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Once I've won this battle with cancer, I want to be, once again, amma's boy

Dubai - 'I want to tell her that even when she is miles away from me, she is and will always be my hero'


Anu Warrier

Published: Sat 28 Nov 2020, 11:11 PM

Last updated: Sun 29 Nov 2020, 8:04 AM

Today, I received another phone call from amma. Once again, she said that she wanted to come to be with me, here in the UAE. And once again, I immediately replied in the negative.

“This is not an easy time for people like us, amma. You stay there for the time being and I will continue here. I will come to you once this virus trouble is over,” I said. Of course, she was not very happy about my reply, nevertheless, she accepted it. I’m certain that she will raise the demand again, within a week.

There is a reason why I told her people like us.

Until five years ago, for me, cancer was a disease that affects others or those individuals whom we hail as survivors in the many news stories we publish. One day, the meaning of the word changed for me. I received a call from my sister, who was on a vacation in India, “Amma has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma,” she said. For years, amma had issues with her bones; she would end up breaking at least one bone a year, having fallen down at home. The doctors treated her for osteoporosis for decades, but nothing changed. It was only after many falls and a number of broken bones, experts at the Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, confirmed that her bones were weak because she suffered from multiple myeloma. Just like any other person in my generation, I immediately Google-d to learn more about this strange disease. The results on the web left me gloomy. At her stage, the experts predicted she’d live for a mere two years from then. And though the doctors didn’t state it in clear terms, we were made aware that the disease was not curable and the only thing we could do was to work towards providing her some more time to live.

Initially, we didn’t let amma know that multiple myeloma is a form of cancer. But gradually, she realised and accepted it. She managed to overcome all the chemo sessions with positivity and confidence. My sisters and I made sure that at least one of us was present in the hospital for her monthly chemo sessions. Never did amma demand more from us, even when she went through post-chemo troubles.

After three years of treatment and two years of reviews, our 72-year-old amma is today full of energy. She manages the kitchen and home just as she had done for almost five decades. And now, she wants to come to my Sharjah home to take care of me, her 45-year-old cancer-stricken son.

On August 30, I was at the hospital, sitting in front of an internal medicine specialist, who had just finished performing a colonoscopy inspection on me, after having found symptoms of piles. He had my reports of a biopsy and CT scan in front of him. “We have identified the enemy. Now, we have to be strong to fight it,” he started presenting the matter to me.

“Is the growth malignant, doctor?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said. The scan reports showed the disease had already spread to the liver.

As I look back, I am certain that the news didn’t leave me shocked, but my blood pressure narrated a different truth, for it shot up, suddenly.

Yes, I was diagnosed with colon cancer, and immediate surgery was performed on my colon and liver to remove the tumour. After I underwent the first chemo, there were rashes all over the body, along with some other issues as well. And with that news, my survivor amma declared that she wanted to rush down here to take care of her son.

Over the years, I’ve seen her braving both the troubles of the disease and side effects of the treatment. On this day, as she waits for me to give her ‘permission’ to board a flight and see me, I want to tell her that even when she is miles away from me, she is and will always be my hero. It’s her positive attitude that makes me stronger.

“Amma, once I’m done with my chemo sessions, and Covid-19 is behind us, I will fly out to you to shout out, ‘I’m my amma’s boy’.”


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