Santosh is 35 years old and the sole earning member in his family. He works as a storekeeper. Santosh has been married to Geeta since 2004. The couple has two children. Their daughter Simran, is 11 years old, and son Tejas is 5.5 years old.
In January 2017, the family returned from a short trip. Santosh felt a little ill. He lost his appetite and could not keep down food he ate.
Santosh was otherwise healthy. He did not fall sick often. Hence the family did not take his illness very seriously. Once after two weeks or so did Santosh consult the family doctor. The doctor took some scans. What they had thought was simple loss of appetite was in fact, cancer.
“I had no symptoms! I felt fine. I had been going walking around, and didn’t even have any pain in my stomach. How can this be cancer?”
The first time the family of four has lived apart:
The family doctor recommended that they visit AIIMS. Santosh tried taking treatment at a private hospital instead, but could not afford it. Geeta then moved with her husband to Delhi. Their children are living in Patna with Santosh’s mother. Santosh says his son doesn’t even know that something is wrong. It’s the first time the family of four has lived apart.
“My daughter knows that I am ill, she is old enough to understand. She is very scared that she will not see her papa again. Every time I talk to Simran, my wife and I tell her that everything will be OK”
The treatment for Santosh involves multiple cycles of chemotherapy. He also has been prescribed medicines for his treatment. The medicines are expensive and he says each injection costs around 1.5 lakhs. The family has exhausted all options- they’ve spent their life savings.
Having the date of treatment confirmed, but being unable to afford it:
On the 17th of May his first treatment was confirmed at AIIMS, Delhi. Unfortunately, at that time, he had no funds and hence could not afford the treatment. He returned home. Now Santosh is playing the waiting game as he has to raise funds for his treatment.
Santosh is scared about his disease. The thought that terrifies him the most? The fact that he won’t stay alive for his children. He has small dreams. One of his dreams is giving his daughter ‘kanyaadan’.