Of trial and triumph

By Shobha Naidu

September 2014

When the July issue of Life Positive landed in my hands it was as if God was sending me a message of hope through the very pages of this much-admired magazine. The cover story titled, Cancer: You Can Heal seemed to have been written especially for me.

Just a month ago a thunderbolt had torn our lives apart. My husband and I were leading a retired life, cruising along nicely, doing what we liked to do after hectic years of professional life. Our son had done well for himself, and had decided to settle down in the USA.

A routine health check-up threw up terrifying news. My husband had developed renal cancer. The oncologist ordered immediate removal of the affected kidney without even a biopsy. There was no time to be lost. It was difficult to describe the state of my mind. What had we done to deserve this? Why were we being punished so? My husband had never harmed anybody in his life. In fact he was so helpful, and went out of his way to assist people in distress. Was this some payback from past life? Was this the Universe’s way of teaching hard lessons that we had refused to learn? There were too many questions, and no answers whatsoever.

The first 24 hours after hearing the news were sheer hell. The mind was in turmoil and thoughts went into a tailspin. My mind turned to my husband. How was he feeling? How does it feel to stare at your own mortality in the face? As we age and mature, each one of us is aware that death is the only certainty in life but when it actually looks you in the eye how do you react? These and many existential questions hovered over me like irritating flies. I swatted them off and decided to take charge of the
situation. That meant getting out of the negativity that had enveloped me. Positive thoughts meant not shutting out reality, but facing them with likely solutions. Oncologists in India were claiming 80-90 per cent survival rates (especially for breast cancer) if detected in the first stage. There were several super speciality hospitals in Bangalore, the city I live in. So the next step was to seek help. Apart from medical help I sought the help of my Reiki friends. I even wrote to the International Reiki Organisation to ask them to send Reiki during the scheduled operation time. My friend, a Reiki master, sent Reiki along with the suggestion to do a small ritual puja that her guru had taught her.  An aunt of mine, a cancer survivor, offered to say special prayers in all her favourite temples, on the day of the operation. A friend in the US mailed the special booklet, Mission Moments, full of encouraging words.

She too was in the church with her husband saying special prayers during the operation.  Family closed ranks and formed a protective shield around us. My son too managed to wangle a week’s leave. He arrived to hold my hands during the operation.

The Biblical injunction, “Ask
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