Monday, November 10, 2008

Women, love yourself.

When a close friend died leaving a 23 month old baby behind I prayed harder than I had ever prayed before. The baby broke my heart, we could do everything, but we could never, ever replace her mother. Her husband was a broken man, a useless father. I warned my husband, if I died and he treated the kids, like that, I'd haunt him. I prayed that I'd live just long enough for my kids, just three and a half and two then, to be emotionally independent. I swore I'd get regular cancer check ups (cancer runs in the family). I started exercising with Prime Bodies on Star TV and discovered, as a young mother, the joy of shaking the hair to send sprays of perspiration in the air, this was a brand new experience, and became a life time love. But after a while as the memory faded, the friend's baby went to her grand mom's place and we all started forgetting about her, laziness seeped in.

Then my sister called, she was waiting for biopsy results for a newly discovered lump. She demanded that I assure her, that if she dies, those of us she left behind, would stand by the father, and love her son like our own. Shaken, once again, I got all kinds of cancers ruled out. She lived to have a daughter, gall bladder stones, fibroids and lots of melodrama.

We bought clothes, attended cocktails, hunted for good schools, generally lived busy lives and forgot all about check ups. Two aunts survived cancer. And I prayed for them. No thought of cancer check ups any more. Then last week during all the Obama jubilation I needed to make a trip to the Gynecologist.

First a blood test and an Ultra Sound. An Ovarian Cyst, follicular, 20 mm was discovered. Could it be cancerous? Sister broke down on the phone, she bawls when she is ill, she also gets to bawl when somebody else is ill. What if it is cancerous? Husband thinks I can beat my sister at melodrama. Runs in the family. Mom acts calm, but calls early next morning, she wasn't able to sleep. A friend has an ovarian cyst and thinks nothing of it. I talk to the kids, while talking about this and that, lightly, casually, like how I believe they are sensible kids, they are not the kind to come crying to their mom for everything, how they can take wise, practical decisions, and when in doubt they could always look into their hearts to find the right answers. Some of the most successful people have had no mothers. This wasn't new talk, independence is precious, and it's grilled into them.

Endrometrial biopsy and pap smear test
was on the 6th. I tell the gynecologist, "I have neglected cancer check ups, the last was in 2004, we have cancer in the family, two aunts survived esophageal cancer and breast cancer, lost an aunt to leukemia, my sister has fibroids and in 1993 a lump, that was found benign, my mother has had no problems ...." he looks up from the Ultra Sounds reports to interrupt, "You also have no problems." Oh! the magic of those lightly spoken words!!! He can beat both my sister and me at melodrama.

I know the two biopsy reports are still due, but I would have not been worried if I had been regular with check ups. Early detection is the best way to fight cancer.

34 comments:

Usha Pisharody said...

I think this is endemic to the women populace, especially of India, where they put everything, possibly everything, before their own selves :) I suppose it's something to do with the genes.

My sister in law, who is an ophthalmologist told me of her colleague who would religiously take that glass of milk each night, even if there was not enough for her husband and the kids, as, according to her, she would always be there to take care of them, but her? She wondered. So she took that dose of natural calcium et al, via milk without fail :) I rather applaud that you know!

And yes *sigh*.. everytime some form of tragedy occurs, we bend over backwards trying to make sure we are in someway more careful, but then human nature, and the overconfidence of still having that life undisrupted makes one forget about it all!

I need to get that blood test right away, to check blood sugar; diabetes, it runs in the family.. :)

Thank you, IHM, this makes a difference!

myheadtrip said...

I am so scared of what would happen if I were to die. Who would take care of A? Then I realised I was just getting worked up. If it has to happen, it will. I did not plan to be where I am now. I don't know where I am going from here.
I hate cancer. It has hit my life by taking in people I love. It is the last thing any one must go through. Hope all your results come out clean. Will pray that they always are for you :)

Pinku said...

So you dont have a problem...am so relieved...have been waiting to hear those magic words.

But do be sure to get those regular check ups done... ur children maybe independent but they will still need you around. so will others. and so you should for you deserve to be around. :)

Ritu said...

