Tarak and I used to work in the same factory. We worked for 15-16 hours a day together. With our joint income, we were somehow keeping our heads above water. My mother is old now and our joint income is our only source of money. Now, only he works and I silently pray not to die because they need me.
It seems poverty wasn’t already a burden for usWe have been brought up in a very poor family. My father used to sell flowers and earned very little. He managed to give us little education. I lost him 5 years ago. Our poverty has been so overpowering that instead of grieving properly at my father’s death, we had to deal with the more pressing matter of earning more to live.
For Bengalis, Durga Puja is the biggest time for celebration. For me, the festive season brought my life to a standstill. There was blood in my stool for a month before the pujas. Although over-the-counter medicines stopped the bleeding, I had constant stomach aches.
I stay in Ashoknagar, West Bengal. The doctors there misdiagnosed my condition and I took medicines for gastritis. My stomach ache continued worsening and I had sleepless nights for several days.
Finally, with the recommendation of a distant relative, we came to Bangalore and the test reports left me perplexed, angry and with the feeling of being cursed. I was diagnosed with colon carcinoma, a severe colon cancer. Doctors confirmed that I had a tumor in my stomach and the bleeding with stool and the stomach ache wasn’t gastritis.
I don’t know what am I being punished forI used to work for long hours and save money. Now, I just sit in the room staring at the walls of either my house or the hospital. I feel like I am being punished for something. There are the constant pain and uneasiness that ponders over me.
We anyway had very less family income and now it has come down to half. My tumors have been removed in February and that has cost us a fortune. I have already received 2 cycles of chemotherapy and there is still a long way before I am fine. Doctors are saying that I am getting better, but if I stop the treatment now I might not live.
The factory that Tarak and I worked in, doesn’t give us a permanent employment. We worked only for 6 months and have to live on that money for the rest of the year. Also, we don’t have any fixed income.
My family is just living in hopesMy brother has been my only strength all this time. There are days when he can’t go to work because he has to take me for my chemotherapy. He works extra hours on other days so my treatment doesn’t stop. He stays with me in the hospital and tells me that he will not let me die.
Neither of our relatives is in a position to help us. When I was first diagnosed with cancer, my brother and mother lost their minds. They went knocking on every door to get some help. They were desperate to arrange whatever little money they could.
My father’s death has left my mother hollow. She has been living for Tarak and me. I am the youngest child and my cancer has left her sad. She doesn’t talk much now. Sometimes she cries too much and at other times, she is all silent.
In the last 6 months, we have spent more than Rs 3 lakhs which is an impossible amount for us. Our house was the only thing that we called ours. That too has been mortgaged and I have no idea where we will get shelter now. But my mother and brother say - "Dont think about all this. Just get better."
How can you help?My family is going through painful uncertainties because of me. I want to go back home and start working again so that I can lessen their burden. But the cost required for my chemotherapy is Rs 3 lakhs and my family has exhausted all means to save me.
Your support can save me.