AN OPEN LETTER TO CANCER

I hate yoy
I hate you

Dear Cancer,

I hate you. I wrote “Dear” out of courtesy, so don’t be flattered..please. It’s been over a month since you took my sister away. why? What good it did to you? Do you have any emotion? Oh..how stupid of me to ask you this. We all know that you are a cruel monster. You have an insatiable hunger. You are a killer on the loose.

So suddenly you knock on our door with thunder. The news was unbelievable. One fine day my sister got diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Cancer??? In my family??? It was a shock for all of us.She was down with fever,and abdominal pain and swelling and was being treated for that.But CANCER???? OK….news absorbed. Which stage???? III C??? What? It was crashing. Why, my dear cancer,why? Why did you skip all the stages and make your presence known at such an advance stage? Oh..I suspect that,no, I firmly believe that you were always there hiding inside her and killing her life cells silently. While you were sitting inside her, did you ever realise that she was a young woman in her early thirties and she had a whole life to be lived, if not enjoyed? Did you notice that she was a mother of two very small kids, one of whom just started going to school? I am sure, you must not have noticed that she was a wife, a daughter, a sister, a daughter-in-law, a friend too. Forget about grown ups, but did it ever occur to you that her kids need her? Did you ever gave a thought that what happens to a man whose beloved life partner is diagnosed with cancer? It is devastating. You must not have considered about the parents who gave her the life which you were planning to take away. And you have absolutely no idea about feelings of the siblings who shared an era full of love, memories and togetherness with your victim. We were in shock. We all were disheartened. And most of all, did you try to feel the feelings of the very person who was diagnosed with YOU? Strange, but she was not afraid of you but was scared of the treatment. The word “Chemotherapy” frightened her. She was terrified that she would lose all her hair, all her beauty. The big question was all over her face that why did it happen to her. Yes, even I ask you…why her? She didn’t smoke, she didn’t drink, she always ate hygienic food,she was a good person and never hurted anyone. There was no history of any type of cancer in our family. why did you choose her? Well, I know that you can strike anyone and if you had your way, you would spare no one.

But we all gathered our courage and decided to fight you. She lived in a small town which had no good medical facility. So, we went to the best cancer hospital. We had to make a few arrangements but we were all in this together. Now, you don’t want to know about these arrangements.We all had to leave important things and duties back home to be with her.Life is always about priorities, right?

We had to wage a war against you. We were ready. After endless tests and diagnostics, she was admitted to the hospital. We were relieved a bit. We had heard that cancer is no more incurable these days. We knew, we had a long battle to fight but totally believed that we’ll win in the end. The treatment included few cycles of chemotherapy followed by surgery. The weekly cycles of chemo started. She started showing severe side effects. She started losing her hair rapidly. she was supposed to eat a very healthy and high protein diet but you made her puke all the time. You took her taste and she started disliking the food, even the smell of it made her sick. She started losing her physical strength but mentally she wasn’t giving up. We always had to console her, support her and assure her that it will be over soon and she would be able to live a normal life again. We could swear that despite having such extreme side effects, she was showing slight signs of recovery. But you were not liking this. You rejoice in other people’s suffering. You had to play villain. After only 4 weeks, the doctors told us that she wasn’t responding to the chemo; her disease was very aggressive and she became resistant to the chemotherapy. Oh c’mon cancer, can you really do that? You can never count our tears and fears after listening to that. But again we regained ourselves. Doctors had to move on to 2nd line of chemotherapy now. You must be smiling that time na? You knew that after failure of 1st line of chemo, success rate of any further therapy declines. We had to take chance. Obviously, we couldn’t tell this to her. We agreed and doctors went ahead with the next line of therapy. And you, being a jerk, never let her chemos stick to the schedule. Oh and the excuses…. sometimes due to low platelets, sometimes due to poor general condition. Did you feel her desperation, whenever her chemo was postponed? With all her mental strength, she used to eat whatever she could to gain physical strength. But you are such a foul player, you couldn’t see even that. You remember, what you did this time? You snatched her chance and ability to eat. Yes, you deliberately caused intestinal obstruction so that she couldn’t digest anything whatever little she was eating. A nasogastric tube had to be inserted. We thought and hoped that this would stay for only couple of days but NO SIR, that was going to stay for a very long time. It was a bad news,Not for you. According to doctors, the disease was badly spreading and causing this blockage and until and unless the disease comes under control, she has to be like that. And worst thing was that even 2nd line of chemo wasn’t working. She was deteriorating and you were progressing. You progressed from stage 3 to stage 4. You had already taken over her abdomen, now you started taking over her lungs. Do you remember the fear and pain that she had while ascitic fluids were drained from her chest and abdomen? Damn you Beast! You stopped her chemos and left her in no condition to undergo surgery. She was put on IV nutrition only. Were you really happy to see her deprived of food? She so wanted to eat and chew and taste but wasn’t allowed. This killed us. We stopped eating food in front of her.

