Friday, June 06, 2014

The Attack of the Cells

Strangely, it takes time to settle in. You hear your  speak the words, but they flow over you. The dab of the needle is dulled by the anaesthetic, till the moment it wears off. Then you feel the prick, the cold steel prodding its way through your veins.

The first thing that hits you is fear. What now? How do you handle this? Where do you go? Something in your life changes forever. You did not expect this. You cannot handle this. You look at your mom, who is suffering from it. She smiles weakly, and you smile back. What do you tell her? What can you tell her? The numbness seeps in. The brave facade you put up in front of already mourning relatives and friends is not because you are brave, but because you are numb. You are still registering the shock of the news. 

Then come the doctor visits. Each trip to the hospital is a visit to purgatory. There are others. There are worse. If you thought you were in a spot, you see others. They fill the footpaths, crowd the waiting room, sleep on benches and wait for hours to get the doctor to see them. The hospital might be the purgatory that Dante visited. More specifically, the first circle of hell; limbo. 

Mom was fine till the first chemo. She would have been fine even after it. It was us. We were not prepared. We never quite grasped the intensity of the shock. We were still paddling in high water, when the chemo hit us. Mom could not handle it. And we watched her fall, like collateral damage between two rioting factions. It was painful, on so many levels. 

Yet, she fought. With a braveness I did not know existed within her. Somehow, the disease has taught me more about my parents than 27 years of life. I learned that my mother more than anything else. I learnt that there are love stories beyond the ones that movies or novels can create. I learnt that I can break down any moment, anywhere. I learnt that you can never have too much help. 

And this is just the first battle with the dreaded disease - cancer. The war is still on.