In 2014, she lost her husband. He had a cardiac arrest. It took a long time to overcome that pain and to be honest that pain is still not healed. They were a happily married couple for 53 years.

Hi, I’m Bhuvana and today I am sharing a very special story of a very special person in my life.

Yes, this is the story of my Mother in law. Mrs. S. Balambal.

While she was still trying to get out of the trauma of losing her life partner, another bumper was awaiting to come in her journey. In 2016, she felt a small lump in one of her breast. Initially we thought it may be a fibroid only. However when we went to the hospital, she was asked to take mammogram and after a biopsy, she was confirmed with stage 2 breast cancer. We all were disappointed but somehow we told her.

When she first heard that she had cancer, She asked, no trembling in her voice,” Will my body be able to take..” We replied "Amma, fortunately it is very much curable". However my husband and I could not sleep well for several weeks. We were not sure whom to approach in Bangalore. The confusion was there were many institutes, but choosing the right one was very important.

There used to be a constant pool of thoughts in mind about how we would be able to manage everything? Vs. Why it occurred?

She underwent surgery in November 2016. I was there with her all time in the hospital and I witnessed the pain a cancer survivor would go through. But the spirit of my mother in law was strong like a rock. She was calm, patient and cooperative throughout the process. All our relatives were gathered at home to give her that moral support which she needed the most at that time.

When we were back from the hospital, we had a relief, that everything went well. But the challenges were not over, there were lot of precautions we needed to take. We had to take extra care of her. Although she never showed her vulnerabilities, but, I could sense the suffering that she was experiencing internally. She never liked wearing those cotton night gowns whole day, and she started insisting on wearing sari during day time. To fulfill her wish, I made her wear a shirt along with a cotton sari. Being able to wear a sari boosted her morale and she started feeling well.

When she was back home after surgery, preventing secondary complications was the concern. She was on a risk of developing lymph edema. She had to be bathed and the lymphatic fluid drainer had to be cleaned and measured. In few weeks time she continued to show progress. Now was the time for radiation therapy which she underwent for 26 days. But she stood strong in taking those radiotherapy sessions and that boosted our strength.

She was religious when it came to applying creams,taking her medications. Every single exercise she performed was getting her back to normalcy.  Travelling so far to the hospital, at the age of 75, every single day took a toll on her body health. But she remained steady on her mental health. We were fortunate enough to get amazing team of doctors and health care providers at Dr Mazumdar Shaw centre and Shankara cancer research institute. The team provided enough boost through there optimistic approach. On the other hand my mother in law was an equally cooperative patient and had immense trust in the team of professionals.

Her MANTRA was” Don’t think about it all day and that way IT WOULD START RETRACTING”

My kids equally supported us and encouraged her to be happy. They made sure she was always being attended and never felt lonely. People think it’s better to stay away from a sick person, rather than troubling. However in her case the main thing that helped was the strength of the family and relatives. The people who came to greet her and see her were increasing her confidence . After returning from the hospital, life  really got  hectic. Managing kids exam, her diet, household activities was sometimes overwhelming. But again what helped was, the support of extended family members, my sister in law was there to help me in managing all the tasks. Somewhere, my well being was getting affected in the day hustle, but at that time MUSIC came to my rescue. I started teaching music to some kids, which acted as a great healer for me.

Now, after 2 years she is doing well. This summer, she even ran a summer camp for kids, teaching crochet and embroidery.

It’s a lot of learning, lot of acceptance on how life could turn on you. Our perseverance and meticulous approach to things, including having medications, having complete faith and positivity played, major roles in revival.


Meghana Dave