Dhananjay karkhur (Breast Cancer): “My mother was a fighter”

Dhananjay Karkhur breast cancer caregiver

Breast Cancer Patient- Diagnosis

 

We hail from a small village named Morena near Gwalior. Both of my parents were working at that time in 2006 when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. I had actually overheard it from my father and sisters that she had breast cancer symptoms.

 

Breast Cancer Treatment: Surgery followed with Chemotherapy

 

She visited a doctor in Gwalior who suggested consulting an oncologist at the earliest. Since our aunt, who stayed in Delhi was a doctor; we decided to visit the cancer hospital in Delhi in the hope of finding better treatment facilities. The oncologists immediately recommended breast cancer surgery and 6 sessions of chemotherapy after it.

 

Full Recovery

 

She had no visible breast cancer symptoms at that time. Her surgery was successful, and she completed her chemotherapy sessions also. What was amazing and even shocked the doctors was that she didn’t show any side effects due to the treatment. She was so strong emotionally, which we believe helped her to recover quickly. After five years, in 2012, my mother was declared a “cancer survivor”.

 

An Arduous Multi-tasker

 

After the completion of chemotherapy, she had to take medication and visit the hospital at regular intervals for follow up for the next five years. She handled her treatment, job, and family all at the same time. Though there was full support from her family, friends, and colleagues, she loved to do all her work by herself. She was indeed a very strong woman.

  

Cancer- The Dangerous Relapse

 

Unfortunately, the story does not end there. Within 6 months, she started to have pain in her left hand and leg. The Physician in Gwalior suggested visiting the oncologist again. When we visited the same doctor in Delhi, he asked to take a PET scan.

 

The results came out with the shocking news that her cancer was back and had spread to three other organs of her body. We were furious at the doctor as barely six months after being declared cancer free, she was diagnosed with the disease again. But at that time, since her cancer treatment was more important, we transferred her treatment to another hospital in Delhi.

 

Pain and resignation

 

The second wave of cancer was much more painful than the first. She had to resign her job due to the intense pain. In 2012, she again went through six cycles of chemotherapy treatment. But unlike the first time, due to her ageing body, she suffered the side effects of chemotherapy this time. She had nausea, vomiting and lost her appetite but gradually her condition improved. She could go back to her normal life by being under constant medication, but she had lost control over her left hand.

 

Personally, it was so hard for me to look at her struggles. But due to her strong willpower, she continued to work again till she resigned from her job in 2016. She continued the medications for two and half years, but by the end of 2018, her health further deteriorated. She started having fever frequently. We panicked at her worsening condition and took her to the doctor who told us that even though the cyst had grown again, there was nothing much to be worried about.

Metastasis

 

But when we went again after 3 months, the doctor reported that the cancer had metastasized to her whole body. Her health was worsening day by day. The doctors told that surgery was not an option and chemo would be harsh on her body at this age. And even if we went forward with the chemo, there was only a 10% chance of recovery.

 

But still, on 23rd January 2019, we decided to go forward with chemo fully knowing the risk. After 2-3 days, when we went for the chemotherapy session, the doctor denied letting her go through with it looking at her health condition and reports. The doctor asked us to come after 8 days. But my mother had somehow figured out the severity of her condition and asked us to take her home. We took her home and she passed away within 8 days at the age of 63.

 

More than a Decade of Pain

 

My mother struggled with cancer for almost 15 years. But not even for a single moment did she let us feel that she was in pain. She was such a strong person, full of hope, positivity and joy.

Dhananjay Karkhur breast cancer caregiver story

Remembering her Brave Fight

 

She started yoga after her first diagnosis. She used to have papaya leaves extract and wheatgrass extract for better immunity. She always lived a healthy life. She continued her job to occupy her mind. She used to do household works by herself. My sisters helped her in the kitchen before their marriage.

 

During this whole time, my father stood by her like a pillar. He took her to office and walks daily. After he retired in 2011, he was able to spend more time with her and help her emotionally and physically. In her last few years, I also became very close to her. She had devoted herself to prayers and sometimes I had to scold her for fasting for prolonged periods in the morning. But we later figured out that she had lost her appetite due to the side effects of chemotherapy. All through her treatment days, she was hopeful of recovering completely and coming back to her normal life.

 

From the day my mother got diagnosed with cancer, my aunt and uncle in Delhi, both of whom were doctors by profession, guided and helped us a lot. My mother used to say that my aunt had become a doctor as a divine blessing to help her. They both helped us to such an extent that I’m sure without their support, my mother wouldn’t have survived this long.

 

She always had a smile on her face. We are still recovering from our loss. But I am so proud of the way she fought her battle against cancer, always with a positive attitude. She will always be my inspiration.