“Any good news?”
How insensitively and unempathetically almost all of us subject a newly wed woman to this question without even trying to imagine the emotional turmoil she may or may not have been going through.
A love marriage among two individuals from different sections of the society and different regions of the country is itself a grave sin enough to target them to life-long accusations and abuses.
I was already being cursed day and night and to add to it I myself got into this situation. A colleague at work gave up his first son, a boy, for adoption to his childless elder brother and sister-in-law. Later his wife could not conceive at all and fell into depression. I happened to discuss this with ‘my people’ at my ‘new home’.
“Won’t you give your child to your brother-in-law if he doesn’t happen to have one of himself?”, she asked.
“No, Maa. I’ll not. Instead I’ll help them adopt a child.”, I responded.
Then it was a shower of abuses like ‘may you not become a mother at all‘ and ‘may you deliver a still-born baby’.
This was just the beginning (in the very first month) of our marriage. Months later, when this mental torture went on beyond control, the husband finally decided to move out. But by then my 22-year old self was already affected enough, mentally and physically.
A year later I was experiencing terrible cramps in my lower abdomen and the doctors from a nearby clinic treated me again and again for stomach infection till about three months later when the pain was absolutely unbearable and I couldn’t afford to move an inch without help.
“Any good news?”, asked every other colleague. I know it wasn’t to hurt me or depress me because none of them were aware of what emotional trauma I was going through on the personal front. And knowing them I am sure they did not even intend to hurt me ever.
We visited various doctors, various pathological labs, ultrasound centers and the likes. This was when my interest in medical field especially cancer related terms came to my rescue (I still believe that it was good that I was the one who was the first in my family to know what I was suffering from. ‘Growing mass of endometrium’, ‘carcinoid’, ‘carcinoma’, CgA, CA 125 and High risk HPV, DNC and FNAB (Fine-needle aspiration biopsy). These were terms I had learned through the Medical Reference Library 4 Book Box Set By Time that I procured for my Medical Entrance Examinations preparation. One look at the reports and I knew it.
Hospital visits, second and third opinions were sought. The worst was my visit to the Lady Hardinge Hospital. The way the nurses and doctors there treat you or talk to you itself is uncalled for. Or may be I wasn’t used to such filthy street language. ‘Tera marad paas aata hai to dukhta hai kya?‘ To add to it was the lack of privacy. You’re undergoing a TVS (trans-vaginal sonography) and there are 30-40 females (nurses and patients) and some male attendants peeping in from all possible corners. I was at a loss of words. This is where I came to know that I have also had one or two chemical pregnancies (early miscarriages/abortions). I was not afraid of getting operated but I could not accept that atmosphere. It pains to know that this is all that most percentage of India’s population can afford. I spoke to my husband and all I said was I don’t want to get admitted here even if I end up dying.
Then Dr. Kamal Buckshee came to my rescue at Apollo Hospital, New Delhi. Trust me, I used to hate doctors by the time I reached her. She told me everything was alright and under control and I remember having shouted back at her with a ‘Can you stop telling me lies?’
Within four days, I was laporatomically (not laparoscopy) operated for the removal of a 2.7 kgs chocolate cyst (endometrial cancer) and non-malignant ovarian cysts. The left ovary underwent ovarioplasty and the left fallopian tube was partially opened using hysterosalpingogram. This is a procedure in which radiographic dyes are injected into the tubes and as they push through, they open the blocked tube. My right fallopian tube was (is) totally blocked and could not be opened at all.
This was a time when I was highly depressed and my gynaecologist put me on anti-depressants along with hormonal steroids for about two years. From 49 kilograms at the time of my marriage, I reached 73 kilograms. All thanks to these drugs. People chose to comment on my increasing weight and my protruding belly. ‘Koi khush khabari hai?’, ‘humein sab pata hai’….I did not react.
Back home, more than worrying about my medical condition people were worried that my husband might have had to spend all that amount on my surgery and the hospital stay. ‘Mere bete ka khaa gayi’ was the response I received the day after I joined office after two months. Luckily I was working and had a medical insurance which took care of the surgery and the post surgery expenses for two months. And my parents along with my husband stood like strong pillars of support for me. I did not bother to disclose any of this to her because I had enough of it all and had no more patience or energy to go through another round of abuses and accusations. I’ll always be grateful for my man and my parents.
