All the information contained within this blog is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for a visit to the doctor. The views expressed in this blog are personal views of the author and are not related or directed towards anyone in particular. Although every effort is made to ensure that the content within this blog is accurate, but it is not official in anyway. Please consult a doctor or health care provider.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Chapter 5 - PICC line

After the first round of chemotherapy ended, the doctor advised us to get  a PICC line, it will be good for papa. I wondered how? Anways we had to get it done. But what was supposed to do good to papa, brought so many problems. Anyways, when the doctor said abut picc line, I wanted to know more about it. Since it was anew domain, i decided to do a research.

What is PICC line?

If i were to put it into  simple words - PICC (or peripherally inserted central catheter ) line is basically a very sleek tube made of biocompatible (silicon) material, is inserted in to the vein and is advanced till it reaches the chest. This helps the doctors in avoiding daily pricking and finding the vein(s) for tests, infusing chemotherapy medicines. And I was told it will help papa.

Hep Lock

A part of the tube is left outside. This opening on the outside is closed with a lid (or cover).  It is through this opening that the blood is taken for test(s) or chemotherapy medicines are induced. But in CANCER nothing comes without side effects. So did the picc line insertion. The whole process turned out to be very difficult and painful. Both before and after the chemotherapy session,  HEP lock ( flushing medicine) was used to flush (clean out) the intravenous (IV) catheter, in order to prevent any kind of blockage ( blood clots)  in the tube after the IV infusion(s). While  FLUSH (ing), it is important to care that no air bubble(s) is present in the vaccine (which may  further complicate the matters). 

Side effects

After every 7 days, it was mandatory to do the picc line "dressing" ( cleaning, flushing, and finally bandaging) in order to prevent any type of infection(s). Precautions were needed to be  taken so that no water enters in the picc line “area”.  As a result papa couldn’t  move his hand freely, wear his favorite full sleeved shirts or sweaters, or bath as frequently as he wanted.
Opening of the picc line tube
Since the “picc” line was inserted in papa’s right hand, which made things more difficult for him. The pain actually never subsided. But under the influence of some drugs, he would sleep for few hours, picc line only made it worse. He had to be alert  even while in his sleep- the picc line doesn’t get pulled out or pressed. He never slept literally. Usually the picc line is inserted in the left arm, heart being on the left side . That ways the tube inserted in smaller in length, therefore less chances of breaking. And since left hand is not used much so it becomes easier( unless you are a lefty).

Insertion of the tube

PICC line in india is usually inserted by a trained staff ( in papa's case-  by a  junior doctor). Although,  the picc line can be removed by anyone ( even by a family member) as long as the necessary precautions are taken care off. For papa, it was removed by the palliative staff who would visit papa at home after he became bedridden.

The picc line can stay upto 1 year with proper care before it is discarded . In papa’s case it was for 7 months. I got it removed only after the doctor’s declared “ nothing can be done”. After the picc line was removed, i noticed a black circular ring around the hole created by the insertion of the picc line. I told the doctors, they prescribed an ointment. The ointment did lessen the itching and but pain remained as it is.

By Side effects

Other side effects of picc line papa suffered were rashes, itching and swelling (in the throat), dizziness, and difficulty in breathing.

Having lived cancer (with papa), now for almost 2 years, i can say that cancer is not just one disease but a combination of many disease(s). And this is what killed papa. Though papa’s ordeal ended but mine’s is still continuing. I cannot forget the moments when papa would endure all the pain without a single complaint just to be with us.

Love you papa!

Friday, 29 August 2014

Move on

My father was diagnosed with cancer in November 2012. After fighting with CANCER with all his strength and courage for nearly 10 months. He left us all on 26 October 2013. Everybody said "to move on", but..... i am yet to .... I love my father too much to "move on"....may be someday i will or may be not....

In memory of my father...

I am my daddy’s little girl, 
I have always been and will always be
He said, he loved me in a million ways
More then anything else in the world

As, I grew -for him his baby
He gave me what i desired- My love
With tears in his eyes and smile on his lips
He gave me away to be a part of a different world

Life had many ups and down, 
But he was there to hold my hand
And guide me through
With love and care, always

When I became a mother
He was there, to welcome my princess
And once again he said, 
In million ways I LOVE YOU my grandchild

And, now that he is  gone
I miss him, I wish he was here
To see the grief, when he is not coming back
Tears in my eyes and void in my heart

My love for him lives on
He is with me and always will be
I promise to love him
Until we meet again

Love you papa!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Chapter 5 - Acid in my veins

While in my earlier posts, i have talked about chemotherapy being a painful process. My experiences with chemotherapy were horrific especially because papa received  it through veins (Intravenous). He
was confined to bed, starting from 10hrs to as long as 56hrs. The only time the he was allowed to move was when using the wash room. The process was repeated every 8th day. Apart from the known side effects of chemotherapy. There were some by-side effects also such as:-
  • The veins were always swollen
  • At places blood clot appeared
  • The area around the prick darkened as compared to the natural  color of the skin.
  • There was itching and since, the healing mechanism was already very slow, so the prick actually never healed.
My knowledge about chemotherapy was very limited then. All i knew was, what i could see. Papa was already in pain due to spreading cancer and chemotherapy only added to the woes. I am not not suggesting not to get chemotherapy. In 97 % of  the cases it doesn’t work.  May be you are one of the fortunate 3% who beats cancer and survives (Pls see the video )

To understand pain, you don’t  really need to know about chemotherapy. But to understand the treatment your loved is undergoing, it is important that you know all about chemotherapy

Chemotherapy, is a treatment usually given to patients suffering from cancer. More then 100 drugs are available and to treat cancer they are combined in different proportions depending upon the type and stage( spread or size of tumour) of cancer and the patient's age, overall health  and the ability to deal with the certain side effects.

