Counseling!

March 17, 2014

One day, as a part of rules of the oncologist’s office I had to talk to a counselor. She was younger than me. After we talked she said, “I have nothing to say to you! You know everything. Your talk, thoughts telling me that you don’t need my counselling. Still if you feel like it you can come always.” I had to take thirty-five days of radiation therapy for seven weeks. I had to walk in front of her office each day and she smiled and I smiled back. Probably at the very first day she knew that I wouldn’t go to visit her! I had to go to another counselor as the rules of my other oncologist (regular one) for once. She also told me that I knew everything. I didn’t go to any other counselors except these first two appointments. I myself gave counseling to many people even though I have no degree in this field! People like to talk, express themselves to me, don’t know why! Once one of my friends told me that I studied in the wrong field!


In this country most of the people say that children should know about their parent’s cancer fight. I knew it but still didn’t tell Deepto for years. I wanted to tell him little bit later. But I had to tell him on 10th December of 2011. At that day his world has changed. Now I am counseling my own son for two years and two months! I told him that we could go to a professional counselor whenever he feels like it. Each time he said he doesn’t need it. He said that talking to me works. Whenever he talks, expresses his thoughts I get an outer body feeling! Feel like listening to other people’s children! Don’t get emotional. Don’t go in there. The way a counselor would talk, I try to do the same. I didn’t know that I have this power! I am the cause of the pain. Yet I have to tell him to get up each time, be strong, nothing could stop him etc., I don’t know how I do it! Each time think, what would have to be so wrong to the nature if I had some more years to tell him! ……………….. Tomorrow is another judgement day

Memories!

February 25, 2014

After I started my cancer fight in 2006, my brother sent a web link. It was Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture.” After several days watched the video, program with him. Bought his book within days. Couldn’t be able to read the book yet! Video and the book are the same. Still couldn’t read after one or two pages. He was diagnosed in 2006, near the time I was diagnosed. He was a very busy person, exercised regularly but got the rare and incurable cancer. He was the father of three young children. His elder son is little bit younger than Deepto. His youngest and only daughter is just eighteen months old! When he was diagnosed, I think the baby girl was just around six months old! I still remember he took his daughter on his palm and holding her with the other hand in the sea beach during dusk! That scenario still makes me cry!


In 2007 (or the beginning of 2008?) Randy Pausch passed away. I still remember his three children. Still remember about Elizabeth Edwards! How much she suffered in life! She lost his first son, tried to stand up from it, had two more children at a risky age, she got cheated by his high school sweetheart husband while battling with cancer! Why people’s life is like this! Some people get endless fights! It seem like waves of the ocean! Keeps coming… Remember her two youngest children! So many known and unknown people… so many children, teenagers… Came to know a known person’s mental preparation (by her and the family) to die make me wonder, someday I shall have to…


On 21st I forgot the anniversary of my second lung surgery. There was an art competition at the Bangla School. I volunteered and ran the previous Bangla School here. When kids became very busy, would rather say parents became very busy, I had to discontinue the school. The new school is running good by some very active people. Even I was not feeling good, I took Deepto to the competition. He participated in the competition last year while I was in the hospital. In the evening went to eat outside. These days Mizan mainly takes take away food when we eat outside food. Since I don’t feel good these days. In those days when I say that I could go outside to eat, father and son understands that today is a little bit of different day! Deepto looked emotional while eating and said he is growing up so fast! While at bedtime he said, he gets flashbacks of my two lung surgeries! At the Bangla School he was remembering those days. I felt so guilty. Said sorry again and again. I shouldn’t have brought him there. He said it was OK. He said that until 2011 he thought that his life was “normal”. He thanked us that we could hide my cancer fight so well until then. Had to tell him on 31st of December of 2011. After that day 
his life has changed! He thanked us for not telling him before that, he got a normal childhood for it! Again he said, he couldn’t handle it if we said it to him at his six and half years of age (when I was first diagnosed).


