My husband died of cancer related complications post surgery. He went in for the operation laughing and positive, to come out of it, never to smile or laugh again. Rest in peace, my love.
But this is not about that. This is about sharing the experience and caring for him. When we first heard the diagnosis, we were shattered, specially he and the family. A close friend, a doctor, asked me,how are You doing? She said, it’s important that that you are strong and positive to take him through this. I decided then to take it on the chin and we shall pull through with a smile.
The disease is such that the patient goes through a lot of ups and downs and trauma. Chemotherapy leaves a lot of side effects and stress in it’s wake, which we have to deal with patiently.
He found eating and swallowing food difficult because of ulcers in the mouth,so I would make curd-rice, jellies, cooling puddings etc. and coax him to eat as well as join him in eating the same bland meals! I had to think of different items to tempt him , that too, within the dietary restrictions the doctor had imposed on us. All this we did with humour and laughter, with an underlying resignation,
ok, will all these efforts pay off??
Whatever the outcome, it is essential to boost the morale of the patient and lead as much a normal life as possible. Even though he was not allowed to eat out, he would finish his meal at home and then join us on our outings. He loved driving and continued to do so till the last, as much as his health permitted. We traveled a lot too and also managed shifting back to Mumbai from Bangalore.
Chemo was very frustrating for him, as it made him disoriented often, writing was a problem, specially his signature on important documents . But all of us in the family, l, our children, his mother and sister, did our very best to be strong, positive and above all, normal. You are Not to give in , we said, we have to fight it. Sometimes he was like a fractious child, throwing a tantrum or losing his temper at the slightest excuse! The doctor had warned me about this, so I used to try and be calm and not react. He also suffered from peripheral neuropathy where the nerves in his limbs would go numb so that he could not feel anything. Hence if we were walking , he would just collapse and sit on the ground. The first time it happened I was terrified, but then realized that it was a side effect of chemo. I calmed him down and would not let him go walking anywhere alone. He would get sudden bouts of hiccups which gave him many a sleepless night that I shared with him. All in all chemo was a horrendous experience which we tolerated and took in our stride.
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