Depending upon the prescribed treatment, your oncologist will be able to tell you about the schedule that you need to follow in the months to come. Papa, in all received 2 cycles of chemotherapy  orally. Each cycle comprised of 3 months. In the these 3 months the treatment was received in 2 phase(s). These  cycles comprised of  giving medicine and drugs orally and through veins. After the first phase a picc line ( will explain in my next post)  was inserted in papa's right arm.

In the first phase, he had to spend 3-4 days in the hospital. After that a gap of 7 days was given in order to heal ( known as the recovery period). In the second phase .i.e on the 8th day the chemotherapy session lasted for about 6- 10hrs, so papa was allowed to go home the very same day. And again on the 8th day, he was admitted to the hospital for 3(or 4) days. This continued till the end .After 3 months,  a review was done to check the response of cancer to  chemotherapy (medicines). 

Chemotherapy - ways to receive

Through Veins (Intravenously) :The medicines are injected  directly into the veins. This is the most effective method and most of the  traditional chemotherapy drugs are given by this method. A single dose of IV chemotherapy can last from a few minutes to a few hours. However, there are certain drugs which have best effect  when given at a slow continuous rate for a few days to fews weeks at a time.

Via Injection:  The medicine is given injected  as a shot to a muscle or to the fatty part of the arm abdomen or leg.

Oral : Pills, capsule, or liquid(s). Popular traditional treatment method. But of late is becoming a much more common method of administration, especially with newer targeted therapies.

Intra-arterially (IA):  The medicine  is sent directly into the artery that supplies blood to the part of the body affected with cancer.

Intraperitoneally : The medicine is sent directly into the abdomen or peritoneal cavity ( part of the body that contains the intestines, liver, stomach). In case of women, the medicine is sent to ovaries.

Topically. Ointments and creams. The medicine is applied on the surface and then  rubbed into the skin.

In 2012, when papa was detected with cancer, my knowledge about cancer-the disease was very limited. To be honest, I just knew the term “CANCER, that too heard mostly in hindi movies. But when papa was diagnosed and  treated for cancer, everyday was a new challenge. The journey was painful. It was an emotional roller coaster for me and papa.  Ultimately papa lost his life and it gave my life a new direction.  I decided to write about CANCER. My father's last wish was that i write ( how unfortunate that i am writing when he is not here to see ) I learnt things mostly during the course of treatment or after papa left.  Now , I try to read about cancer as much as i can. So that i can pour my research into words to the benefit of someone who wants to know. There is so much, I have learn't , there is still so much to learn. But i will never stop. This  is my way of keeping close to papa and may be..... he is reading!

Love you papa!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Letter to Papa

Date: 26August 2014

Dear Papa,

Good Morning!

Today, its has been 10 months since i last saw you,  spoke to you or heard you call me “beti”. Nobody calls me like this anymore. It feels like it has been ages since we sat together.  I am heart broken. I miss you.  

I miss the morning “masala tea”, that you would make. I miss, you reading me the news paper headlines  and the long discussion that followed. I miss, when you would call me every morning ( after i got married) just to ask me “how am i?"

There has been not a single day, when i haven’t missed you since you left. I always imagine what would it be like, had you been here. At family gatherings or functions, i  always think of what you would have said or done.

Do you remember the time when you would teach me Maths. I am still not good at Maths. There are so many other things for which i need your advice.  You left so soon. I am so lost. Now i don’t have anyone to guide me they way you did.

You left suddenly, I am still in shock. I cannot believe It has happened to me. Though, in the last few months, I was able to spend some time with you.  But thats not enough. I wanted more time. There is so much i needed to learn from you. Although, I  consider myself fortunate to be part of some really beautiful moments. But it hurts and when the pain gets unbearable, memories are my only way out. I look at your photos, videos and hear to your sound i recorded when you were here. And i feel better.  

I  regret for not paying attention to your declining health. I regret for not praying enough for your recovery. I am sorry, papa. But now i pray for you everyday. That is the only thing i can do now. Initially I would cry a lot. I still sometimes do. But then i think,  why should i cry for you, when you are always with me, watching me, taking care of me like you always did (though i can’t see you anymore). It must be hard on you to see me  shattered ( as you never liked me crying). I will not cry anymore. 

I miss you, papa for nobody pampers me like the way you did. You were always proud of me. I know, I was your favorite child (I remember you sneaking me extra pocket money and instructing me not to tell chotu bhai and mota bhai) and always will be. You will always be there for me no matter where you are. And I love you for that.

I want to say thank you for loving me, taking care of me, encouraging me to bring the best in me  and above all for being my “Bapu”.

