Shweta (Blood cancer): “Shores of healing in our ship of hope.”

Blood cancer survivor from mumbai

My sister was diagnosed with blood cancer in October 2019. The thing with blood cancer is that it does not have stages like the other cancer types because no particular organ is affected the most. The human body is such that it needs consistent blood flow throughout the body. Thus, blood cancer is not recognized in stages. My sister was at the high-risk stage when we learned about her suffering. Presently, she’s in the hospital and has already undergone 3 chemotherapy cycles. It is commendable, and her body is responding well to the healing process. Additionally, she has also undergone a bone marrow transplant to ensure a speedy recovery. 

 

It is common for people to stagger when they find out that they are suffering from an illness like cancer because people often panic. But my sister is a remarkably strong lady who took it in her stride and did not lose hope. We are a close-knit family, so she probably understood that if she broke down, it would directly impact our parents and other relatives. Either way, she has always been someone to focus on the positive. It is her optimism that has shown all of us the path that everything is possible with a little courage and positivity. She was fearless and asked as many questions as she wanted to the doctors. It is an excellent sign to be engaged in the treatment and understand it before experiencing it.

One of the biggest challenges that we, as caregivers, face in the treatment is that she doesn’t feel like eating at all. Loss of appetite is a common side-effect of the heavy-dose therapy that she is receiving, so we coax her to eat, but to no avail. She has already lost around 20 kgs since the time her treatment started, so that worries us a little. Hairfall, nausea, and body pain are other side-effects that she presently experiences. 

 

Middle-class families in India often face issues with organizing finances for cancer treatment because the ground reality remains that it is an expensive affair. In such a situation, Milaap, a crowdfunding platform, was notably helpful. With the help of its services, we were able to manage the majority of the finances that we needed. I would certainly recommend it to others. Moreover, the treatment can also be a problem for those who come from not so privileged backgrounds.

Our experience with the doctors was excellent, and we haven’t faced any issues on the medical front yet. The doctors serving us are very supportive and give us adequate information. Be it from the treatment details to anything else that we need to do; the doctors have always maintained a transparent relationship with us and communicate effectively. We are indeed blessed to be surrounded by the right kind of people because it can hugely influence your treatment and recovery.

As of now, my sister does not have any dietary restrictions because, as I explained earlier, the cancer cells have not impacted any particular organ in her body. However, she needs to gain back the lost weight, and that is something which can be difficult. It is important to remember that it needs to be a healthy weight, so she will undoubtedly need to follow a balanced diet that is high on nutrition. As caregivers, we’ll also look into it and be cautious that we can motivate her as much as possible. 

 

Love may not heal cancer, but it indeed gives strength to the fighter.  My sister’s husband and children have always been by her side, and there was never a moment when we felt that her husband considered her a burden. We have seen several cases where they abandon the sufferer, but I am thankful to God for such amazing family members. Our uncles, aunts, and parents were always available. But if I need to name one exceptional person, it has to be none other than our mother. Though everyone was always there to entertain my sister and boost her morale, my mother was rock-solid support. Seeing her child have cancer may not have been easy for her, but she did not let her face or eyes reflect that.

My message to all cancer fighters is that they must not lose hope. No matter which stage you are in, you should remain optimistic that there is scope for your recovery. Medical technology has advanced a lot, so always focus on the cloud’s silver lining. If someone was diagnosed with a cancer type one year ago, please understand that the same treatment is way more advanced now. All you need to do is let go of your inhibitions. Lastly, if you face any hurdles with supporting yourself financially, please do not shy away from taking help from organizations and crowdfunding domains. Sail your ship of hope, and you will reach the shores safely!