My father is terminally ill… there… I said it! It’s not easy being diagnosed with CML. And yes, when my father got the news six years ago that he had CML (a form of leukaemia), our entire family was shaken. It was like the whole family was diagnosed with it. So far, we’d only heard of people suffering from cancer. It was very much an ugly word that was synonymous to pain, suffering and death. Then, the drugs started and surprisingly, he had none of those side effects that one associates with chemotherapy. We’d joke, saying that he had a very expensive form of diabetes and that was all there is to it. We’d tell other people about how he was battling the disease like a champ.
We went through so much, in those six years. The ups and the downs. And then, a day came when his body just didn't take to the medicine like it used to. Fevers, bleeding, pain, drama… a good two months in various hospitals, with doctors wringing their hands and shaking their heads, we decided to just bring him home. The prognosis was that his disease had progressed from the chronic phase to the next phase.
It came as a shock. I guess we all knew from the start that the day would come when the diabetes jokes would stop. One more stop towards the end. And then, the real chemotherapy started. All the resolve I’d associated with my father had gone, replaced with despair and hopelessness. I had to be brave and tell him that everything would be fine, even if I knew I was lying. I had always wondered what feelings would come out in the open when the end would be here. Sure, we’re not there yet, but there’s a mixture of fear and sadness… and strange sense of calm in the background.
Now, as he lies in bed, a mere shadow of his former person, I wonder how much longer he should suffer before release. It’s a battle we've all been fighting, knowing that the final wave would do us under, as is its wont. But still, there is always this tingling feeling of hope that something good may happen in the darkest of times.
My mom and I have never been this close… and I must say dad’s suffering was what did the trick! And we’re discovering newer strength in each other. Sure, there will be sadness… and tears in the dark.
But I know in the end, everything will sort itself out. Hope… it makes the world go around… doesn't it?