Love you papa,
Ur Beti

Monday, 25 August 2014

Chapter 4 - Visit to the hospital

Next day, 7 February 2012, we started early in the morning for the hospital. The hospital was in Parel and very far from the place, where I was staying. Besides I din’t wanted to be struck in the famous Mumbai traffic jam. We reached the hospital around 8:45am. It was early, still it was so crowded. gosh! whats wrong? why is it so crowded? Is it so crowded everyday, I wondered. Till few days ago, i rarely  heard the term “cancer" and barely came across any cancer patient(s). And today, I am standing in a room full of cancer patients. Why are they suffering from cancer? what is their fault? Is it their karma? I was thinking!.

Lost in my thoughts, I was trying to reason myself on behalf of those millions of people suffering from cancer and eventually dying sooner or later. As i struggled, i looked at my wrist watch. It was 930am, the counters were open for public dealing. I was the eleventh person in the queue. The lady at the counter asked me, what is the purpose of my visit? I wanted to scream and ask her why do people come to the cancer hospital?. Bringing my views to check,  i controlled, and said i am here for my father’s treatment. She said, deposit Rs10,000, and fill in the form(s), as she passed me a  bunch of papers. I said, what for? she said for the treatment. I said, the treatment hasn’t started. I haven’t met the doctor yet. She said this is the procedure. Reading my  expression(s), she suggested me to consult the doctor first.

Consult the doctor, I asked what is the difference between the two?. She said for consultation you have to just deposit Rs 1000 and meet the doctor. I took the form(s) and requested  for a pen. she flatly refused. I was shocked ( I like my Delhi, at least people are sensitive enough at a places like this). I asked papa to wait for me in the waiting lounge till I go outside and buy a pen. I filled the form(s), deposited the money, and went to two more counters( i don’t know for what, i was made to go from one counter to the other). After running from one counter to the other, finally i was given the file and a token to visit the doctor. It was 10am and i was informed, the doctor would not come before 1130am.Therefore i decided, to have a cup of coffee to restore my drained strength. Papa and I had coffee and settled ourselves  at the two seats in the back row of the waiting area.

230pm, papa’s name was called. We went inside, the doctor asked papa, his name and 1 or 2 more questions. He picked up the file, flipped through the pages, looked at papa and then shifted his gaze to me and then back to the file. He said, the treatment papa is receiving is the best and, I asked - he said  nothing. This is it !

Of course papa is getting the best treatment, and I don’t need a confirmation for that. I din’t know how to react. I mean a patient who is terminally ill,  travels 1500km, waits for 6hrs just sitting and not taking rest ( what he should be doing, actually),  and this is what he gets - 2 minutes and something we already know. The doctor din’t even had 5 minutes to spare. After seeing the file and knowing that the papa has very less time. He could have at least pretended to look concerned or may be talked for few more minutes and said some motivation words ( oh! i get it- i should have deposited 10, 000 rupees to get the doctor's attention and time, what a pity!, shameful!). But he din’t, he was one of those doctor who was just doing his job ( to get a fat paycheck at the end of the month, because he trapped those patients who had deposited the 10,000 rupees even before taking the treatment not wasting time on patients like papa who were just taking consultation) . 

I have always believed that people who are suffering and are in deep pain, may be will not heal by any medicine or treatment. But saying a few words of kindness will make them feel a lot better. Is being kind so difficult? Was I asking too much?  He was rude, Before coming here, I was so hopeful. And now, I was disappointed, I felt bad, I felt betrayed. I wanted to cry. But how can I? I have to be strong for my father, who had put his faith in me ( I am sorry, papa for letting you down, i wanted to say  but couldn't). Papa, realized this, he said,”I like Delhi better, I have you and "chutki beti”. Delhi is my home. I want to be home with my people. Let us go back!

We smiled( for each other)  and started walking towards the parking area.

Miss you Papa!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Chapter 4 - Mumbai

After chemotherapy started, i felt relaxed and wanted to concentrate on others forms of treatment. Like Naturopathy, Immunotherapy, Tibetan medicines and whatever i could find in my research.

I had no idea, but wanted to try -so decided to research, and research as i much  can till i find the “elixir” that will brand my father as the “SURVIVOR". I would surf different websites whenever i was not with doctor’s. I bought books. I joined forums,  started talking to doctors and people who were patients or were related to the patients in someway. But before this i wanted to take my father to a famous hospital in Mumbai.

There is famous saying, the grass is always greener on the other side. Papa was receiving treatment in the  best hospital of Delhi and second best in India. But i wanted the best for my father, no matter what it takes. And when i have the option, why not take it. My younger is settled in Mumbai.

I was determined.But before that i had to take permission from the doctors, as papa was already undergoing treatment. The doctors were reluctant, but eventually agreed with some conditions and gave me a list of precautions to be followed. I had to return in a week, for the next phase of chemotherapy. 
It was decided, we were going to Mumbai. I was excited and had this feeling that taking papa to Mumbai will prove to be a turning point in papa’s treatment.

Things were not favorable, traveling by plane was absolute “NO”, and procuring train tickets on a short notice was very difficult. But as they say "When there is will, there is away”. I got the tickets. We were to travel on 5'Feb2012. All required documents, prescription, medicines were packed. And here we come Mumbai.

