Monday, June 30, 2008

My flight landed at Chennai in the early hours of June 29th 2008. The terminal was packed with people arriving from various places - the US, Europe, Japan etc. I noted that air travel had become increasingly democratic...

That thought brought in another one - cancer too was a great equalizer, knowing no bounds in its democratic zeal to strike at anyone, anywhere, at anytime. In the fall of 2007, had I asked any member of my extended family if they were aware of "Glioblastoma Multiformae", the likely answer would have been - "who's in the movie? what kind of movie is it? action? comedy?"

A horror flick. All the blood and gore that Hollywood could muster was no match for the horrors that had unfolded over the past eight months. The thing of it was, as common as the cancer experience was across the world, each individual one was unique in its agony and told the story of unmitigated devastation. A personalized horror flick.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Last Breath

The incessant beep of the blood-oxygen sensor overcame the feeble voice I heard on the other end of the phone. A feeling of dread swept over me and I realized that a world made smaller by our ever present communications devices was still very, very vast indeed. I was listening to the electronic sounds of my uncle's last breath, amplified in its clinical detachment and digital certainty.

A valiant battle was coming to an end, and I was hearing it unfold in real time. This was the ultimate reality show, and I had front row seats to it. It made me really, really angry. It was about 9:30 AM on Thursday, June 26th 2008.

Cancer: From Despair to Hope

Shiva's Abode

Shiva's Abode
The Final Destination

JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute - recent issues