Sharing two nice things first a story of a cancer survivor Jhanvi Ahluwalia- Student of the Mother’s International School and second a nice healthy recipe.
First: Jhanvi’s essay on her victory over the deadly disease
It seemed we have finally won. Today I went to see DC (that is Dr. Dhrama Choudhary at BLK Hospital-my oncologist)-my magician. He told me that now that we have completed 1 year post transplant, it’s a big milestone. All my reports are fine. I may even be able to join school in the next session. I am so excited about going back to school. Earlier he had said that I would be able to join in July, but looking at my reports and my energy levels, he may consider school for me in April itself.
When I look back, it all seems so hazy. I had just finished my first term exams of class 8 and Manya and I were looking forward to autumn break, that I developed high fever. After two days of fever Ma took a blood test. It was late in the evening that my Papa and Ma just came back home with the report and told me that we had to rush to the hospital for some tests. We rushed to Max hospital. They kept me overnight in a Paediatrics ICU, while reports of more blood tests were awaited. Now I realise that they were tests to confirm the reports we had earlier got, my parents and my relatives were praying so hard and I remember why they were all behaving so crazy; it was just an infection Ma had said. Manya was home alone with my Dadi. Later, she told me that she was really scared and didn’t sleep all night. Next day we were to move to AIIMS.
Two days were all about tests. On the third day, my Ma sat with me talked at length about what had actually happened. She told me it was AML – a type of blood cancer. I was still at loss to understand what it meant. She told me that there were some chemo drugs that would be injected, I would have to be at the hospital for a month and then I would be fine. That sounded good enough, some medicines and I could go back to Manya. Little did I know at that time that one month would go on for four months. The doctor and the nurses were nice, I especially liked Dr. Amrita. She was really pretty and she would answer ally questions very honestly. I had decided that one day I would be a hemat-oncologist like her. It was not so bad after all. We had a nice big room at AIIMS with a kitchenette and a huge bathroom. Ma use to cook everything that I wanted to eat there. Ma and I shared long talks, a lot of music and a lot of movies together since she stayed with me all the time. Papa was there each and everyday and would rush to the market if there was anything at all that I wanted.
What I didn’t like was the insertion of the Picc Line to feed the Chemotherapy into my system, the pain that the drugs would cause, the high fever and infections that would follow an acute dip in my blood counts. I lost my waist- long beautiful hair that I use to flaunt all the time. But what I hated the most was not being able to see Manya everyday. She use to come to the hospital every weekend with my Nani.
Finally it was all over and I could go home in February. It seemed to be all behind us. We would live again at home like family, Manya, Ma and Papa could be with me all the time. I even joint back school in 9th standard in the month of May. My friends were with me again. I was playing badminton both at school and with my Papa at Siri Fort stadium. I took my first term exams.
But it really was not over because in November 2015, AML was back. It was a day after Diwali that my routine tests showed abnormal cells. My doctor at AIIMS said it might be an aberration and a bone marrow biopsy cod only confirm. We all prayed so hard, I really did not want to go through the pain of chemotherapy again. That, however, was not how it would be. It was the most difficult car ride for me from home to the hospital. Last time I didn’t know what I was getting into, but this time I knew each and every effect of the medicines and how my body reacted to it. I just kept on praying that it was nightmare that would end soon. I just wanted to be well again, grow my hair, be with Manya, go on family trips like we use to earlier and go to school.
But it didn’t, it went on more violent than last time. Also the doctors told me that this time chemotherapy would not be enough. If it has come after the first chemo then it can do that again so I would have to go through a Bone Marrow Transplant. Two and half months were spent at AIIMS again.
The we moved to BL Kapur Hospital in February for the bone marrow transplant. This is where I find my magician- Dr. Dharma. For the next 6 months that I was at the hospital, he have me a lot of hope. He told me that we will do our best and leave the rest to God. No side effects of chemotherapy, no pains, no fever, no visits to ICU, no abnormal blood loss, no infections, nothing at all was big enough for him because he had solution for everything.
Manya had donated bone marrow for my transplant. She had to brave a lot of pricks and bone pains and insertion of a thick neck line just like I had so that her body would produce more and more marrow to be injected into mine. Ma and I had complied a set of music pieces and songs which would play while the actual transplant was happening so that i would receive happy marrow.
“Every cell in my body is happy, every cell in my body is happy and well” This was a little mantra given to me by Renoo Aunty and I lived with it during these 6 months reciting it whenever I felt low.
There must have been over 180 blood transfusions. At that time my parents would just tell me that I am doing very well and everything would be fine. Music was my biggest saviour at such times. When I was better, I would shop online for jwellery and makeup because I had to look good when I was back home. Besides I liked to be dressed snd smiling for the morning rounds when the doctors came.
What kept me going was the thought that the transplant would finally help me win over AML and I would be disease free at the end of my treatment.
Finally, I was discharged in August of 2016. For the first few days I just enjoyed being at home, in my own room. I loved just walking into the other room to see my parents going about their normal routine. I loved it when Manya came back home from school bubbling with stories of her day. It was wonderful to cook special dishes once in a while with Ma in the kitchen. I used to record a lot of songs in my voice. I still had to go to the hospital for blood transfusions once every 15 days, but that got over in November and life seemed more and more normal bu each passing day.
Now, today, exactly a year and a day after my transplant, I stand proud to have come out of all the agony and pain of cancer treatment. I feel wonderful and I think may be it was not so bad after all, it got the four of us so close, I am so different from how I use to be earlier. So many things which mattered earlier seem so small and meaningless. I was just looking forward to going to school.
I am so happy. I joined back school 5 days back. I love my school. The moment I stepped into the school campus I felt exhilaration. I almost felt like I could just scream with happiness. It was the freedom. The air I inhaled, the greenery, the students walking about. I just wanted to stand next to the track field and keep looking at the scene around me.
My Ma walked with me to to my class 11th E. She felt I could walk up the 3 flights of stairs to my classroom with the bag of books. I choose not to argue with her because it didn’t matter, nothing mattered. It even didn’t matter that I was in commerce section instead of science. I didn’t matter if I became a chartered accountant and not a hematoncologist when I grew up. Really, I wanted to be in school, attend classes, walk in the corridors of the school, chat with my friends, and make new friends in the new section.
I was told that I could go back home after a couple of hours, but I wanted to attend the whole day at school. I met so many teachers and everyone made me feel so special. It almost felt like a warrior coming home.
Second: recipe of Peanut chutney
Recipe courtesy: veg recipes of India
Link to recipe: