There are times in our lives, among our successes and failures, remorse and gratitude, when we look back at certain instances of our life and wonder if it was avoidable. A lucid memory of an ailing father comes with one such kind of instance. The acquaintances visiting have appreciated my efforts towards my father’s treatment of the dreaded colorectal cancer. The situation that I talk about is certainly unavoidable yet I can’t help but think ways in which the trauma could be dealt better. My experiences with my deceased and beloved father speak more of it.
My father, diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the later part of his life was a strong willed man as characterized by his struggles towards the ailment. It was the beginning of 2018 when we came to know of his health condition, specifically of colorectal cancer cells with grade 1 lineage . Within no time we had arranged for his treatment in a local hospital of Gwalior. The doctor had been catering well to our glimmer of hope. He had been first subjected to surgery and was then given 6 chemotherapies. Soon we could see him recover and normalcy was reiterated in our lives. It was however short spanned as after a couple of months the cells started to reoccur. Reoccurrence becomes extremely difficult to accept for the patient and his family. You have just begun to register the gratitude towards life for having blessed you out of all the suffering when it’s all an utopia again. The treatment began again but the cells had already spread to more parts of his body including the liver. The disease had reached a state of being beyond cure. He could no longer digest the medicines that were prescribed to him. Soon after his weakening body had taken over his spirits and he succumbed to the disease.
What I believe is the circumstances we were in played a huge role throughout the process of his treatment. We are based in the Gwalior city of Madhya Pradesh. Gwalior, although a city is not very developed in terms of healthcare. The attitude of the people in this city towards the cure of this fatal ailment is pessimistic and they do not endow much faith in healing after one is diagnosed. My father after a tough fight had given away this pessimism. There are zillion things that can affect the struggle of the patient. It’s the responsibility of the people around to make the struggler believe that it’s not a lone battle that he’s fighting.
Researchers have given up lifetimes on bringing new forms of diagnosis and followed treatment. However how long will it be before it reaches the common mass that is made of people living in interior towns of yet to be developed countries? My father had been prescribed an ultrasound when his body had first shown symptoms of the ailment, it had been diagnosed as occurrence of stone in his stomach and the perils have been shrugged away. It’s only later and after cases of more evident symptoms that he had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Aren’t cases of such negligence by the healthcare system corrigible, so that lives irrespective of socio-economic status can be saved?
Health, I believe is not prioritised by most of us untill it’s too late. We are not ready to give up on habits for something which has only probabilities of malfunctioning. Very insensitively we fail to realise the gravity of the probability of a health condition, the trauma that it can bring to our lives along with our family’s. I speak of lived experiences that it is way more grave than our careless minds can think of. I believe we should pledge towards a healthy lifestyle, one that is remarked by physical exercise and nutritious food, one in which we have given up on habits that could lead us to a distorted health condition of any sort.
If you are going through the long and tiring phases of cancer, you must stay strong throughout because it’s a long way to go that demands patience. A victory against the ailment is about the patient’s strong willed resistance against it. The struggle echoes the desire to live and to defeat the ailment from its very roots.
Note: Our cancer warrior has requested not to use her / his name on the story. Hence, we have used an alias Vishal Joshi to refer to her / him. Please note that this is not the real name of our cancer warrior.