Note: This is one of the earlier drafts Sonia left on her laptop, which she couldn’t get around to finishing and refining. We are publishing it, in its raw uncensored form,completely as she wrote it. The information shared by her is so true and sincere that we hope it reaches all those who might need it.
So let me continue from where I left off on my last blog. I fell from the swing, reminisced about the good side effects of cancer and picked myself from there. Now, I reacted to the anti inflamatory meds I was taking for the back ache which gave me the itchiest rash ever.. this is currently ongoing though I am doing much better. Mind you, it is two weeks since the swing incident. Between this time, I travelled to Goa for a holiday which was planned a month ago. Now, tell me.. how do you plan your holiday?
- Announce to friends or family that you want to travel
- You decide a location
- You check dates convenient to you
- You probably set a budget aside
- Book transport and accommodation
- go. enjoy your trip. come back
How does a cancer warrior travel?
- Announce that they want to travel. Then either get shot down by the oncologist or family that it is not safe or that we will fall ill. If we pass this, then
- Decide a location – This is decided based on the availability of closest hospital and oncologist in the travel area in case of emergency
- Check dates – Hmm, I have a three week chemo cycle out of which the first week I feel unwell, this gives me a two-week window to travel so my dates are xxx
- These should match the rest of your crew which very often may not.
- You set a budget aside.. oh I don’t work anymore, I have no money
- Book transport and accommodation – if it is a flight then thats two days of injections for blood thinning.. trains and busses not happening because there are too many people and cant use public toilets
- Go. hope you don’t fall unwell there. Be very particular about eating fresh good food while out and literally bubble wrap yourself for safety.
After allll this, I finally made it to Goa.. itch in tow. While we had a beautiful trip with lots of misadventures, the task of planning a trip in India is a giant accomplishment.
This is because of the following reasons:
- India’s climate is such that food rots fast so one has to be particular that it is fresh and hot
- India is so dirty with garbage everywhere that one is bound to pick some infection up
- The pollution in the air is off limits so breathing it, is a bad idea.. hence, cancer warriors are mostly encouraged to stay indoors and away from people.
Let me tell you how we planned trips in UK.
- we decided where to go
- ensured it was within my two week healthy window
- we went.
I didn’t have to worry about any of the things. This enabled me to live a normal life while I was there.
Let me jump to my next blog which talks about the practical struggles of treatment in India and now let me compare that to treatment in UK. The reason this important to be shared is because of the basic approach to cancer itself. It is quality centric. The doctors care.. the nurses care and they make you feel normal. They encourage you and become your strength. Let me tell you how. There is a need for other countries to step up their game and learn.
- treatment suites
- complimentary services
- assortment of treatments available
- hair wig and makeup workshops
- support groups
- books on every type of cancer and how to cope with it
- hospitals that don’t look like hospitals
- treat people and encourage them
- no restrictions- know your body.
Maybe NHS isn’t as efficient as the private treatment that I went for. But they are so much more than what we have available to us. And maybe a doctor cannot guarantee to cure it but the least they can do is provide quality and auxiliary services.
My confidence came back because my team empowered me. They didn’t make me feel any lesser. Our morale could be just the tipping point between getting cured or not.
Now that I am back and have decided to travel a lot more, I’m taking another trip to the forest this month. Write a bit about that later
I have not experienced this support in India but I am surely starting to see that quality coming in. When I stated treatment in 2014 the doctors didn’t care. Now they do and while that’s the biggest step taken so far, I think it’s a giant leap for India in terms of cancer care. The auxiliary services and qualitative support will follow, through slowly and I pray that all warriors are able to access successful and comfortable treatment.