Cancer

This is a question that unnerves most physicians- what if the disease that you specialize in treating is the one that ends up afflicting you? Here I have imagined an oncologist (cancer specialist) who gets diagnosed with the cancer that he has devoted his life to understanding and treating.

lung-cancer-cell-dividing-article.__v600248237

I knew unnerving it would be

With tables turned, undoubtedly

Little though I was prepared

For the diagnosis that now stared

Me in my face- I shook my head in disbelief

And then had a sense of deja vu brief

Of myself pronouncing the same words

In what seemed like another world

To patients of mine, a novice I was not

To life-changing words, I had taught

Myself to break such news gently-

Now the same tone for being used for me…

 

In the next moment I felt as if the ground

Beneath my feet had moved, no sound

Would escape my lips, though I was crying

I knew not what, but something within me was dying

Even then, in the midst of all that grief

I could not help shaking my head in disbelief

That the cancer in whose treatment I specialized

Had in a twist of fate within me materialized..

 

How do you give yourself a prognosis

Was the question tormenting me after my diagnosis

I threw myself into research with greater zeal

Even as the cancer eroding me I could feel

Today, lying on my death-bed, at least I know

The seeds of research I planted will continue to grow

To explore more of the disease that gave me

A purpose in life, as well as my mortality.

(Image source: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/what-is-cancer)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Caregiver

As a physician dealing with patients with advanced, often end-stage heart disease, I come across a lot of patients who are receiving excellent care at home by their family members who have sacrificed their personal lives to care for their loved ones. Our team has a support group for caregivers where they share stories about themselves, their loved ones, their frustrations and fears. Caregiver fatigue is something that we are becoming more aware of in recent years. This poem is written from the point of view of a caregiver grappling with this issue.

DSC_0036 (2)

I love you dearly, though from what I’m going to say

My sentiments may not come across that way-

There are days when in a sleep-deprived daze

I feel I cannot go on any longer, pretending to be unfazed

By the constant exposure to unpleasant fluids varied

I clean silently, but sometimes I can not succeed

In hiding my revulsion at the sights and odours

I try to benumb myself until the clean-up is over

Then sink back exhausted in the armchair

When you take a nap- yet I try to be aware

At all times of your discomfort and your needs

If I do not respond timely, I feel guilty indeed..

 

I know it is a herculean task for you and me

To drive you to your appointments, definitely

Yet here’s a secret I am ashamed to reveal-

On those days a frisson of excitement I feel

At the thought of an opportunity for interaction

With other human beings- it gives me some satisfaction

To know that there is life outside of these walls

We can still enjoy the beauty of spring, summer and fall..

 

I know we both wish things were not this way

When you call me for help, I can see the dismay

In your eyes that yet again you need me

Yet again you have demonstrated your dependency

When friends call me for a night out and I reply, inevitably

That I am busy, I can see your eyes tearing up for me

You talk about another caregiver to unburden me

But both of us this is not possible (at least usually)

With limited finances and other constraints

 

Besides, I have almost learnt to practice restraint

Where entertainment and social activities are concerned

If I have spare time, I try to enjoy the rest I have earned..

 

Then there are those days when I am exhausted beyond measure

And there appears my savior, those moments I treasure

When a friend offers to help for a few hours or a day

I feel relieved; I know you do too, more than you would say

This break from caregiving reminds me of how much I love you

And why caring for you is what I would gladly continue to do..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do they sell?

startup.

“There’s lots of bad reasons to start a company. But there’s only one good, legitimate reason, and I think you know what it is: it’s to change the world.” -Phil Libin, Evernote CEO

Not long ago when people started a business

There was a tangible product to sell for success

There would be brick and mortar buildings too

To assemble products and display them to you

By selling objects appreciated for high quality

Have entrepreneurs made fortunes over centuries

To get people to part with their hard-earned dough

A physical object to them one needed to show

 

Not so anymore- successful businesses in today’s age

Are only to be found on a webpage

Or in the form of an “app” downloaded on your phone-

The days of brick and mortar buildings are gone

Start-ups are created by people with ideas new

Promising to change your life and the world too

By downloading an app that can provide

Organization in your life, be your guide

In navigating your way through the vagaries

Of modern living with consummate ease

The finished product is an idea, intangible

Yet its lure is quite irresistible..

 

This is the brave new world of ideas galore

Where an app can bring everything to your door!

