Friday, January 2, 2009

Post 2. Spine Chilling Name - I

A disease with a spine chilling name, was how I described it to Margarida and Tulsi, my colleagues back in Mumbai, who were the only two people I informed at that stage when a lesion in my iliac bone was being investigated to “rule out malignancy”. I had sent them a common email from Hyderabad. That was my way of dealing with this not exactly a happy situation. I had to be brutally honest with myself, for specialists and pathologists had hinted at the strong possibility of Solitary Myloma or a Metastasis . The first was a manageable condition while the latter, well, not really an enviable one!

I had always found that the most effective way of dealing with the brutal realities of life was to step out of the tricky situation for a moment and look at it from the outside. Sometimes such a perspective yields unexpectedly humourous results. It was in one such moment that the spine chilling nature of the term struck me. And I dashed out an email to my friends, who were not deceived by the levity of the tone.

They called me immediately. I could 'hear' their shock and distress in the heavy silences during the telephone conversation. Then they fell silent for a few days. They, too, I knew, were trying to deal with the situation. And their way, I came to know later, was even more interesting. Together they browsed through every available site on lesion in the iliac bone, and long before the pathology reports came, my friends had arrived at the diagnosis - and a perfect one at that! After they made their diagnosis they called! By then, the pathology department had already confirmed that it was a “mets”. The search for the primary was on with a vengeance. Chin up, Molly, my friends hified over the phone. They told me where the primary was. It made me smile. The statistics are very encouraging, they assured me. These are days when Cancer need not necessarily be a spine chilling name, most certainly not in these days of sophisticated treatment, they told me.

I love them for that call!

Cancer is like a snake bite. Doctors say that the sheer terror of having been bitten by a snake contributes substantially to deaths by snake bites. A person diagnosed with cancer instantly sees Death taking a definite shape before her eyes. True, Death is a certainty in life that always hovers menacingly around in the periphery of our consciousness, but, thankfully, in an amorphous form. But once Death acquires a definite shape and a form, the afflicted person realizes that it holds no more terrors for her. She then faces the truth that it is not Death but Life that crushes her, brings tears to her eyes when no one is there to see. Those closest to her heart haunt her waking and sleeping hours. She consoles herself with age old adages about no one being indispensable. Struggles to convince herself about that great truth of life but fails miserably. She thinks with anxiety of the tasks yet to be performed, and meticulously charts out in her mind ways of getting them done, even after her time. Emotions swell and submerge her. Yes, it is Life that a cancer patient cannot deal with, the life that she doesn’t want to leave behind – and not death.

1 comment:

  1. Yes very true.Wish you will tell everything in a single post.