Veena Sharma (NHL): “Our optimism only helped my son to survive.”

Veena Sharma Single mother cancer caregiver

My son was diagnosed with cancer in April 2016 at the age of 4. All of sudden my life changed. I was clueless about what to do next with my baby. I didn’t know many people and I was not aware of cancer so much that what are the causes of cancer, what is cancer medication and best cancer treatment. So it was a very difficult time for me and my son. I struggled financially, physically, and mentally but my son and I made it. I must say my son is a fighter. By 2019, the doctor announced him as a (Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) Blood cancer survivor. Currently, he has to go through follow-up every 3-4 months and it will continue up to 2029. Apart from that, he is doing extremely well.

 

Though it is challenging to be positive and emotionally strong in this situation, that is the only thing that can help you to take care of your patient. If you become emotional, break down in front of the patient, create more stress in the patient. As an adult when a patient is aware of the severity of the disease and all the myths about cancer that survival rate of cancer is zero, it is quite difficult to stay emotionally calm during diagnosis of cancer. That is why the survival rate is higher in children because they treat cancer as any other disease being unaware of the situation. As a psychological counsellor, I would say, stay positive and think positive in these situations. That will help you to cope up. Research a lot about the best cancer hospitals, best cancer treatment you can go for according to the type of cancer.

As I said that I struggled financially as well, I would like to say to everyone out there, you must invest in medical insurance. Because when your loved one is diagnosed with cancer, you are going to be under tremendous mental and physical stress. And you will have very little time to gear up for the financial burden you are going to face. And I struggled because I handled everything single-handedly. So, I would recommend everyone to prepare for the future.

Another important support you seek is from your family. Families are of great help in this situation when you are burdened with stress. Their constant love and care can uplift the mood of the patient and the caregiver. Though I was there for my son all the time, my elder sister helped me a lot to take care of my son.

I would like to emphasize the mindset of Indian people about the disease as the mother of a cancer survivor. Two myths Indians harbour about cancer patients is that the survival rate of cancer is zero and that it is a contagious disease. Sadly, they are not even aware of the types of cancer! I was astonished to see people’s narrow-mindedness even in this century. When you need your friend’s and family’s support the most, they leave you. That needs to be changed in our country.

In the end, I would like to say that being positive is the only way you can help the patient to fight cancer. Keep friends and families close to your heart and gear up for the financial adversary.

Cancer survivor child and single mom from mumbai