From Caretaker to Patient

by Vikki RamdassAugust 2, 2021View more posts from Vikki Ramdass

It comes with great pain to bring up these memories as I write, but it is important to understand the trials that individuals face in their lives. As I remember my mother being diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer back in 2003, I felt as though I heard the worst news of my life. Sadly, one year later in 2004, she died. The funeral day was the most painstaking moment in my life, as my life changed forever.

Why must I endure these hardships in my life at such a young age? Why was I given this huge responsibility of running a house at age 18 plus balancing school and dealing with my own personal grief? What did I ever do to deserve this? So many lingering questions but who had the answers? No one. Sometimes you simply accept that this is the way things are and you learn to adjust and live life accordingly. 

My social life was a wreck, and guess what guys, it still is. Slowly you learn how to let go of these memories and possibly start a family of your own. It is difficult to go through life without parental support, but your upbringing and views of life are much different from the rest. As I slowly began to piece my life together, my own cancer diagnosis came about in 2018.

I myself was diagnosed with triple negative stage 1 breast cancer. My life just got a whole lot more complicated. I desperately wanted medical answers as strange enough my BRCA testing was negative, but yet I had a possible genetically mutated gene that caused triple negative breast cancer in me. I am still very confused, but survival was my main objective at this time. Having gone through chemo and radiation, I remember it being much different a decade after my mom’s passing. You now have more technology available, yet I was in the same position as my mom, fighting for my own life. I asked myself; did we really progress?

When reality kicks in, I realize that we have made a lot of medical advancements, but my mind and train of thought were the same, so I needed a reality check. Sometimes no matter what anyone tells you, you are still stuck with the opinion that you are going to die. By a miracle, I survived. I watched my grandmother, mother, and my 27-year-old cousin die from cancer, and I often wonder if I was next to go. I even went so far as to tell my friends that no matter what the outcome is, I lived a good life.

After my treatment, I realized that luckily, I was still here in the present. So, I embarked on seeking virtual counseling to get over yet another ordeal in my wonderful life. Some people say things like, “It could have been worse,” but you feel as though enough is enough at times. As I hit rock bottom in my life, I often wonder: how did I make it out of that dark tunnel? Was a rope extended to me in my dreams for me to climb out one day without me remembering? Did I just survive the last 35 years of my life on auto pilot, just going through the motions? 

My friends, whatever the great answer is, I attribute it to a little something called “Faith.” Holding on to a dream that one fine day, things will get better for me, and our younger generation will be better equipped to deal with their emotions when tragedy strikes. Whilst there was always a strong possibility that I would have gotten cancer because of my family history, I was still completely shocked out of my mind when I received the news. I guess I secretly wanted it to skip a generation and leave me out of the mix, but it didn’t. 

So now, what do you think my present role should be? From caretaker to patient to ……. Counselor perhaps? It’s funny how life turns out sometimes. Your hopes and dreams can be crushed immediately after years of planning. Sad, quite sad. Over the years, you quickly learn that life isn’t perfect but it is how you deal with whatever situation life throws at you and makes you the strong person that you are today. People and memories can easily be taken away from you but your inner fight and strength will never fade once you keep believing in yourself, my friends!

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