both parties enjoyed playing scrabble and monopoly.  They were very proud to see their grandmother on face book. They would help her with technical issues and so on.

Adelaide was having a horrid summer.  This was almost the 5th day of a heat wave.  Nil by mouth on a day like this was extremely hard.  Anyway went under the knife, around 4.00pm. Not sure how long the surgery was for. First night was in the CCU (Critical Care Unit).  Next morning I slowly walked to the toilet to have a wash and change with the help of the nurse.  I was a bit sore but I was able to talk and I was on my feet, I was rather radiant and happy.  It could have been the effects of all the morphine from the night before.  Just after the wash I threw up.  I usually have that reaction the day after anaesthesia.  I guess most people do.  So no big fuss about that and I was now transferred to the normal ward.

Hubby came to see me with a paper article in his hand.  It was Arj on the paper, he had given an interview about the short film he had done a couple of months ago.  I proudly showed the article to the nurse.  The vomiting continued.  I couldn’t keep anything down.   Throat surgery and vomiting doesn’t go hand in hand. I was put on anti nausea medication.  I was now moved to a private room.  I was meant to be going home on the 4th or the 5th day.  It was now the 5th day.  The vomiting hadn’t stopped and I was still on IV Fluids.  So they decided to have me in for another couple of days.  Adelaide heat wave was still ramping up.  Even the hospital A/c was finding it hard to cope.  The heat, vomiting and pain all combined I was struggling a bit at times.

It was probably the 5th or the 6th day. The doctor came around lunch time, about 1.00pm to see me.  This was rather unusual.  He normally sees me in the morning.  I was on my own. Hubby only comes in the evening with the boys.  He smiled and asked how I was doing.  I said “not bad”, he gently started to talk.  My test results of the Thyroid lump had come through.  Well, I have Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma.  A very rare type of thyroid cancer.  He sat on the edge of my bed and repeated “bugger, bugger, bugger”.  Not exactly professional for a doctor.  I’ve never seen him like this.

On the contrary I was rather calm.  I am really not sure how or why.  I guess I already had an inclination, that maybe this could be it.  To a certain extent I felt relieved.  We finally found it.  So I asked the doctor rather calmly “what next”. That’s pretty much me at most situations, “Madam your flight has been cancelled” and I would say “what your next flight?” then the rest of organising, I would let the pickup person know etc. You have to be practical about these things. I usually don’t see the point in fretting over things. So the news of cancer got the same treatment. Dr. Kollias either thought that I was a fruit cake or he was relieved that I was not bawling my eyes out. He straightened up.  He told me that he had already spoken to my husband.  The next step is to remove the rest of the thyroid and surrounding lymph nodes etc. And he went on to say that this totally explains the raised CEA marker.  I asked him if I had to go through Chemotherapy.  He said that Chemo and radio therapy does not work with this type of cancer.  At that stage I didn’t really understand the full extent of this particular cancer.  I didn’t realise that if it had spread then I wouldn’t have much of a fighting chance.  The talk of cancer had become so routine I was treating this as another procedure for a scan.

So the next surgery was scheduled in two days.  I had to go in for another scan and a few more blood tests.  It was the day of the second surgery, I was in immense pain already, the thought of the doctor opening up the same wound and fiddling around, made me feel nervous.  My blood pressure was sky rocketing.  I took the last sip of water before the NIL By mouth curfew sets in.

I looked at the picture that was hanging on the wall. It was the picture of Venice. It was of a couple on the gondola. Venice has been on my bucket list for a long time.  There are many beautiful places in the world and I would love to see them all.  However, Venice is the only one I have put on my Bucket List. Well I haven’t crossed that off the list yet I thought.  I stared at that picture again.  I thought to myself, “Nah, It’s not my time yet, I haven’t been to Venice” I imagined the “nah” with an Aussie accent, well pretty much the whole sentence in the most bogan accent.  Rather laid back, but with conviction.  Not sure if the big man up there had a part in placing that picture, or just a mere coincidence.  But the picture served its purpose.  Your inspiration or conviction can come from anything.  And it doesn’t matter where it comes from.  It could be a picture of Venice, it could be the picture of the flower that blooms only once a year or just the thought of your kids. Just use any lame excuse to say “I have to be here”.

When I got wheeled in for the surgery I met the whole team the Anaesthetist, the Surgeon and the nurses.  I was probably prepped a little bit so I was already rather happy and mellow.  The surgeon mentioned to Anaesthetist not to use the same medicine as last time as that didn’t agree with me, and the Anaesthetist said “I am well ahead of you sir, I have a different plan this time”  and I asked him “what to knock me out with a frying pan”  We all had a chuckle.

Humour is very important to me.  I find this eases me and as well as those around me.  When you are going through something serious, it’s the big elephant in the room, and no one knows how to talk about it. I guess they don’t know how to behave around you.  But if you show them that you have the capacity to laugh then they will join you.  Then it becomes a happier place. A place where it’s filled with positivity and no room given for negativity or self pity.

The Anaesthetist also knew my name meant goddess of the earth.  He had Asian features. I asked him if he was from Thailand as there are many Hindus there. He said he was from Singapore and he is Chinese, however was very interested Indian culture and its stories.  I don’t remember any other conversations after that.  He must have got hold of that frying pan.

to be cont…