The train got cancelled for some technical reasons, and our plan got delayed by 3 days. Amidst all this hustle bustle, we travelled to Mumbai. Though i was little concerned about my daughter traveling by train for the first time, but it turned out fine. She had fun and next morning we arrived in Mumbai at 9-915am.

We took taxi, reached my brother’s home  around 11am. Since my brother and his wife, both work. The neighbor came to deliver the keys. Papa was tired because of the long journey. We insisted on taking rest.  But papa, was too excited to see the new apartment my brother recently purchased. He gulped the medicines and started to find flaws in the new house. He did find many only to tell my brother in the evening ( papa had this critical streak).  I miss the times  when papa, mom my brother’s and me would argue and then laugh out loud…very loud. Only if I could stop time and live in the moment….

Miss you Papa!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

I love you....Papa!

I love you, Papa
I don’t know , where you are
May be not far, Somewhere near

I love you, Papa
for being so gentle, and kind
For being caring and loving

I love you, Papa
For giving me life, giving me love
You gave me smile, You gave me time

I love you, Papa
For being there for me, when i needed you
And when I needed you most

I love you, Papa
For teaching me wrong and right
For supporting me at every step

I love you, Papa
For letting me fall, 
And being there to hold me stand tall

I love you, Papa
For the freedom to be me,
For being the friend, that i cherish 

I love you, Papa
No matter where you are
With me, or somewhere else

I love you, Papa
For being my papa precious
Today, tomorrow and forever....!

Chapter 4- Chemotherapy begins

After papa got admitted to the hospital. I was  impatient. I was restless. I wanted the treatment to start as soon as possible. The chemotherapy (chemo) to start as soon as possible as already so much time has been lost. I wanted some thing to  look forward too. I wanted a miracle to happen. I wanted to hope. As as the famous saying in hindi goes, a straw is enough to save the drowning person, for me chemotherapy was the straw. 

Most of us know that chemotherapy is a very painful process and for those who don’t know, chemotherapy- strong acids are injected in the body to stop the growth of cancer cells. These acids are injected through veins( intravenous) . The cycle includes sending poisonous chemicals into the body through very slim needles. And then flushing out the toxin from the body by sending another chemical(s). 

Chemotherapy causes more harm then doing good to the body. But i wanted to give it a try for myself- who was desperate and would do anything that will add few years to my hero- my father's life. For papa, who wanted to live. For my mother- his partner of 42 years. For my brothers, who looked up to papa as their idol.

I was informed about the side of effects of chemotherapy.  Reduction in blood platelets count, nausea, fever, mouth ulcer, diarrhea and hair loss. During his two cycles of chemotherapy , papa suffered all  of these except for that he never lost a single hair. In fact, in the final few weeks, he was so irritated by his hairs, owing to being bedridden now for months (Papa had beautiful silky straight hairs and  he always kept his hair nicely trimmed and well combed) that to pacify him, I had to trim his hairs.

The first chemo cycle lasted for 3 months, at the end of the 3 months a review was done, to find out about the improvement in papa's condition and to ascertain the extent to which the disease has  been  controlled or has spread. The first cycle was divided in to two parts. The first phase, papa had to be admitted to the hospital. He was supposed to stay in the hospital for 3- 4days. Papa was tied to the bed for as long as 56hrs with a needle in his arm. First the medicines and after a break of 10hrs, the toxins were flushed out. The only time he was allowed to leave the bed when he wanted to use the washroom.He hated it. I hated it too. It was painful for him and for me. But he believed in me and i believed in the doctors, who said it is important if you  want to prolong your father’s life ( Is their any other answer). 

The second  phase- lasted a day. We would come to the hospital in the morning, get the chemo done and leave by evening. Both phase(s) were carried out in the alternate weeks. 

Every morning the schedule was same in both the chemotherapy phase(s). Reach the hospital early in the morning, get the blood test(s) done. Wait for the reports and on the basis of the results, it was decided to go ahead for the chemotherapy. 

After every chemotherapy session, papa felt weak and exhausted. But he refused to give up. He tried to be as normal as he could be and do most of his daily chores by himself. As days turned in to weeks and weeks in to months, papa grew more weak and lost considerable weight. Chemotherapy has started taking its toll. I could see but was helpless and at the same time hopeful.

It is said, that the first chemotherapy cycle is the rosy period of the treatment and it turned out to be true. After 3 months reviews were done. The results of the first cycle said, the cancer that started from gall bladder has shown 20% decrease and no growth  was reported in the pancreatic region. Papa blushed. He smiled after almost 4 months. I felt relieved. Finally after months of sadness, we have a good news. 

It was my 6th wedding anniversary, and i could not have received a better gift then this - my father’s improving health.

To my father’s courage and never say die spirit. I am so proud of you papa!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Chapter 3 - The bond

A few days ago while reading, i came across this beautiful quote, which i would like to share.

    Sometimes, it’s not the person we miss
   It’s the feeling you had when you were with them. 

It made me think!. Since i started writing this blog, i have only written about the difficult, painful and bad times of our lives. But that's not all. We did have great fun. We were happy and have a lot of beautiful memories to share.

My father was a central government employee with a fixed salary coming at the end of the month. We were three siblings, all studying in a good school. After the monthly expenses, very little (money) was left to spend on luxury or buy expensive toys. But still papa did his best to get the best for his kids. Every evening, he would spend time with us. He was always an involved parent and took keen interest in our lives. 

