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Dhiman Chatterjee (Blood Cancer Caregiver): Positivity Is A Way Of Life

Dhiman Chatterjee (Blood Cancer Caregiver): Positivity Is A Way Of Life

We take life for granted, but we should live our life to the fullest. We should keep our life simple and enjoy our precious life.

Blood Cancer Diagnosis

She didn't have any noticeable symptoms of Blood Cancer at first. She had been feeling fatigued, but we thought it was just because she was busy with work and frequently traveling for business. She also started getting headaches, which lasted more than a week, and gradually, she began having difficulty walking. At this point, we consulted a doctor who recommended several Blood Tests.

The lab contacted us, indicating that her sample might be contaminated because her reports were abnormal, so we provided the samples again. We also went to another laboratory for a retest, but the next day, we heard the same concern: there might be something wrong.

Her WBC counts were exceptionally high, prompting our doctor to suggest we see a hematologist. After reviewing the reports, the hematologist suspected it was Leukemia. We proceeded with a few more genetic tests, and the results confirmed it was ETP Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a type of Blood Cancer.

Blood Cancer Treatment

We went to Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai for treatment, where many friends offered help and guidance. Initially, we were in denial, unable to accept that this was happening. But eventually, we faced the reality and prepared to fight.

Her Chemotherapy began on 8th March, and she even started consoling me. I believe it's important not to lose hope; we decided to start the treatment and proceed from there.

As for the side effects of the Blood Cancer treatment, her Platelets, WBC counts, and hemoglobin began to decrease. She ate papaya to boost her Platelet counts and walked a lot during her treatment. When she started losing her hair, she chose to shave her head and embraced her new look. To support her, I shaved my hair as well.

Caregivers also endure a great deal during the cancer journey. My wife established a routine where I had to eat whenever she ate because she knew if I missed one meal, I would likely skip meals the entire day. I ate whatever she ate, so she wouldn't feel alone.

The doctor recommended a bone marrow transplantation as that was the best option left for us. We reached out to stem cell donor banks, and I think everyone should consider registering for stem cell donation—it's a simple process that can save lives. We found a donor, and she was admitted for her transplantation. Bone marrow transplantation is costly, but we managed. She went through many procedures before her transplantation, and then she underwent the surgery in 2019.

Everything seemed to be improving, but her immunity was low, and she developed a CMV infection. This infection wreaked havoc in her body. Her counts dropped, and because of the CMV virus and her weakened immune system, she developed an autoimmune disease that affected her brain and breathing. She was on a ventilator for two and a half days.

Although the BMT ward restricts visitor access, the doctor allowed us to see her because she wanted to meet her family. Even while on the ventilator, she asked me why I was there instead of at work, showing her commitment to her professional life. Unfortunately, she could not overcome these challenges, and on 18th January, she passed away before my eyes.

She was always very positive, even keeping a WhatsApp status that read "positivity is a way of life."

We are immensely grateful to the doctors and hospital staff for their support. Many beautiful souls helped us significantly, and I will never forget their kindness. I am thankful to every single person who supported us on our journey.

Parting Message

Be positive, eat healthily, exercise properly, take the medications on time and keep smiling. Enjoy every moment of your life. No one can change what is going to happen but let us make the best of the moment. Caregivers need to take care of themselves too.

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