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Radhika (Kidney Cancer Caregiver): Cancer Brought Me Closer To My Mom

Radhika (Kidney Cancer Caregiver): Cancer Brought Me Closer To My Mom

Cancer brought me closer to my mom

My mother's tryst with cancer began 7 years ago when she was first diagnosed with stage 3 renal carcinoma, more commonly known as kidney cancer. Her symptoms appeared very late, which is why her cancer got so far. She was mostly healthy, until one day there was blood in her urine and blood all over the floor, that's when we knew something was seriously wrong.

After her diagnosis in 2013, she had to undergo an immediate Surgery where one of her kidneys and some lymph nodes were removed. The recovery was gradual but my mother got through it and she was relatively ok for five years after that. However, in early 2018, she wasn't feeling too well; she had a persistent cold coupled with breathing trouble. We went to the doctor thinking it was probably just a seasonal flu, but her X-rays were troubling. There were darks spots on her lung and a Biopsy further revealed that her cancer had relapsed, and this time it had metastasised to 6 places in her body. The cancer had spread to her liver, her adrenaline gland, her brain and several other parts. The news was obviously devastating for me and everyone in the family, but for my mom, it was more than that, she saw it as a death sentence. In her world view, everyone who gets cancer eventually dies. But I refused to see it like that, I just couldn't. And since 2018, I have channeled all my energy into making her better.

So far, this approach has worked. On the medical front, her oral Chemotherapy has worked and her cancer is being contained. But the side effects of Chemotherapy are harsh; skin changes have led to her complexion altering. She has also lost all sense of taste, everything she eats tastes bitter. All these side effects take a heavy toll on her, not to mention the constant physical discomfort. There are nights my mother just wakes up in Pain and there is no medicine that can really help her. It's during times like these that I use reiki to heal her. I learned it so that I can help her feel better.

I also do this thing where I read to her, like we do to children! I read to her stories of other cancer survivors so she can get motivated. Recently, I read Yuvraj Singh's autobiography to her. I keep finding such motivational stories and books to read to her. Reading is pretty much the only thing that keeps the both of us going.

My mother's battle with cancer is ongoing; it's a cruel disease that drains people mentally and financially. Nobody wants their loved ones to suffer like this. But her cancer has taught me a lot, it has taught me to never ever take things in life for granted. Every time I see her suffer from the side effects of chemo, I wonder how many of us ever thank god for say our sense of taste; it is something we don't even think about, but we must, we must be thankful. Cancer has taught me to be value every little thing in my body. It has also taught me that our lives are precious and it is our duty to do everything in our power to cherish it.

On some days, it is hard to catch the silver lining. But on other days, I know that this disease has brought me closer to my mother in ways I would never have imagined. Today, she is dependent on me for almost everything and I wouldn't want it any other way. She is my mother and I can't imagine my world without her. Despite the struggle, she has me and I have her.

Radhika's mother Madhu is now 64; she is still undergoing oral Chemotherapy treatment and hopes to beat cancer for the 2nd time.

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