Before settling in Delhi, we were based in Pune. In Maharashtra, there is a culture of small girls playing with these toy steel utensils. All my friends had this beautiful collection and i too wanted it for myself.    
It was difficult to build the collection in day. For that i had a plan. Every morning, i would write on a piece of paper and put it in my father's pocket. In the evening, papa would get me the toy. This continued for months. One evening, for some reason papa couldn't get the toy, which i wanted so desperately. 

When he came home, I asked him at the door itself, as was the routine. I became very sad, papa  sensed it. That very evening he took me to the market and i bought the toy. I was happy, very happy( that age, when toys make you happy, and now when i come to think of it,  if only i could exchange that happiness with my father's life ). Few years later, books ( i love reading ) replaced these toys and i was least concerned where these toy( once my prized possessions) were lying. 

Papa and I always shared a special bond ( blame it on the genes, father -daughter) but still there was this unsaid understanding between us. He always knew, what i wanted and in his best ability, gave me everything I laid my hands on. I tried my best to make him proud, may be not completely but i tried.

Today, when i think of all those happy times we spent. I realized, that i have a treasure full of memories which are enough to last a life time. But what is wrong if had a few more spilling out of the box.

Btw, i still have all those toys utensils. My parents retained them all through these years and gave them to my daughter ( my own walking, talking toy) when she turned 2.

Love you papa!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Chapter 3 - Lesson learnt from Papa’s cancer journey

Papa's tryst with cancer began in Nov2012 ( that’s when we came to know about it). The diagnosis came as a shock. How can it be? How is it possible? A person so healthy, disciplined, health conscious. In the days followed, I began to realize that life will never be the same again.

Though papa, left us in October 2013. But we are still living in the nightmare. Though the pain papa was enduring might have come to end. But we are still suffering and the pain only grows! The pain of his absence.

Papa, still lives with us in his smile, calm, and the values he taught us. And I wish to keep him alive by living upto the values he taught us. Those 10months, of papa's cancer journey taught me many things. Few i am sharing here, so that nobody suffers like me.

If you are not feeling well for a long time, don’t ignore. Visit a doctor immediately.

Looking back, papa was showing symptoms for months- fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal pain. They were all signs. He was visiting this doctor. The doctor kept on giving him medication for urinary infection. We took another opinion, the doctor suggested to take kidney Xray. But everything was all rite. 

But the symptoms persisted. We decided to have ultrasound of stomach. The doctor shared his doubts of presences of stones in the gall bladder.

The next step was to get the gall stones removed as early as possible. The operation  for removal of stones  was scheduled for 30th November 2012.  I was waiting outside the OT. The doctor came out within  5minutes and gave us the shock of our lives. Papa has Gall bladder Cancer Stage 4 Type B. He din’t have much time( in best scenario  9months) but he has to go.

Don’t feel guilty, try to make the most of the time, you have got

In the past few years, i was so busy with my daughter, husband and work that i hardly spent time with papa. After the diagnosis, which came as a major blow.I wanted to do so much and the time was very less. But i planned, started working on my to do list.

My brother had recently bought a new house in Mumbai, i wanted papa to see it. We went to Mumbai.
Though papa spent most of his time at home. But he saw my brother’s home and was very proud.We also went to a re-known hospital in Mumbai( Visit to the hospital turned out to be a complete sham) The doctors and hospital were money oriented. 

We celebrated my parents 42nd and last wedding anniversary. We went to Lansdowne. Papa stayed in the resort all through the trip. But in the early morning,he would sit in balcony.

After years,  me and my younger brother celebrated our birthdays with papa. He smiled, He clapped and blessed us.

I took papa to a hindi movie of his favorite actress- Deepika padukone, which he enjoyed.

5th October, it was papa’s 71st birthday, we wanted to make memories of a lifetime. We celebrated his last birthday with us. He had stopped eating completely except for a heap of pain killers thrice a day. 

It was 24th October, Karvachauth, Mom fasted, she got his favorite sweet. Cancer has reached to the mouth - the last stage.   He loved sweets, after months of not eating anything,  he had a small piece.

A day after,  Papa went away

Give time to the person to handle cancer in his/her own way.

I am very proud of my father. He tried his best to overcome the disease. Results were good in the first quarter of treatment. On 14th Feb2013, the results of his first cycle of treatment came. There was 20% improvement in his health. I smiled and went running to papa.  Now we had that silver lining that we have been looking for. We became hopeful. This was the last time i saw papa smiling.

Don't hesitate to show that you care

When some one you love has cancer. Show him that you care. Take active part in his care. In the months to come, papa’s health started to decline. Cancer has reached in bones. And his back bone became porous and crumbled. He became bedridden. All of us came around and took turns to be with papa.

The once so lively room, turned in a gloomy hospital room. Medicines, IVFluids, Injections, water bed, wheel chair replaced the furniture.

We all tried our best to smile for him and keep a positive attitude. Papa supported us too by believing in our faith. He happily went through chemotherapy, radiation therapy jus to make us happy. 

Don’t hesitate to say “I LOVE U”

Even after papa was diagnosed with cancer. His strength and the struggle to hold on to life was remarkable. He refused to give up.  The urge to live was so strong that it gives us inspiration till today. I would call myself fortunate to be able to spend time with him in his final day and tell him “ he was loved”. We all were with him on the night he passed away, 26th October2013.

