The Latest in the Life & Times of Me

It’s been difficult to talk books lately, though they continue to do an incredible job in helping me retain my sense of sanity and balance; but life keeps throwing out unexpected challenges and this one time I am just exhausted. Exhausted to do what seems normal, when nothing, not one element in my life is normal. I do love life and want to live it every minute, but I do want to ask the Universe, why am I denied a boring albeit peaceful life. For those seeking excitement and action, tired of their everyday jobs and other social responsibility, know that there are others who who would trade that simple everyday life in a heartbeat. Why is boring a bad thing? It is a worthy existence and much better that the constant curve balls that comes your way. Maybe boring is what we all need to aspire for instead of wealth and adventure. There is such joy in everyday routine; in the small tasks that bring comfort and add to the overall well being of our existence.

But boring is one adjective that I am denied, since I was 13. If there is a problem, life will make sure it hits me in the face and in case I still refuse to see, rub my face on it, till, I get the point. For instance, back in late August, I was set for a wonderful vacation with my sister and cousin to the southern most state of India, Kerala, a magical land of culture, beach, mountain , wildlife, all together. This was a my first full length vacation since my diagnosis last year and the north star of my life for the last few months. Physically I was feeling much better than I had in months ( re – my last post ), the chemotherapy side effects were finally in control and I was leading as a normal life as possible.

I went for my routine follow up that happens every three months with my oncologist. My blood tests were all clean and as a standard medical protocol, she advised an MRI. I went for the MRI but something kept bothering me – the what if scenario. I tried dismissing them, believing that my mind always sought out the worst, after years of trauma. But there may be science to such things like “gut instinct” etc, because turns out they were correct. In subsequent tests that followed, it was discovered that my endometrial cancer has metastasized (spread) and I have lesions in my lungs and lymph nodes. The cancer is back ( or maybe it never gone away, just hid somewhere until the chemotherapy stopped ) in less than 7 months after I finished my treatment. My second round of chemotherapy started as of September 30th and this time we really do not know much; how many rounds, how long and if it needs to be combined with such advanced medicine like immunotherapy. It’s living from one session to another, dependent on test results, that may or may not say something.

This second round of battle is making me very unwell. Far more than I was the first time, as the dosage is stronger and also my immunity is already compromised from the first session that ended last year. I am tired of the never ending triage of doctors, tests and medicines. And I want nothing more than a boring life where I do my work, read some books , write about them and go traveling every now and then. I have no ambitions of conquering the Corporate world or finding the one true love of my or being “inspiring” . I just want to be left alone to lead a simple life, but there I guess I ask too much and am being totally brazen in my greed !

However I am determined to grasp whatever I can get of my life. After my biopsy, I did take the vacation with my sister and cousin. And now prepare for another beach holiday in November. I will continue reading as much as I can and am planning to enroll for a second masters next year. I will continue raising awareness about Cancer in a society that pretends that this illness does not exist (see https://www.instagram.com/candidcancerconversation/ ). And in my own small sphere try and be as “boring” as possible, finding joy in everyday routines and tasks that enrich life – the smell of woodfire as the autumn turns to spring, a well cooked meal ( very important as most things taste like mud to me these days ) buying new books, an afternoon spent chatting with an old friend, 18000 kms away about everything and nothing and just breathing, one moment in time.

Sharing some pictures from the Kerala Vacation. It’s gorgeous country with nature and history and I am so glad I did this journey, cancer or no cancer.

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More Updates on the Big C

I know it has been a while since I came around to posting anything but there was too much going on in the life and time was scarce. Most of what was happening in the life was a good; some minor hiccups here and there but for a change nothing to get my life off kilter and most of it was good – celebrating all the Indian festivals, travelling, meeting people and all that that makes life good! But I did want to pop in for a few updates.

To begin with, as of last Friday, I have completed my chemotherapy and per my CA Marker tests, as of now there seems to be no evidence of disease. I may have to undergo some minor radiation in January but that is again preventive and the doctors are still debating whether I need it or not. Of course I will be on medication for a while with exhaustive medical check ups every three months. Also I have been advised that my Chemotherapy side effects, especially the fatigue, body ache and weakness may last upto a year and I may continue to have some bad days; however for all events and purposes, I am well. I am healthy and I have been living life pretty much like I used to before I fell sick! This in itself is one of the greatest and most awesome blessing and I have so much gratitude for this fact!

Celebrating the last of the Chemotherapy Session with my amazing Medical Team & Sister at the Hospital

Now through my journey, I came across a lot of misinformation, myth and a general casual or complete horror approach to this illness. Most folks seemed to think that being diagnosed with Cancer was end of the road and I may as well wait for the sword to fall. While several others inundated me with nonsensical information and a certain section of people whom I considered friends , abandoned me, perhaps thinking that I may need assistance or whatever. Since my diagnosis I have spoken to several other cancer patients who tell me of similar experience and ghosting is one common social side effect of Cancer. Needless to say there is a need to spread information and raise awareness and more communities to not only help Cancer patients but also caregivers or even people not directly affected but in some way touched by the disease through illness of a friend or a relative. These are not happy or pleasant things but t as data shows an increased rise in Cancer diagnosis across geographies, these become increasingly important things to be told! As a result of all this I started an Insta page to support some of these myth breaking conversations, provide general information about reducing cancer risk and caregiving 101. I also followed it up with a blog page ( work in progress ) and you can find me here ( Insta ) and here ( Blog ). It would be an honor if all you could drop by and follow and most importantly share some feedback and thoughts on what I can do more!

For now I am just grateful that as I approach my birthday on 23rd of this month, I am healthy and well and can live every moment like I used to and like I would want to. I realize this as one of the greatest of all blessings and am humbled and saddened to think that many are denied this everyday! I am truly lucky, here and now and that alone is best possible gift of all times!