Now that the operation was over it was back to ‘Any good news?’
‘Banjar zameen ho tum. Ek dum bekaar!‘ (Barren land you are. Totally useless!), she screamed at me at my office number. A Product Manager’s desk. Which made me imagine the condition of those suffering females who are not independent and are not educated. That was the last call I had picked of hers before becoming a mother.
I was one of the few lucky ones who reacted positively to treatment after two years and conceived naturally. But all through my journey from bed number 3309 to 3305 to 3304 of the gynecological ward of Apollo Hospital I have witnessed the pain and agony that most females fighting infertility go through. More than the pain what hurts is the insult and the disrespectful behaviour. A furniture at home is treated much more gracefully than a live human being suffering infertility.
Is it our fault if a certain organ of our body misbehaves or a certain system in our body decides to work against the natural cycle?
Will they treat their sons in the same manner if they were the ones suffering from such an ailment?
Will they treat their own daughters like this if they suffered in the same manner?
Those words. Those accusations. They still ring in my ears from time to time and make me wake up in the middle of the night.
I also take this opportunity to clear some myths about Endometriosis.
Endometrial cancer is a cancer that arises from the endometrium (the lining of the uterus or womb). It is the result of the abnormal growth of cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body. The first sign is most often vaginal bleeding not associated with a menstrual period. Other symptoms include pain with urination or sexual intercourse, or pelvic pain. Endometrial cancer occurs most commonly after menopause.
(Information Source: Wikipedia)
The simple description is that endometriosis is a condition in which the glandular tissue that normally lines the uterine cavity appears in other places, such as the lining of the pelvis, fallopian tubes, ovaries, or bowel. Rarely the uterine glands can end up in really weird places, like the lung, bladder or kidney.
(Information Source: Everyday Health)
Myths about Endometriosis
- Endometriosis is not restricted to obesity and lethargy. I was lean, thin and absolutely active.
- It occurs because of drug misuse like birth control pills. I had never used any medicines other than paracetamol, dispirin/saridon and a few anitobiotics that they prescribed for stomach infection in my life before getting detected with this disease.
- It occurs in people with high blood pressure and high diabetes. I did not have any of these conditions before my pregnancy.
- Endometriosis occurs in females wearing tight clothes. I have never worn tight-fitting clothes ever in my life.
- Women with endometriosis are usually infertile. I am a living example to prove this wrong.
- And no, reading about endometriosis or any other diseases does not make you suffer from them. My mother believes I suffered it because of reading too much about cancer.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a certified medical practitioner and hence I would still request all of you to seek medical help and not take any of this content as basis for diagnosis.
I am now a mother of two little daughters. Absolutely blessed! But if you ask me if I ever wanted children, all I can say is I have no idea. No one gave me the time or chance to even decide whether I wanted to be a mother or not. I truly cannot imagine my life without the girls but I would still say we don’t owe our existence to having children. If I were childless I would have gone for adoption and I know my man would have supported me in that too irrespective of whether anyone else in the family did or not. Or may be we would have chosen to remain childless. But the accusations, abuses and threatening had all affected us negatively. Yes. Us. Watching your wife suffer does spoil the husband’s health. I have seen it all.
There are many in our country who are childless. Many who are ready to adopt but don’t have their families support. Many who are still suffering silently. #Infertility is a disease like any other but people have made it sound like a sin. Nobody openly talks about it. There are options available for infertility treatment. But there are also people minting money targeting this disease and the patients. If we talk about it openly and share our experiences others might find a ray of hope or might be able to get the right medical treatment. Even if the treatment doesn’t work they’ll at least not feel alone.
So the next time you feel like asking someone ‘Any good news?‘, please control your self and instead wish them a good day and good health.
And by the way, if you thought that my problems got solved because I was now a mother, let me tell you that you were wrong. You missed noticing that I had delivered two girls….not the waaris or the kul ka deepak.
It wasn’t easy for me to write this post. Nevertheless, for a cause I managed it.