Love you papa! You are the best!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Chapter 3 - The Doctor

When  looking for hospital, I had a difficult time in searching for the right hospital. It is very important to find the right hospital and equally important is to find the right doctor.  I have been to most of the hospital  and made a list solely on my experience.

Finding the right DOCTOR

Now that cancer has been diagnosed, you may be restless and feel that the treatment starts as soon as possible. You may want to rush.  But my suggestion is  choosing the  doctor carefully, will pay off in the year(s) to come. The bond you share with this person will probably last through treatment into long-term follow-up care. Though people have their own limitations and circumstances. But when i chose doctor for my father, i looked for the following criteria
  • Doctor who had prior experience treating  Gall Bladder Cancer patients
  • Doctor, who could be reached at any time of day and the hospital he practiced was near to my home.
  • Doctor, with whom i was comfortable with in terms of sharing my worst concerns and issues and was free to ask silliest question. Basically i needed a person who can handle my emotional concerns with medical treatment
  • Doctor/ hospital  was on panel ( Health Insurance Plan)
Based on the above criteria, i googled and gathered much information about this person. He was the head of the department. He was the right doctor. In his absence, his junior took over. The junior was a very warm person and a very dedicated doctor. Besides he was a very good person. I decided to retain him as papa's treating doctor. 

As time passed, a time came, when nothing much was left to do. The doctors' gave up.  
But i was not ready to give up. I wanted to fight. Fight and Win. I was adamant. I was desperate.The doctor suggested, I bring papa for radiation therapy.

I still went to the hospital for radiation therapy sessions with papa.  Not that these session would do wonder, but i wanted papa to have hope, even when he had none till his last breath. This  doctor still came to visit papa and always said " visit me when you get better". But papa never got better. And the day when papa became a star, i  messaged him to inform. He replied!

Thank you Doctor!

Cancer Hospitals in Delhi

Cancer Hopsitals in Gurgaon
Aarvy Hospital

Love you Papa!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Chapter 2 - Hospital

Papa was diagnosed with cancer in one of the so called best hospitals in Delhi. But since the hospital din’t have dedicated oncology department. So it was mandatory to shift him to some other hospital. Now the  major question was where to take papa for his further and specialized treatment. I had two options stay in Delhi and be there with papa or send papa to Mumbai, where my younger brother stays. 

I turned selfish and decided to find a hospital in Delhi itself .Besides papa wanted to be at  home and be with his “chutki beti”( his only grandchild and my daughter). 

Papa, was admitted to a Cancer hospital in Delhi.  The hospital staff was very good. I must say, during the entire treatment, i am more then happy with the junior staff. The staff was compassionate and dedicated. From ensuring personal hygiene to a dedicated nurse to look after papa.  Timely medicines to dressing the wounds, or just applying lotion on a swollen nerve. Everything was done in a very disciplined manner. Every morning the CEO, would just come without informing. And would listen to everyone and personally ask every patient or relatives about the hospital, doctors, or any other issue.

Papa, loved to dress up and was very conscious the way he looked. On 29the November 2012, the fateful day when we went to the hospital for the first time to consult the doctor regarding removal of gall stones. He woke up early. The first thing papa did after waking up was to shave( i have seen him doing since i was a baby). This routine continued till he himself was able to do it. And later on when he became bedridden, he would ask my elder brother to do it.

Papa, would never wear clothes without ironing ( he made ironing look as a form art)l. He was again dressed in his favorite neatly ironed cream colored shirt, brown trousers and well polished shoes . Looking at his preparation,  mom joked, you are not going to office  but to the hospital.

Mom tells us that papa was a great fan of Dev Anand ( the actor). Infact, when they got married. All his shirt had long collars. His style sense was so strong that it gave complex to many even today. 

The colors, he chose were very elite. His dressing style was way ahead of times. The suits he wore are still in fashion. In an earlier chapter i had mentioned, papa loved shopping. But after he came to know about cancer, he lost interest in life, colors and everything else. After that he never shopped. There was this mall next to this hospital. And since we had ample time after giving sample for blood tests and collecting report(s). I would often take papa to the mall.. Once when i insisted that he buys something for himself, he said “ now i don’t need it”.It was painful. And my fears have started taking shape- fear that papa has sensed his approaching “end

In the next few months he grew weaker and weaker. He couldn’t walk and would just sit in the waiting area. But I never stopped telling him about the new SALE(s) going on and my shopping. He would see, listen , smile and then we would get up and  start walking  towards the report collection center. 

Miss you PAPA!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Chapter 2 - Tests

On 9th December,2012, 9:00am, the doctor visited. The doctor looked at papa’s report. He had this lame expression on his face, which i read as of “frustration. While doing my research I came across this very good article,which said
most of the oncologist are frustrated, because despite of their best effort, the result is always loss”. 

Over the period of 10months, one thing i have become very sure,  cancer  after stage 2, always means death, desperation and frustration, for anyone who is related to cancer by being a patient, or relative of a patient or  the doctor treating the patient.