This strikes a chord in me. I am petrified of bad news and ostrich-like I chose to not go and get the tests done. Sigh

My biopsy results came in on Saturday too. PAPPU PAAS HO GAYA. Congrats on passing your test too :D

preetischronicle said...

Great! I am so happy you have no problems and may you never have them.
Calendar your check ups and never miss any. ok!

Indian Home Maker said...

@usha pisharody I guess we are too busy living to think of death! A little care is all it takes... do get those tests done.

@myheadtrip Regular check ups and early detection are a great way to control cancer, I know many survivors.

@Pinku Thanks :) No it does seem, as of now, that there's no problem :)

@Ritu I read your hilarious posts on the experience :)) Congratulations on Pappu passing :)

Indian Home Maker said...

@preetischronicle Thanks and Yes ma'am :)

my space said...

IHM..m happy your reports are clear..we do tend to take our health for granted and most of us have a ostrich-approach to check ups , sp going to a gynaec..m petrified of gynaecs and so choose to believe that m above all such associated illnesses`!!
btw got ovarian cyst-and now try to go fr regular sonography and the post reminds me to go now..
Thanx-and if the sis melodrama leads u to a checkup then melodrama is welcome :-)

Quirky Indian said...

Relieved to know all tests OK....

Cheers,

Quirky Indian
http://quirkyindian.wordpress.com

Just call me 'A' said...

you never know when 'it' would strike. never miss that check up. i had a similar awakening a while back and vowed to give myself that 'doctor appointment' present periodically.
take care.

D said...

Hey IHM, I'm so glad to hear the doc's verdict! Pls take good care of yourself.

Monika,Ansh said...

IHM, I hope will have regular check ups now. Glad everything turned out fine & hope it remains this way always :)

manju said...

In true melodramatic style, you did not reveal what your doctor told you about the results of the ultrasound tests, until the end of your post. I was getting pretty apprehensive by then!:)

But seriously, glad that everything turned out okay. I hope the remaining results are also normal.

And yes, Indian women do neglect themselves.:(

Z@ki-R said...

Good that there's nothing to worry. We pray, you live a long life to see your kids grow and making impact in many lives.

Does it matter said...

IHM,
Glad to hear you are fine.
Take care!

Iya said...

hey i am so happy to hear u have no problem...i dont even know u properly but still i felt relieved... and please get the other 2 checks also done..

Indian Home Maker said...

my space Yes, I was a real Ostrich! And her melodrama is a pain but a welcome pain :)

quirky Indian Thanks and cheers :)

just call me A We really should think of the check ups as presents :)

D Yupp now for sometime until the shock lasts ... :)

monika.ansh Thanks, if check up routine is followed - everything should be in reasonable control at least :)

manju Typically if half the results are ok, I have assumed the other results will be fine too :)

z@ki-r Thanks, these are such kind words, they mean a lot to me :)

does it matter Thanks a ton :)

Iya The other two tests results are due this week ... the gynec thought they would be fine, but I will celebrate once I know for sure :)

Monika said...

good to hear u are fine... I think u right each one of us go though this... one of aunt's passed away of cancer two years back almost in our house and we all pledged to get it screened every year and i think we did it only once... i think its time to remind everyone for a checkup

Thanks for reminding IHM

Indyana said...

For goodness sake don't be so melodramatic and build it up like this...I was scared to read the rest of it! I am so glad that you are Ok and hope the remaining results will prove that too!

Now, as far as taking care of oneself is concerned I'll take this post as a lesson! I'm terrible at it! I realise that we are there to care for others but not for ourselves, nor does anyone bother to as they are just not used to it,perhaps!So,instead of waiting for others to care, I'd better get on with the task!Would not want to be called a sick burden later on,I guess!

Imp's Mom said...

Oh thank god you are fine!

Cancer runs in my family too and I thinks its high time I started getting regular checkups done... and calender ur check ups okie!

Chirag said...

IHM, Breaking this up.