I could only say, I wish I could hide it some more years! But life demanded it to come out…He said that he is feeling like crying, he needs to cry. I always tell him, it’s OK to cry. He doesn’t cry usually. He put his head on my lap and cried! I could only comb through my fingers in his hair and wished he could sleep! Nobody could ease his pain! Thought that if he sleeps, the time of suffering would be less! No I didn’t have tears in my eyes! I didn’t have any anger, sorrow, pain in my mind! Only I wished that I could be able to be there for him to soothe him… nothing more than that…. and could watch the sunset with the lifelong friend for some more years to come…

Stand up!


February 13, 2014 at 11:18pm

A short while ago a figure skater fell down as if couldn’t stand up again! After few seconds stood up and finished the routine, beautifully! Immediately I said, life is like that. Falling down, getting hurt, and standing up. Standing up is the main thing. The skater may not get any place in the competition but everybody watched that the person who might not stand up not only stood up but finished the program!

Don’t know why I remember some moments of my first lung surgery. One night the nurse gave me wrong injection, I was feeling like having a heart attack, and then I screamed to call a doctor and how I wanted to live! After two nights of that, I had hallucinations and severe pain; I passed out (which everybody thought I was sleeping!), it went on for eleven hours because of another RN’s stubbornness! I fought and said you are making a mistake. After eleven hours, early in the morning I denied to push the button for pain medication while having severe pain! When my surgeon came he realized what had happened! At that night Mizan and Udoy also didn’t understand me! They were listening to the RN! Everybody needs to know that the patient knows the body better! Doctors, nurses can guess but they may not be correct all the time. The world of medicine relies on statistics. This medicine helps that many people, or that medicine can cause these many side effects etc. But many things can happen other than these. Those doctors who are really good listen to the patients. My previous G.I. said that every doctor works by knowing things but it takes twenty years to learn to listen to the patients!


On the eighth day I started vomiting blood. Maybe for the blood thinner! It took hours to stop. I thought I was going to die. I came to know my biopsy result during that time! I knew that sarcoma went to my both lungs. I was thinking that am I going to die without seeing Mizan and Deepto? Mizan came but Deepto was at school. I was thinking that is there any time to bring Deepto? Then thought that I have to live until he comes. After the vomiting stopped I decided that Deepto shouldn’t come on that day. He was dropped off to Arnob’s house by a friend after the school. I didn’t want him to see his mom’s such sufferings. Because any time I might be starting vomiting again. Also I was preparing myself to tell him about my cancer fight! Until then he didn’t know the big “C”! I told him after one and a half month. Started by saying that, “Storms comes in life, but you have to stand up no matter what ………….

Several days ago Deepto said, “Ma, sorry I overheard you saying to someone, if I were eighteen plus you wouldn’t go through the lungs surgery for the second time, what it means? You would die?” I could only say, “The pain and sufferings were so much for the first time that’s why I said it. And you know that many medications can’t help me.”

Each time I go through CT scan and think, “Should I be able ……….. May be at a point wouldn’t be able…………………. But the fight must go on ………………..”

Humiliation!


February 10, 2014 at 11:42am

On Thursday school closed early. Parents picked up children in a hurry. Children were very happy to get a snow day. Deepto was too. On Friday weather got worse. From afternoon he got worried about Saturday’s birthday party. He checked weather updates frequently. Whole day blizzard went on. Next morning he was sad and asked again and again what would happen? I asked Mizan to pick up the cake, pizza (last night they said they wouldn’t deliver it) and make a judgement to ask people to come or not. After a while heard dad and son were talking in a surprised voice while looking through the window! Deepto said with total surprise, “Ma! Arnob is coming! He is walking!” He is Deepto’s best friend since one. Their house isn’t too far. But the roads are hilly and there is no side-­walk at some place. He walked this road in this weather! He assured us by saying, “I am wearing many layers.” Four layers on bottom and six layers on top! Right at that moment I decided not to cancel the party. Arnob and Deepto started to clean the drive way with great enthusiasm. Mizan went to pick up the cake and pizza. After getting his call I asked others to come.


Seventeen people came in this weather! Until they reach home safely my tension, worry won’t go away! Sabita (Arnob’s mom) suddenly said, “Lopa’s book is coming out.” Others looked at me. One person said, “Good.” Again Sabita said, “We should have a party for this.”


