I was 29 years old when a visible lump appeared near the throat region. I found my recently acquired neck accessories were choking me! I would often try to see how lumpy was the lump in the mirror. Then others started noticing that lump.

Then I felt it was time to get it examined. It turned out to be two malignant tumors in the thyroid glands. So my husband and I quickly rushed into action and met doctors and surgeons. God was kind and I was referred to the very best surgeon. The surgeon told me, “don’t worry if you had a compulsory choice of asking God which cancer should you choose then this one is the best…as it is easily curable if it has not spread to the nodes…!” Now that was really assuring….

I spoke to Ms Harmala Gupta of Cancer Support Group. She was compassionate and sent me literature explaining the disease, its anatomy, physiology and cure. She told me then that she herself was a cancer survivor. And of course everyone knows her now. She runs this amazing outfit that provides palliative care for terminally ill cancer patience besides spreading awareness…

The day before I had my surgery I decided to cheer myself up. So I went to the salon and got myself a pedicure, manicure (with nail paint), a facial and a hair cut! That night I wanted to sleep in my parent’s home. My husband and my dad argued over how instead of being operated at Dharamshila Cancer Hospital in Delhi, I should be sent to Tata Memorial in Mumbai! Husband stormed out of the house in  a huff and  dad was crying. I stayed calm but was firm to both. I told myself they were both afraid of loosing me, even though a part of me was sad, “how can they do this to me tonight?”

The night before the surgery the doctor came to see me and gave me a sleeping pill to help me sleep better. I still did not sleep well. The next day as they came in to take me to the pre-surgery room they had a wheel chair with them. I told them I could walk now…But they said, “it is a privilege we give all our patients.” So I sat on the wheel chair.

Once in the prep room, I changed into OT clothes in the color green. They asked me to pee and empty my bladder. Then they strolled me into the OT. The corridor outside had my family waiting. I entered the OT with a smile on my face and a kind of heightened awareness in my body and senses. I was highly aware of my surroundings. Each color, light, sound, voices whispering, the surgical instrument, the doctors, nurses…everything seemed to be loud, clear and sparkling.

They laid me on the OT table and strapped me on. The anesthetist came closer to me, as I was looking up at the round shaped bright four bulb light, and started to ask me simply soothing questions. I knew he was now going to administer the dose into my blood. I smiled and nodded at his queries and thanked God to have given me the chance to live or die at the hands of such able doctors. And then it was black out….

I was later told that the surgery was two hours long as they had to cut open my throat. Minor surgery and bare minimum suffering compared to all other cancer patients and for that I remain grateful. My former father-in-law is battling multliple myloma a cancer of the blood plasma for the last four years….a brave man!

I am now 39…