I am writing this from the viewpoint of a person who is seeing a loved one suffering from this disease. All the thoughts here are purely personal and reflect my state of mind.
Of all the diseases in the world, cancer may be one of the most glamourised ones (maybe after AIDS). There are many movies, books and forums about it and countless celebrities and foundations talk about it. You would have come across it in some form or the other, shed a tear and then moved on.
I did the same until the time I came to know that my mom suffered from cancer. She was first diagnosed with the disease around 9 years back, got treated, became well, until it raised its ugly head again 4 years back in a meaner way. She is now undergoing treatment and like my brother says, “she is like a ticking time-bomb”.
Cancer is a painful disease both for the person as well as the loved ones around them. Also, it is a very expensive disease. You may consider it to be a heartless thing to say when one is being all emotional about it. But the truth is when one starts spending the money, all emotions run out and one is just left wondering how to get the money for the next chemo cycle.
Let me focus my thoughts today on the silver lining of cancer, because apparently every cloud has one. Cancer does help to really understand how much a loved one actually loves you. Let me illustrate this by an example. As a child, I used to think that my parents were just parents. They had had an arranged marriage, were caught up in raising 2 children and were never great giver of gifts. I never imagined them being the lovey-dovey sort or having a DDLJ moment. But, now I feel that my parents story has the potential to be etched in the eons of time as one of the greatest love stories — right next to Romeo and Juliet.
My dad is an old gentleman and a patient one at that. He religiously accompanies my mom to her chemo every week, sits with her and stares at the medicine. He never sleeps during the 8-9 hour long sessions (i must confess even I slept off as there was nothing to do and how long can one stare at the bottle). My mom is not supposed to eat any outside food and most of the times is too weak to cook. Hence, my dad has taken up the position of full-time chef at home. When the chemo makes my mom’s taste buds go all awry, he patiently hears her crib about his cooking. They do have their share of fights, but at the end of the day, they provide each other with the much-needed support that they require. Together, they feel (and I hope) that they will defeat this disease the second time around as well.