(Image source:erenkocyigit.com)

 

 

 

 

 

Decluttered happiness

“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

DSC_0889.JPG

Towards a goal of happiness I tried to evaluate what I did need

The answer came to in the form of an epiphany indeed

One day as I was trying to go through my overflowing closet

Ugly and cluttered, I suddenly felt my priorities I needed to reset-

Instead of material acquisitions that were failing miserably

To make even a temporary dent on my emotional stability

I realized I needed to downsize, simplify, minimize

Letting go of mountains of stuff suddenly seemed wise

**

Parting with goods that you have worked hard to acquire

Is incredibly difficult- there is an inbuilt desire

To save every object for its “sentimental value”

Emotions tend to stick to inanimate things too

So despite my well-intentioned decluttering campaign

I found myself losing resolve again and again

**

Being the compulsive Googler that I happen to be

I went quietly on a search spree

Found articles on various decluttering techniques

Tried to follow them with some minor tweaks

Nothing seemed to work because my heart

Was unwilling to allow me to part

With objects I had collected over the years

With (often) juicy stories behind them for eager ears..

**

I parted with less than a tenth of my possessions

And I never expected to make this confession

That decluttering even a little was exhilarating

Having less stuff felt so liberating

The endorphins brought on by owning less

Made me feel happy, the feeling was priceless..

** 

Neither a hoarder nor a minimalist am I

And even though I continue to try

To downsize every week, it is still tough

But then, the path to happiness is always rough..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Motivational Speaker

DSC_0212

Growing up in a world competitive

Not enough slack she ever did give

Herself, because her mantra throughout

Was that patting herself on the back she could do without

So she achieved new targets, never stopped to rest

Reaching for a goal higher instead

**

As time went by without realizing she

Developed what appeared to be perpetual anxiety

Because she constantly hungered to achieve

More, satisfaction she could not receive

She constantly felt she was not doing enough

Of herself she was a judge tough

**

Life never fails to give us opportunities

To understand, and rectify our follies

This had to happen to her sooner or later

It happened when she became a mother

Initially she was, as expected, quite anxious

With her perfectionist attitude, she tended to fuss

More than the average mother would do

But as she in her role as a mother grew

She had to revise her expectations too

Balancing her home and career together

Constantly trying to achieve more would never

Work- that she realized as time went by

Her expectations dropped down from the sky

As she became more comfortable in her skin

She felt much better, her anxiety caved in

**

You might wonder if this attitude was sustained

Yes it was, her understanding of life did not go in vain

She has actually become a motivational speaker

(Public speaking had always come naturally to her)

She helps people leave self-criticism behind

And acquire a happier state of mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sedentary dreamer

Garfield-Speaks-the-Truth-imagination-9595471-800-600

Nothing in the world arouses the envy 

Of a competitive soul like me

Than seeing people running along the way

While I drive to and from work every day

I ogle at their calves, beautifully sinewed

And the feeling of discontent is renewed

Within me- at my apparent inability

To run- or exercise, despite lack of debility

Oh yes, I have tried many times in the past

But alas, my tenacity does not seem to last

This is unlike me in sedentary ventures

There each challenge I treat like a new adventure

And bring each project to completion

Yet my goals in exercise never reach fruition..

My conscience continues to nag at me

I know prolonged sitting is not heart-healthy

The grim prospect of future disease of the heart

Scares me enough at times to give a jumpstart

To my exercise routine, but in a few days

Sore joints and muscles send me back to my old ways

Reading a book curled up in bed is to me

Infinitely more pleasurable an activity

I daydream that one day I shall acquire

The toned look that in runners I admire….

 

Maybe after writing this verse I shall be 

Inspired tomorrow to hit the gym early!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scars

“Without my wounds, who was I? my scars were my face, my past was my life.”

-Janet Fitch

 image

They  said time heals
Gradually you cease to feel
Negative emotions with the same intensity
The scars fade, your exterior again looks pretty…

She latched on to these words when despair
Clouded her life- everything seemed unfair
She waited for time to work its magic, patiently
Until her scars she herself could not see
They never disappeared, only she forgot
What she looked like before the scars she got

The wheels of life kept turning, until one day
Someone from her past crossed her way
Now her scars were exposed, the contrast was clear
Between her then and now, she was filled with fear
That the wounds that like a volcano dormant
Would erupt to the surface, with boiling resentment

So it happened, waves of anger ravaged her
Anger and pain together made her suffer
While weathering this tempest she realized
The demons of her past she had not exorcised
This time around she let the fires burn
Until nothing but ashes were left, then she turned
Back to find the ghosts of her past gone
She had found salvation, there was nothing else to mourn.