Priya Dave (Caregiver): “We still believe in magic.”

Cancer caregiver from India

My mother was originally from Gujarat but had settled in Mumbai after marriage. All her treatment took place in Mumbai, and we had the opportunity to find out about some of the best cancer doctors in this domain. My mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2004 when we found out that she had three types of cancers. It is very rare for a person to suffer from three cancers right at the time of diagnosis, but my mother was a very positive and optimistic lady. It all started when she felt she had a bloated stomach and felt extremely uncomfortable. Initially, we dismissed it, thinking it must be gas or any other digestive problem. However, it did not subside, and we felt it might be something serious. 


Our first instinct was to go for a CT scan and find out. Right at the time of diagnosis, the doctors told us that our mother was terminally ill, and there was no way in which we could heal her completely. Though we knew this truth from the beginning, we rode high on hope all along. She passed away in 2005, within eight to nine months of the diagnosis. She underwent 3 cycles of chemotherapy and 5 to 6 sittings of radiation treatment. Recently, I felt that I had a node swelling, and it could be cancerous, but my tests stated otherwise. One of the biggest fears of cancer in the family is that you can develop it as well. Thus, it is always important to be cautious and take as many precautions as possible.


Discussing the medical facilities that we got, I must say that we did not face any issues at all. The doctors did not give us false ideas of recovery. On the contrary, they were very clear that there was no scope for any healing, so advised us to keep my mother at home. Though the doctors had instructed us otherwise, we did not keep mother at home because we couldn’t let her suffer silently. She had excruciating pain and had to be rushed to a medical emergency. During the cancer treatment, she was diagnosed with diabetes and had to start taking insulin. Before this entire episode, she had no such problems. 


Several people opt for integrative cancer care because it works wonders for them. It includes alternative methods of treatment that do not serve as a substitute for chemotherapy but complement it. In my mother’s case, nothing seemed to work at all. My brother had done a lot of independent research and decided on including Ayurveda in the treatment routine. However, it failed to yield any results. Humans mostly work for their satisfaction, and we did not leave any stone unturned in my mother’s treatment. It was her motivation and positivity that kept us going even through hard times.


My mother was a remarkably strong lady. She has brought up 5 children- I have two brothers and two more sisters. She was working as a  teacher when she was young, but she had to quit the job to give us adequate time. It was her dedication and determination that she chose us over a personal career and ensured that she brought us up in the best way possible. After a while, she started giving tuition sessions where she would teach other children and make a living, contributing to the family’s budget. If I actually start narrating incidents of her sacrifice and all that she has done for us, I can write multiple books. I have a childhood full of tales and youth full of moments where my mother was my role model. 


My husband was a great source of support to me during the  tough time because when someone is in such a situation, you need not only financial aid but also emotional support. In fact, every family member was there to help one another. It is times like these when you recognize how close your family is and who will support you for real. Thankfully, I am blessed with good-hearted people around me who understand the importance of sentiments and emotions. 

Last but not the least, I do not have any complaints with doctors or life in general. My mother always taught us to be grateful and to believe in miracles. Though she knew that any day could be her last, she clung to hope. She believed in medical advancement and wanted to give life another chance. If you think from a sufferer’s perspective, you will realize that it was absolutely not easy for her to see each day slipping away and yet remain optimistic. Since the time that I was a kid, my mother was my superhero, and every day that I spent with her will always remain my favorite. And yes, I still believe in magic!