The Darling Buds of May

May 2015, Raju in the background chatting

Almost everyday this month, I have found myself remembering the events of May 2015 and May 2016 respectively. My health challenges begun in 2015 with the discovery of a fractured vertebrae, little did I know a year later I’d be preparing to get ready to travel to India for a bone marrow transplant.

I remember the sharp pains that came in fast and furious on a very early Thursday morning in May 2015. These severe spasms eventually saw me being stretchered out of my own house and transported in an ambulance to hospital. I have never felt such pain and that episode has left me scared of the what the body can do to set off alarm bells. For close to two hours I had writhed in pain and squeezed the hands of my friends Raju and Bunty. I’m
sorry guys, but I am immensely grateful for seeing me through that night. Pain can drive you crazy and will break even the Goliath’s of this world.

Fast track to another twelve months later. I’d just finished six months of chemotherapy, my M-cell count had dropped significantly, I was walking on the treadmill, been showered with kindness and was about to become a medical tourist. I was unsure of what India and it’s medical ‘treasure trove’ had in store for me.

I look back and I recognise that I’ve come from far. Nimetoka mbali. I’ve shared a lot about my cancer journey, but May 2015 will always be a landmark month. It was not just with the introduction to pain, but I learnt that there is no shame in hospitals. My pride was stripped off and I was ‘laid bare’. For someone who is fiercely independent, I was taught tough
lessons. You learn to let go and trust people. There was no shame. I was being sponged bathed by an orderly, showering with a commode or learning to manoeuvre the bed pan or urinal when you need do a number two or number one respectively. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. After a week at the Aga Khan University Hospital, I not only left with a consignment of drugs, but corset and a toilet riser. I remember getting to my brother and sister in-laws’ place and crying when I got to the guest room. I had never felt so helpless. I
was a runner, a fitness freak and yet I couldn’t even shower standing up! This was a cloud I wanted to pass and pass quickly. I wanted my life back.

I remember in one of my previous blogs, I had mentioned that I had been training for a race that I wasn’t aware that I was going to be running. Well, looking back at this episode in May/June 2015, I believe it readied me for the events of October that year with and it’s dark clouds and the rainbow moments. I was not as fazed when I was reacquainted with orderly, urinal and bed pain. I didn’t like it, but I was better prepared to face it. May 2015, was the preface of my battle with cancer and the many lessons that were to
come with the diagnosis. I’m still a whirlpool of emotions as I recollect this period and on occasion get anxious on Thursday nights. It’s so easy to remember that dark moments, in life, but I must remind myself about the rainbows that came with it. I try and not be stuck in 2015, but also remember May 2016 and the months of kindness that preceded this. And
then came June 2016, but that is another story…