A person said, “Invite Sheikh Hasina (PM of Bangladesh) for it”. I just looked at that person and thought that how easily someone can hurt someone without any reason! These people don’t know whether I can write or not. If they think I can’t, still people would normally show nice gesture. Especially when know each other for many years! In my life many hurt me visibly or silently without any reason. Still do. I am teaching Deepto that if he can’t protest against wrong doings to him, he can’t protest for others. I didn’t learn to protest when I was young. But my self­-consciousness was always there. I protested silently then. If someone neglects or ignores me, I just stay away. If those people understand their fault, I act like nothing happened. And those who don’t understand I don’t remind them.

Stories of ordinary life!

February 7, 2014 at 11:14am

My youngest brother and his family came to visit in the winter break. The toddler kept all of us entertained! Memories of Deepto’s early age was flashing back! I think intentionally I stay away from those! After they went I was very sick. Days after days Mizan and I had a very bad cold. Those who have never seen me coughing wouldn’t understand how bad it turns out when I have a cold and cough. I had so much pain in my ribcage and the area of my back where the cuts are, it seemed like I was recovering from lungs surgery again. One day among these Deepto had a fever of 103 degree for two days. Baba and son are doing OK now. I am still coughing but little bit better. The reason I am saying this is that life didn’t stop, it still goes on. Deepto did homework, class tests, finals, and science fair project report while having both parents having very bad cold. And did great.

Friend Aireen came to visit. She stayed for two days and three nights. Spent time with her while coughing. Thinking Deepto’s birthday party, which is limited to his close friends and their families, have to be arranged without any preparation. From yesterday blizzard started which is not normal here at this time of the year. Deepto was worried about that if his birthday party gets cancelled! Last time it was just before my second lungs surgery. While cooking thought that next time wouldn’t be able to cook. Now it’s happening! It will be a pizza party. To not feel guilty will cook a dish (Halim)! Bangladeshi people cook so many items for a party which I don’t even when I am not this sick. I always have a sense of limitations since my early ages. And now life taught me minimization by slapping around!

Cancer fighter, not patient!


Tuesday, February 4
World Cancer Day 2014


A dying cancer patient is the most common thing to watch in movies, dramas in Bangladesh. In music videos too. In those it’s shown as a romantic sentiment! No, nothing is wrong there. It’s very common that cancer patients die. But not everybody dies soon. Some may fight and live for 
years. Some may get cured. It’s very important to become fighters not patients. Positive thinking can give more time. May it be months, or years? Nobody knows when and how death will come. A cancer patient may die for totally other reason. So it is better be fighters, not patients. Being a patient, someone may very easily become depressed, which may bring more misery to themselves and close ones. It’s not only cancer fighters, but people around should also be aware of it. They need to change their mentality. Media, literature may play a positive role. Life means fighting. Cancer is a huge fight. Now is the time to show cancer patient as a fighter.

If I became a cancer patient in 2006 instead of a fighter, would I be able to write like this?Or would I be able to help to create many memories of a six and half years old child? Or could I be able to do things which I like/liked? The fight didn’t stop. So I keep fighting while time to time listening the knock on the door! Now I am waiting to see the fourteenth birthday of that six and a half!

Why do I talk?


November 28, 2013

Opened a Facebook account in 2009 after got a request from one of my very good friend. If I posted a status or upload a picture my very busy friends could get an update about me, which was the main reason! Gradually all of my childhood friends (I have regular connection with some of them, with some I didn’t), friends younger and older of the university campus where I was born and raised, engineering student life friends, relatives, people I know over the years living in three to four states and gradually unknown persons who sent me requests because of my writings and activism are being added! But I don’t accept everybody’s request. I do some background checking.