 “ Patients are frustrated, because of the approaching death
   Relatives are frustrated , because of loosing their loved one”

The doctor, prescribed a series of test

 I hated all the tests, but i hated most was the blood test ,conducted every week.  Having a needle in your arm,  even before the wound created by earlier prick has not healed. Papa never complained and never showed signs of depression. He endured all the pain and hurt with so much courage and hope, that i fail to understand. He hoped that he will walk cancer free soon.

 He tried his best. He had all medicines timely, in the prescribed dosage and in the order as doctor suggested.He tried to maintain his schedule till he exhausted his last bit of energy. He would walk, do his daily chores all by himself, try to eat( despite of  loss of appetite ) and take rest. But he became quite and eventually silent( toward the last few weeks, papa lost his speech). 

I wanted the best for my father( like he always wanted for me). I wanted to be with papa, for papa -like he was there for me. Papa, always wanted me to be by his side. So every time  any tests would take place. I would accompany him(most of the time). That was also my way of maximizing my time with my father.  

Biopsy is a very painful process, as it is done by  pricking your body with needles and getting tissues out to conduct the necessary tests. The tissues are usually collected from 4 to 5 places. In case of cancer patients, the healing process is already very slow. For papa, it took 3 months for the wounds to heal.

The doctor attending papa called me, and explained the schedule of treatment that we will be following. Chemotherapy, tests and results will be reviewed after every 3 months.

Every time i visited the doctor, i had this look on my face  “ please give me some hope”. But the doctors refused to. I wanted papa to have hope, hope that he will be with us forever even when he breaths his last. 

All through, I never told my father, about his condition. Although I am very sure that he was very much aware of his progressing disease. He never expressed, nor i  let my expression betray me ( at least that’s what i think and i want to believe that ). We smiled for each other. I smiled for him and he smiled for me!

Love you papa!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Chapter 2 -Symptoms

People say time is the biggest healer.. I say time heals wounds but scars are left to remind you, what you have been through....

For me loosing my father was not just about loosing a parent. Besides loosing a valuable relationship, i lost a friend. My father,  actually both my parents have given us, siblings the liberty to speak our mind. And say whatever we wanted to.
And,  we could tell our parents anything and everything.

Papa was always a very disciplined and an organized person. He did everything so neatly and perfectly that sometimes i wonder how did he. At times mom would forget about something, but papa was more perfect then  organized. He just knew everything( I think all children think about their parent the way i think).

With him gone, and doing all things by myself makes me feel how hectic it is to be a parent and that too a parent, which i could look forward too. Though its been 10months since papa left , it feel likes it was just yesterday when papa was here with us and doing what he was best at- taking care of his children. He was always there for us.

When the doctor told me, papa has stage 4 cancer, i could not believe my ears- did i  just hear cancer? Is it happening to me? Has time come for papa? Will papa leave in few months. And I said to myself, loud and clear - NO, NEVER. I will challenge and win!( If only i had known, what papa was going through)

I wanted to be alone, i went to the park and set with my tablet in my hand. I typed " Gall Bladder Cancer Symptoms".

The result was :-
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Abdominal bloating.
  • Abdominal pain, particularly in the upper right portion of the abdomen.
  • Itchiness.
  • Fever.
  • Nausea.
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
Now, i could relate to papa's loss of appetite and weight, constant complaint of pain in the abdomen, he being tired. 

It was  Diwali ( 13Nov2012), and i wanted to buy this dining table, i asked my father to accompany me. Papa always loved shopping. It was difficult to match his enthusiasm. And i have inherited the same quality. This store had its dining furniture on 3rd floor. As papa started walking he began to shake, he could not climb and  refused to come upstairs. He waited downstairs. Something was wrong. Papa was moving away from us. And we had no idea.  Had i known it or had the slightest inclination of it being cancerous. May be papa would have been here with me.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Chapter 2 - Admission

The next morning, papa and I reached the hospital, a little early then 8:00am. I was accompanied by my husband. Reaching early, still the hospital compound was abuzz with 100 people. I took token and waited for my name to be called out. My token number was 63.  After that i decided to grab some breakfast. My husband got juice for all three of us. We started waiting and about 12:15, papa’s name was called out.  I reached there deposited money and papa was given Id card. This id card had to be brought every time we visited the hospital( i still have the id card). I became relaxed, now papa will be admitted. But the wait was not over yet. We had to wait for a room. 

I told papa, let us have lunch and come back. We went to the cafeteria. I asked papa what he would like to eat. He said,”idli”, since i was not in much of a mood to eat. I also ordered idli for myself. Not knowing that it would be our food for the next 10months.  My father loved food. He was an excellent cook. Whatever he made, he put his heart and soul in it.  Whenever me and my younger brother would visit our parents. He would ask my mother to make delicacies, he loved. We all would joke, its you papa, who wants to eat and telling mom to cook for us. 

Around, 530pm, papa was allotted a room. I checked the room. I didn’t like it. So we had to wait for another 30minutes for another room. Finally around 7pm, papa was on his bed. I called my mother. Soup arrived at 8pm. My mother reached around 9pm. I went downstairs, saw my little daughter in my mother’s lap. I picked her up and kissed. I handed over the passes to my mother. And around 930pm, I left.

On 8thNovember 2012, papa was finally admitted to the hospital. I was happy, because now i had hope. Hope that papa will walk free someday and we all will celebrate. It was not even a year, when papa left us. 

