Published on: February 26, 2022

Sunanda Samal, Regional Coordinator – Central India, Pallium India, writes:

Life is just like the seasons…

My friend Maithili (not her real name) who lives in Mumbai, India, with her family, a loving mother of two, a dedicated wife and a hardworking professional. A happy-go-lucky person, she is always cheerful and has an outgoing personality. Smart and elegant, beauty with brains and always ready to help others.

About a month back, her sunny and bright life turned gloomy when she came to know that she had breast cancer.

I called her up as soon as I heard the news, as I was eager to hear her voice. She picked up the call and said just two words to me. “Hi…’s cancer” and then a long pause.

I controlled my emotions and started talking to her; her voice was very low and she was unable to speak aloud. She was done with her mastectomy and was still in the hospital. I spoke to her about our best old days and tried to make her laugh but that was not an easy task, she did not react much and was just listening.

This came as a flash back to me when I had to take care of my brother who suffered from cancer, a few years ago. But this time I believe – I sincerely hope – I am  better equipped to deal with the situation, as I am now associated with Pallium India as an employee as well as a volunteer. The volunteer training program and other virtual sessions have given me clarity about palliative care and made me more confident.

My friend has completed her 1st chemotherapy session and there are seven more to go.

I talk to her regularly to keep motivating her in my own way. During our conversations, I tell her about Pallium India’s activities and various success stories. I told her about our emotional support help line but I also emphasized that my phone is always available whenever she wants to talk.

Initially she was hesitant to speak out but gradually she began to open up. Now she has become more comfortable to discuss her health condition. I was delighted to hear that she has started working from home.

I am glad that after joining Pallium India, I learnt so much about Palliative care and as a result, I am able to support my friend as she goes through this unimaginably difficult journey. I hope that in future also, my learning and experience with palliative care would help me bring comfort to several others.

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