Doctors gave up. She won’t survive,they said. Doctors wanted to keep her under palliative care. But we couldn’t give up. We changed the hospital thinking that another team of doctor may save her. I’ll spare you the details but you must have had a good laugh when after losing lot of money, lot of patience, lot of strength and quite some time, another team of doctors also gave up. They said bluntly that she wouldn’t live long. We tried to forget the meaning of shock and fear. We had to protect her, not only from you but also from her knowing that she was going to die. We couldn’t sit idle and waiting for her to die. Now What? You couldn’t defeat our spirit. With strong will power and positive thoughts, any battle can be won. So now what?

Now…..Another team of doctors, another hospital ,another city. It was a punch on your face, when those doctors took her under their care and much to our astonishment said that since chemo hasn’t been working on her, they would go for surgery and remove her cysts and tumour whatever your part was there and chemo would be followed after that. They were very positive that she being so young, would be able to deal with the trauma and would survive. That was the only way out. Oh, and by the way, it wasn’t a punch, it was a kick on your face. And you took it very personally, right? When doctors opened her abdomen to remove you, you showed them your ugliest face. Your tentacles were so badly spread that doctors found  her to be inoperable. They stitched it back. It was just a cut and shut operation. That was cold blooded,Mr cancer. Blow below the belt.

We were crestfallen. How would we tell her that her surgery was done but not done? You killed her hopes. You murdered our hopes. You made us lie to her that it was a partial surgery, some of the tumors were removed and she would undergo another surgery after recovering this. And she believed. We fooled her. But for how long? We knew that the battle was lost. She wouldn’t survive the trauma. Ever wondered, how broken our hearts were when we called her kids to the hospital so that she could see her kids before her departure from this earthly abode? The little kids never knew that they won’t see their mother anymore.  We pleaded with you to have mercy on her. We prayed to God to show some miracles. But all our prayers, all our pleadings went to the deaf ears. She was suffering. Nothing could comfort her. She was fed up of her condition and didn’t want to live anymore. She realised that nothing was working in her favour. Now she was pleading with me to kill her. Do you have any idea what must I have felt at that time? Few months back, we were praying for her life and now we were asking God to call her to be with HIM, to give her a peaceful death.We never thought that we would have to do that for one of our very own. I don’t know why your heart melted a bit. You put her in coma. She was dying but wasn’t conscious of her suffering. Slowly by slowly, you were eating her. After just a few days, there came a day when we knew that she wasn’t going to survive the night.

And you took her. You took her without giving a second thought about the parents who lost their child right before their eyes and they couldn’t do anything. You took her without glancing back at her brother and sister who lost their sister and they couldn’t protect her. You took her without ever realising that how would her husband and kids bear this unbearable loss. This is a loss that can never be repaired. You took her but can never take her memories.

Now, we all are very scared. We think that you can lay your hands on anyone. I live on edge now. At every discomfort, I think that you are knocking at my door. I really want to make peace with you but one last note for you : I hate you!

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7 Comments

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  1. That’s a raw and powerful account in which I recognise so much. I hope it helps somewhat to have written it. May she rest in peace. My thoughts are with you. Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aw, I’m so glad I found you. I am so so sorry about the loss of your sister. I’d be devastated and in her 30s? That’s just terrible.

    I hope you and your family are doing ok. 😦

    Cancer sucks. Cancer just sucks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. am sorry for your pain and loss.

    a nd on another level i am angry because I think that it is greed that is impacting innocent victims -greed to multiply crops irrespective of the harmful effects of fertiliser, genetic modifications for higher yields, additions of preservatives to increase shelf life, pollution of environment etc all make us vulnerable to the ‘beast’.

    I’ve lost relatives too …and felt so helpless. you have articulated the battle well. again sorry at the way out turned out. May she find eternal peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for being with me through this.
      What you said is absolutely true. Even I feel the anger and helplessness at the same time. GM crops, cows injected with hormones, polished grains,ooh..the list is endless. No more idea about what is to be called a healthy diet.
      Thanks once again.

      Like

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