While I Wait…

Ramkumar Saptarishi

I am a 66 year old man, and have had a glorious life so far. A loving wife, responsible and well settled children and lovely grandkids.

I am what you may call terminally ill.

Yet, the desire to live does not reduce. Life is funny like that – the more you live, the more you want to live.

My life is a testimony on how things can suddenly change and how we should learn to accept things the way they are. My children live in the USA and we spend around half our time with them. In fact, I even took my vaccination there in April 2021. All seemed well till I started to lose weight. In three short months, I had dropped 6 kilograms. On August 7, 2021, I landed in Chennai from Washington DC. I was normal then, apart from the weight loss. I could pick up my checked in baggage from the belt to the trolley and go home by myself with no issues.

But since the weight loss had me puzzled, I went for a master health checkup after a few days of landing in Chennai. My family doctor took all kinds of tests and everything seemed normal. However, my chest x-ray showed a small scar on the right side of my lung. Immediately, a scan was taken and showed pneumonia. I was put on medication for ten days. The follow up x-ray showed no improvements and hence my doctor put me in touch with a pulmonologist. The new doctor did a pulmonoscopy broncoscopy but the report was all normal. To be safe, he asked me to get a lung biopsy done.

And that brought the biggest shock of my life – Adeno Carcinoma! In other words, CANCER.

I live a regular and healthy life, with yoga, pooja, vedantha etc. Moreover, I am a non-smoker, a teetotaler and a pure vegetarian. Even the doctors were surprised with the outcome. The next day, a pet scan was done which showed metastasis to the liver from lung. Surgery was ruled out.

A senior oncologist was brought in for the treatment and he suggested immediate chemotherapy. My sessions started on September 5, 2021. After three sessions, they found out that although the lung managed status quo, liver cancer was not under control. I was put on a different chemo medicine, but I had a tough time with that medication. I was rushed to the emergency to recover.

All this to and from the hospital made me see the sad part of the world. Life is a big struggle for many of us, but we don’t really see it till we ourselves go through something similar. Till we are fine, the world looks fine. I saw patients ranging from small infants to young adults undergoing cancer treatment. I could not stand to see the infants crying. Life seemed so pathetic for me, but at least I could console myself that I got this horrible disease after living a full glorious life.

My children asked us to move to the USA for further treatment. I was pretty immobile by that time, but somehow managed to reach with my wife’s support, though the journey itself was difficult. In January 2022, another pet scan in the USA revealed that the cancer has spread to all parts and no treatment is possible. Almost 190 mutations were done, but all failed. I am now put on hospice care for pain management with morphine liquid. In six short months, our lives turned topsy turvy. For my sake, my daughter’s family relocated from west coast to east coast giving up so many things, to be near my son’s place where we are living right now. I am now completely immobile and surviving on morphine. My wife, son and daughter, who is postdoctoral, do everything for me, including removing my stool.

I am blessed to have such a wonderful wife, children, daughter-in-law and son-in-law. Our cousins, relatives and friends also keep visiting and have always loved me for what I am.

I am counting my days but do not know how many breaths I still have left. I am put in a choiceless situation which I have to accept as God’s will and take it as a penance for whatever I may have done. Life is a circle, what goes around comes around. But we have to take whatever comes our way with a smile, not matter how big or small. We don’t really have any other choice.

These days, people are dying sudden deaths, heart attacks and what not. Thought it is hard to digest it, but whenever the time comes, going without suffering seems somehow better that dying everyday with morphine liquid, and the look of our loved ones witnessing our suffering is even more painful that no morphine can alleviate.

May God give peace and health to all.

*All images used in this article are either Eyra’s own design or widely and freely available on the internet.*

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