Cancer patients in small towns

A few days back there was a question from one of the members of my support group. It was about a lady who had finished with her entire treatment. Even though she was free of all pain and other discomforts she was reluctant to go out and socialize. The reason was that she had had mastectomy and she was feeling uncomfortable about the looks. Her daughter had also mentioned that they had heard of a certain bra which could be worn by her mother to conceal the absence of her breast. But as they were living in a small town, they had no idea where to get it in her place and even the doctors could not guide her. Immediately I sent her the phone numbers of outlets in Mumbai which sell the prosthetics  and mastectomy bras. I informed her even wigs are available which could be shipped to the customer. The mother and daughter were very thankful for the info.

Now, a couple of days back, I came to know about an old friend of mine who lives in a small town down south and that she had completely withdrawn from society as she had lost her hair. She had stayed confined to the house till her hair had regrown.

These two incidents made me think. As it is in a country like India where 75000 women die of breast cancer every year, not only the awareness is low. but access to information is also poor. In the two instances that I have cited, the patients are from affluent and educated families, so that proper treatment has been carried out and lives have been saved. But the other aspects like buying a wig or a prosthetic bra was not possible. 

There is another angle to the issue. May be because the women cited in both the cases have married children who do not have much time for seeing to their social needs. Aren’t women above 50 dumped as old and treated as if they have no right to think about their looks?

I think awareness should be spread among the young people about the social and emotional needs of the elderly. They should be made to understand, just fulfilling the medical needs and sending the parents on pilgrimages or holidays is just not enough.

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New beginnings

20131231_173649It is the beginning of yet another new year! Every year we greet each other for a life filled with happiness, success, peace on earth and so on!.Most of us take these just for granted. Even I used to accept and pass on these cliches without much thought. New year used to be yet another celebration. But not this year!

Every word of greeting had a new meaning for me this year. If you suffer pain, discomfort, loss of self respect and bouts of depression for eight long months, and if your ordeal gets over exactly on the new year’s eve, then the dawn of New year means a lot to You. I cherish every greeting sent by my friends and family, even the service folk like my pest control boy. Though I didn’t party, though I didn’t attend a midnight mass like a good christian, though I didn’t churn out special dishes from my kitchen, I felt good at the stroke of 12 and happily watched the fireworks from my window. I was happy to wake up and open the facebook and to be greeted by all the friends and acquaintances.

Glad to be alive… I have lost many of my feminine attributes in this  battle with the emperor of maladies.. I am less attractive, acquired more wrinkles, more discolourations… still no problem. This is the NEW ME.  I know that I am not completely out of the danger zone. Still as I said I am glad to be alive, glad to be the life partner of the man who has proved beyond doubt that he wants me in his life, glad to be the mother who has to see the child through career, marriage and child birth.   And now I wish to mention a few people who have contributed to my recovery and my emerging of as a new woman. They are my facebook friends like Shyam shri, Adaikala Devi, Viji Venkatesh, Sheriff Mohideen, Ponni, siddarthan, Nivedita. These people used to appreciate my paintings and kept my spirit buoyant. They were giving me a therapy unknowingly. Especially shyam shri, a past student of mine, who is genuine and caring. Similarly whenever Nivi marked a ‘like’ for my work I used to feel really happy.

My doctors   vanitha Raut,. Deepak Chabbra, Amol Pradhan, Prasad Rajkar are more than doctors. They have proved to be friends who are really concerned about me.

My closest friends Snehalatha and Neetha have always been there to give me emotional support which can come only from friends.

My nieces Shanthi and Mrudhula with whom I share a deep bond used to express their love quite often.

Last, but not least, my siblings Selvaraj, Natraj, and Vedha, my sis in law Mekalai, and my nephew Naveen  have all been at my bed side many times. I have  the best family. I am also glad that my parents have passed away as they would not have been able to bear the news of my illness.

In short everything has been perfect and enabled me to witness the birth of a new year. This new Me is going to enjoy each and everyday of this new year!!!