At the beginning I used to make comments to my friend’s status and wrote a few lines as my status if I wanted to. From the fall of 2009 to spring of 2010, wrote very few. I was taking some classes. My background is hardware and I was taking classes on software. Wanted to see what was in it! Past three years on being diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma on my left leg. Had the surgery and full dosage of radiation therapy. Was thinking of taking some classes and gradually get a job. The chances of getting cancer back is more in the first two years. I was told that my condition would be monitored for the next ten years. After one year very tiny one or two spots were found on my lungs in the CT ­Scan. But they were so tiny nothing could be told. I used to have regular CT­ Scan to monitor those. Also had regular MRI on my leg.


I took three classes in three semesters and got A in all. The only reason I am telling this is that my background is hardware and I knew nothing about software and I was forty plus with physical challenge (I had severe pain on my leg till just couple of years back), if I could do it anybody can do it. If someone wants he/she can study anything at any age.


In the summer of 2010 the CT scan showed that spots grew a little and they are more in numbers. I got the message! I stopped taking classes. Talked to the surgeon. If those spots grow once again, I had to go through surgery. Those were so tiny that if I had surgery then there was a possibility of damaging my lungs rather than taking those out properly. At that time I got regularly on writing on Facebook. Now these days people here are talking about cancer openly.


But not everybody. There is a chance of losing job if talk about it at work place! There is a chance of not getting hired in places! Yes people may be discriminated because of cancer in many places in this country too! And in Bangladesh people don’t talk about it! If someone gets it most of the people say “goodbye” without saying it! Does anyone use the word “cancer fighter”? Even though if caught early, timely it could be defeated by treatment in some types. And a fighter can live years by fighting it in many types. Why someone has to live those years like a dead person? Why not live like a living being?


Started talking about my own fight on Facebook. In personal life I started talking about it from the beginning of my fight. Only reason was it to make awareness of cancer, cancer fighters and their families (they are fighters too). There is no other reason to bring my personal fight to public. If at least one person benefits from it anyhow!


Cancer fighter doesn’t get a life full of roses because (s)he has cancer! Life itself means fighting. Different people have different ones. I have fought with Hepatitis B too. Fight with new fibroid tumor came back with severe pain. I grew up with this severe pain through my whole educational life. After I finished my bachelors in engineering I had the surgery. Now surgery for this again is not for me. How many major surgeries can someone have in a year?! I started writing about my cancer fight but didn’t leave other issues. What I wrote is a diary. Nothing more than that nothing less than that. I said so many things, shared personal thoughts and feelings with the thought that if the diary of a simple human being like me helps someone in any way! While writing I might have said many unpleasant things, because I write my feelings. If I would have thinking about writing only pleasant things, popular things it wouldn’t be a diary! And my characteristics are not to please someone by lying. I strongly believe in these lines.


Woke up
on the shores of Rupnarayan,
Came to know this world
is not a dream.
Saw thyself
in bloody letters,
Recognized thyself
in traumas and traumas
sorrows and sorrows;
Truth is hard,
Loved the hard,
It never betrays.
Life is the meditation of sorrows till death,


To get the amazing value of truth,
To repay all debt to death.
(At the shore of Rupnarayan, Rabindranath Tagore)

Don’t know when can I be able to go Bangladesh again, don’t know if ever be able to. Never thought about that the poem I love so much since very early age would become so true! Each time I recite, each word makes me cry.

I will be reborn in Bangla someday, on the shores of the Dhansinri
Not as a human perhaps, but as a seagull, or a sturnidae,
or a crow of dawn, in this land of fall and harvesting feast
someday, I will descend, rest, in the shade of a jackfruit tree, all swathed in mist.
Or return, a timeless duck, floating idly in a pond, pungent with water spinach
anklet charms adorned by a girl, on my ruddy feet.
I will arrive with my love for the rivers, the pastures and fields
I will return to this green, dusky soil, wet with the foams of Jolangi.
You may behold a vulture in the twilight breeze, or perhaps,
a shrieking barn owl on a silk cotton tree.
You may glimpse a child drying husky rice on a courtyard full of grass.
A youth paddling his dinghy on grimy waves of the Rupsha with a ripped, white sail;
Or a silver egret eying scarlet clouds as they swim back home in the dark;
here is the place you will discover me.
Poet: Jibananda Das
Poem: Abar asibo phire
Translation: Anandamayee Majumdar