I still remember the times, when all of us would sit and enjoy tea ( papa made excellent masala tea, and mom would always crib about the spicy tea). Have jalebis, made by papa and discuss some or the other topic. Those days are gone. Days when we all  would sit( papa will never be there) and enjoy.

Life is not same without you papa!
We all miss you a lot, If only we could bring you back and still enjoy being together. Love you forever!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Chapter 1

Next few days, were spent in looking  for the right hospital and a good doctor.  On  7December 2012, i with all the reports visited this doctor. At the entrance gate, i couldn't control my tears. Hundreds of people from all over the world were scattered everywhere, from the garden area to waiting lounge, from the bill counter to cafeteria. The expression on their faces was not very difficult to read, some had those freckles which were born after bearing constant pain for a long time and some had this confused expression as of what to do next or where to go next? And my expression was why am i here?

I was very disappointed, but had no choice but to look for this doctor. He was the senior most doctor and at the billing counter( where file was made), I was informed there will be a long que. It was on third floor, I decided to take the stairs...thinking that may be by the time i reach , my stars would change and doctor will say that the report is incorrect. Anywas after waiting for 3hrs, I was called inside...and what the doctor said, I still remember..Your father, has got no time, only thing we can do is make his going away less painful!

Wiping my tears, I gathered myself and i asked, how many days papa has?
The doctor said, may be a month, and if he responds well to medication may be 6months and if god favors him, its 9months. Then he has to go.....

Exactly after 6 months, papa never got off from the bed. Cancer, what started form Gall bladder has moved to pancreas, liver, lungs and then to bones. His back bone was completely gone and papa became bedridden....

Initially he tried to sit with the help of a belt.But failed....he started getting bed sores..they were painful. Papa was in pain...and he started asking us to relieve him of pain. He wanted to die..a man so strong, heavy built, height of 5'8''....lay on the bed..helpless!

What is more painful!, ...I sitting next to papa unable to do anything for him...he was disintegrating every moment and asking for his death. What i said, Papa don't worry we will sail through...together

I had no words, inside i was dying myself..i started living in constant fear that what if he never woke up.  It was my routine for months, to call papa as soon as i woke up. At times i would record his voice. And one fine day, what seemed a perfect day, papa had juice after not eating for months, he smiled ...and i knew  it was time. He became a star- the brightest star - MY PAPA!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Beginning.....

Papa always said "believe in yourself", and my whole life centers around this one phrase, so much so
that i never realized when my confidence became over confidence. But sooner or later, life teaches to a lesson and you are just left shocked. I have been a very confident person all my life and like to take charge of the situation. Most of the time i have taken charge of things also and the result has been very bright.

My father had (he still is) been my pillar of strength, he taught me so many things in life.  There were decisions i made, not sure but papa said go ahead - I am behind you. Though professionally he was an agriculturist but he was an excellent mathematician. He was excellent with numbers - the only thing papa couldn't teach me. All the things are gone and i am just sitting and trying to put together my father's memories.

Now when I remember, papa always complained of having pain in the abdomen. But he wouldn't visit the hospital. He thought, it was just another "old age" thing and so did we. But when  after months of medication, the pain din't stop. I decided to take him to the hospital.  As we all thought, so did the doctor- papa had gallstones. They needed to be removed immediately. The doctor said, there will be a minor operation and things will be fine. Papa was more then okay so I decided to admit papa that day itself (sooner the better). I din't wanted to take chances. But....But....But it was already too late. 

Next morning, which started just like any other day made history- 30 November 2012 ( I will never for get this day). Me and my husband along with our daughter reached the hospital around 8am. Mom was already there.  Around 9:30am, papa was taken to the operation theatre. But 5 minutes later the doctor came out and called for me. For the next few seconds, I was BLANK, I wanted to ask, but words refused to come out of my throat. My feet suddenly felt so heavy. 

Papa, had Cancer - stage 4 (Metastasis). And he has got few months to live...

I asked, Are you sure? The doctor said, I am confident but for your satisfaction get a biopsy done.   I hoped for a miracle. But miracles don't happen, at least that is one thing that i have learn't from my experiences in  the past few months.  As expected, miracle did't happen  - and it was confirmed! Papa was going...far ...far ...away.

I read extensively on internet, and there were survivor stories. I felt motivated. I started of dreaming but has anyone ever seen dreams coming true. If they come true - they will not be called dreams, right ? Generally, I am a very positive person and have always believed in the goodness of life.  I decided to put a fight and when i saw my father- my confidence got doubled- he too was ready to fight.
Together we will!

I vouched, that come what may- the treatment will go on without any hiccups and the only way to ensure it was, to do it myself. If everything goes fine and with the best treatment, papa will be cancer free in few months ( God, I will not let you take papa, I smiled).  

Cancer means death in the next few days,  few months or may be if you are lucky few more years but your loved one will go. Papa fought and he fought bravely. In his 10 months of treatment, i never saw him give up or be negative. He always smiled for us even when he was degenerating from inside.

Papa went away. I was heart broken ( And, God smiled back at me!)

During the course of treatment, I met a few good people and I take this opportunity to thank all those beautiful people. It is because of you, I was able to take  care of my father. Though he is not with me. But i will never forget your kindness.  Thank you and God bless you all!

Love you papa!