About Fathers: My Mom has a dislocation in the spinal cord and dad was always off(Army) to fields(J&K). We used to stay alone, I have seen the strength my mom has shown all these years. She suffers from pain every second of the day, this is just because she didn't get the treatment on time. Dad was never close so never could speak to him ever, till date...Anyways hope when I'll be a father I always will be available for my kid.

On leukemia: My grandfather lost his life to lung cancer, saw my mom even though older sister in the family breakdown. Just the thought of this gives me shiver up my spine.

Keep safe.

mummyjaan said...

Hi, delurking to say that I'm glad you're okay. I think we women are very careless when it comes to our own health. We're so busy looking after our loved ones that we forget ourselves. Good thing you got yourself checked out early.

(Um, early 'deduction'?)

Indian Home Maker said...

Monika I wish it was some kind of a compulsory thing, like for insurance or for all working people ... but why depend on all that, we have to learn to be responsible for our own health.

Indyana Aww!!! Indyana I'm sorry!!! You know this is exactly how it happened to me... the gynecologist broke the news so lightly, like he didn't know how worried I was :)
The reason for this post was the hope that it might make others in a similar situation see how important it is not to neglect our health.

Imp's Mom Yes do that Imp's mom. After this jolt I too will!! What will we do with everything else without good health?

Chirag I am sorry about your mom, anything to do with spinal cord
must be very painful. I am sure she must find strength in the fact that you realise and understand what she goes through. Do give her my warmest regards.
And it is really sad when dads are not able to spend time with their kids, specially boys.

mummyjaan Thanks and Welcome :) Yes you are so right, early detection, [lol not deduction, thanks for bringing it to notice, corrected it :)]can save lives!!! I still haven't got the biopsy reports just keeping my fingers crossed :)
Hope to see you delurk more often :)

N said...

Good to hear that all is well with you :), regular check ups are a must...
Very true women especially Moms forget to take care of themselves.. And then, even when they do its not for themselves, but what drives them is the thought of who will look after the loved ones..

Thought Room said...

I am glad you are ok. You did build the story to anxity level. It is so true that early deduction helps. Do remind yourself. If health is lost, there is no point in any thing else. When mortal anxity strikes, we suddenly realise what we loose is more than what is lost.

the mad momma said...

ah.. i ave a bunch of them. i think i'm remarkably fertile - gorwing cysts, kidney stones, babies.. all a tthe same time ;) glad you're okay. stay healthy. i'm a fine one to talk!!!

Reema said...

I hope your biopsy reports come out fine. Your post really made me aware about having regular tests and all. Thanks.

Priyanka said...

So happy to know that the results were negative and hope that they always will be.
Cancer runs in my family too :(

Mama - Mia said...

these are the things we so rarely think about unless tragedy strikes too close to home.

am glad alls well and ok! and this is a wake up call for all indeed!! what with BP and cholestrol levels going high even for 30yr olds! and heart attacks happening at 35!

not just cancer, all these things can be avoided or atleast more care taken if detected early on!

cheers!

abha

@lankr1ta said...

Hey IHM am so glad it was nothing.... take care of you

Mavin said...

Good Health is a blessing!!!

Take good care and keep writing those lovely posts.

nimis540 said...

How did I miss reading this post in between Jealous about Americans and latest one :( Sorry dear..

Take crae IHM..I share smae thoughts..I always tell my mom to take care,as I want her to take care of us..She has knee joint pain due to lack of calcium..All her life,she looked after ourselves,but forgot to look after her..Even i didn't care for myslef,until i had a baby..now i am more bothered about myself as I want myself alive,HEALTHY,for my baby's and my husband's sake..What would they do without me :( And I care for my husband's food too..What will I do without him :(

Take care IHM ((hugs))

Devaki said...

I'm coming here late. Hope everything's fine now?

सुजाता said...

dear IHM
pls visit R ANURADHA's blog RAINBOW on cancer http://ranuradha.blogspot.com/

she had cancer a few years back and survived after a very long and painful medical treatment,she is a part of chokher bali.