Dhiman Chatterjee (Blood Cancer Caregiver): Positivity Is A Way Of Life

We take life for granted, but we should live our life to the fullest. We should keep our life simple and enjoy our precious life.

Blood Cancer Diagnosis

She didn’t have any symptoms as such for her Blood Cancer. She had been complaining of fatigue, but we dismissed it as she was busy with her work and regular tours for official purposes. She also developed a headache, which continued for more than a week, and slowly she developed trouble walking also. At this point, we went to a doctor who advised us several Blood Tests.

The laboratory called us and said that her sample might be contaminated as her reports were not normal, and we gave the samples again. We went to another laboratory and got the test done, but the next day we got to hear the same thing: there might be something wrong.

Her WBC counts were exceptionally high, and our doctor asked us to consult a hematologist. After looking at the reports, the hematologist said it seems like Leukemia. We got a few more genetic tests, and once the reports came, we got to know it was ETP Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a type of Blood Cancer.

Blood Cancer Treatment

We went to Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, and many of our friends helped and guided us in the process. We were in denial, and we didn’t think it would happen because it’s the last thing anyone would want to hear. Eventually, we accepted it and got ready to fight.

Her Chemotherapy started on 8th March, and later, she started consoling me. I believe we should not lose hope initially; let’s start the treatment and go with it.

As for side effects due to the Blood Cancer treatment, her platelets, WBC counts and hemoglobin started decreasing. She used to eat papaya to increase the Platelet counts. She used to walk a lot during her treatment. She started having hair fall, so she got herself shaved. She embraced her new look, and I also shaved myself to support her more.

Caregivers too suffer a lot on the cancer journey. My wife used to fix a routine, and I had to have my food when she eats anything. She knew that once I skip my meal, it will be skipped for the whole day, so she asked me to eat whatever snacks I could. I used to eat whatever she ate because I thought it would not make her feel alone.

The doctor asked us to go for a bone marrow transplantation because that was the best option left for us. We approached stem cell donor banks. I think we should all register for stem cell donation as we can save a life through the simple process. We got a donor, and she got admitted for her transplantation. Bone marrow transplantation is a very expensive procedure, but we managed it anyway. She underwent many things before her transplantation, and then she underwent her bone marrow transplantation in 2019.

Everything was going fine, but her immunity was low, and she developed a CMV infection. This infection created havoc in her body. Her counts dropped, and due to the CMV virus and her low immunity, she developed an autoimmune disease. It affected her brain and breathing capacity. She was on the ventilator for two and a half days.

Though she was in a BMT ward where no one is allowed to enter, the doctor allowed us to meet her because she wanted to meet her family members. Even while being on a ventilator, she asked me why I was there and not in the office as it was a weekday; that’s was her spirit, and she was so active in her work. She could not manage to overcome it, and on 18th January, she left for her heavenly abode right in front of my eyes.

She was always very positive and had even kept her WhatsApp status that positivity is a way of life.

The doctors and the hospital staff have helped us immensely, and I am very grateful for that. Many beautiful souls helped us a lot, and I can never forget that. I am grateful to every single person who was with us on our journey.

Conversation with Caregiver Dhiman Chatterjee
Conversation with Caregiver Dhiman Chatterjee
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Parting Message

Be positive, eat healthily, exercise properly, take the medications on time and keep smiling. Enjoy every moment of your life. No one can change what is going to happen but let us make the best of the moment. Caregivers need to take care of themselves too.

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