Suman (Breast Cancer):”Hope is a great thing to hold on.”

suman varma breast cancer caregiver

Suman Varma’s mother was diagnosed with the first stage of asymptomatic breast cancer twenty years ago. She shares her story as a caregiver and a daughter who fought with all her might to save her mother from the dreaded disease:

Rudimentary:

Twenty years ago, computers and google had just arrived. It was traumatic back then. We did not even know what questions should we ask the doctor. A boy from our office had gone through chemo, and I asked him whether chemo is a pill or a tablet. He laughed at me and asked me to google information about cancer. That set off my journey towards understanding this disease. By the time it was the second chemo, we had downloaded several hundred pages of information.

Challenges/Side:

Effects My mother had two remissions. But when cancer knocked on our doors for the third time and metastasized to several parts of the body, it was challenging, but the brave mother & daughter felt we could conquer it.

Family Support :

It was a difficult journey for all of us. But my mother was extremely graceful. There was some amount of bravado in the way we handled it. Partly, because of the asymptomatic nature and slightly because we were sub-consciously in denial. I never gave up HOPE except on the last day when the doctor said, “the game is over.” I pushed him aside and said, “go home. She is my mother, and I am not giving up” only to be proven wrong.

Lessons:

If you know what the illness will do to your body, you will prepare your mind a little better. It was extremely traumatic towards the end. Dimple Parmar’s ZenOnco.io and Love Heals Cancer taught me that eating the right kind of food, right medicines, and lifestyle changes can go a great way in healing.

 

The treatment many years ago was rudimentary, unlike today. My mother’s condition was asymptomatic. Therefore, she has never experienced what other people go through. I am working closely with the board of Win Over Cancer to help increase awareness about the disease.

Parting Message:

It tears you down to see your loved ones going through physical pain. The brighter part is that people are a lot more hopeful today because of increasing awareness. There is a lot more emotional and personal care given to patients as well as caregivers today. Cancer is not just for the patient. It’s for the entire family. In hindsight, I also feel that HOPE is a great thing to hold on to when reality sings a different tune.