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Home / Delhi News / When life itself is an ode to the spirit of living

When life itself is an ode to the spirit of living

Adarsh Dham was detected with High Grade Sarcoma Stage II in June. What has followed for her is a series of tests, two surgeries and life-altering implications of having medical equipments attached to her body. This, plus the pandemic, took a toll on her family, but they are braving every storm to get her back on her feet.

delhi Updated: Sep 17, 2020 22:18 IST
Etti Bali
Etti Bali
Hindustan Times
Anupam, Adarsh, Anchal and Apar Dham play card games and have devised fun ways to deal with the situation.
Anupam, Adarsh, Anchal and Apar Dham play card games and have devised fun ways to deal with the situation.

Dealing with a pandemic under normal circumstances is strenuous enough, but when you are detected with a life-altering disease, it takes great measures of courage to come to terms with it. Adarsh Dham, 62, was detected with High Grade Sarcoma Stage II in June. For this fiercely independent single mother who raised her two sons single-handedly on a government teacher’s salary, coming to terms with the life-altering implications of this disease was not easy.

“At first, I was told to get an MRI because a tumour was detected and that, a simple biopsy would be required. I didn’t think much about it, but then there were two tumours which turned out to be cancerous,” says Dham, adding that she had no choice other than accepting it as part of her destiny.

Her first surgery was on June 24, followed by another one on July 27, which took eight hours to complete. “I went in very peacefully and was not thinking about corona at all. Maine itni aage ki sochi hi nahi. The doctor had prepared us mentally for the surgery and its aftermath that there was no anxiety while going in,” she says. Her family, including her elder son, 33-year old digital marketing professional Apar Dham, however, was having sleepless nights. “Cancer is such an uncharted territory that you know nothing about it till it hits you. Tests, medical opinions and general running around to find the best treatment, plus the fear of the pandemic was such that we did not have time to take stock of the situation till after her surgery. Moreover, due to the pandemic, we couldn’t get as much support from our friends and extended family as we would have otherwise received. Only a few friends and relatives were able to come forward,” he shares.

Read: This family believes that kindness is what will save the world

Her daughter-in-law, Anchal Dham, quit her job when the first diagnosis came. “There was no option of hiring a nurse or attendant because we didn’t want any outsider to enter our house or be near our mother. My brother Anupam also took a sabbatical to share the workload,” says Apar.

Adarsh Dham with her elder son, Apar Dham.
Adarsh Dham with her elder son, Apar Dham.

Immediately after the surgery, Adarsh was administered morphine through an epidural to combat the pain and had multiple tubes coming out of her. “I was restricted to my bed and had difficulty even sitting up. The tubes came with their own set of complications and risk of infection,” she says. Explaining the implications of the surgery, Apar says, “A medical equipment, which is common in these surgeries, is going to be permanently attached to her. We have to get her special clothing which is loose and can be opened from the front for ease of movement. Earlier, she would need someone to help brush her teeth, change her on her side on the bed and clean-up after her. We can see it claws away at her dignity.”

With the support of her family, she is tiding over these hurdles. “My babies look after me as if I am their child. They are around me all the time, so that I don’t overthink,” says this survivor who rang in her 62nd birthday on September 1. “We baked a cake at home and my kids got me some knick-knacks. We are trying to get back to normal,” she shares. Without losing a beat, Adarsh recalls how she used to travel every few months and take cruises with her friends. “The four of us want a break from this now. I wish to do all of that once my body allows and the pandemic dies out,” she concludes. With a loving family by your side, there’s no way you can let hope slip through your fingers.

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