Ratika – Hyderabad, 2011
“Life isn’t easy.. Life isn’t tough.. It’s neither good nor bad… It is what you make of it!!”
“Whatever happens in life is for your own good!!”
“God knows what is best for you!!”
We have read and heard these lines infinite times. And to tell you the truth,my life till date has been a summary of all the three. Read through to know me better
My Friends of Max family knows me as Shy Rose, and for my new friends I am Ratika. I am a cancer survivor, aged 28 yrs, and was diagnosed with CML in June 2003 during my 3rd year of college. My symptoms were frequent fever, weight loss and blue patches on my skin. I got the blood investigations done and there we go ! Diagnosis “CML-Chronic phase” !! I didn’t scream YIPPEEE but somehow (I dont know how you might take this but..) for me it was very easy to carry on even after my diagnosis. I just didn’t bother. I went back to Mangalore from Delhi, my hometown, finished my graduation in Physiotherapy, came back and started working.
Like everyone, I had a blast during my college days. My friends knew about my CML but never discussed a word about it. They always prayed for me and my good health and have supported me till now. My professors and Principal too acknowledged my courage and my decision to continue with studies post the (so called “Dreaded” ) health issue.
I came back to Delhi and started working. Initially, I did not share anything about my health with the organisation I was working with, but later, due to some unavoidable circumstances I had to disclose it to the Chairman. And then the Expected happened !! I was sacked because I was a CML patient. I moved on but didn’t cry. My philosophy was, they lost one of the best employees; I didn’t lose anything at all. I moved to a Multi National Company and was a having a gala time with my team mates, enjoying my work (didn’t share about my diagnosis at all) But then again I found God had different plans for me.
In Jan 2007, my dad got relocated to Hyderabad and we as a family moved with him. It was tough to leave Delhi but who knew it would be so rewarding!! I took a transfer and continued my job here in Hyderabad for four years in the same organisation I was working for in Delhi. I got in touch with our Friends of Max group here.. Pramod Bhaiya, Sailaja, Dr. Raghu, Parveen aunty, Vicky, SubbaRao and felt very comfortable. We used to get together for meetings , share our experiences & have Pramod Bhaiya’s Special Sandwiches and Samosas.. Yummy, I can still savour that taste in my mouth! My parents too were actively involved. All was going good with time passing by and my reports being negative ( BCR-ABL total remission). But then something was incomplete somewhere…
Shaadi.com or Bharat Matrimony???
The search had begun already with my profile been created in all possible matrimonial sites . Who says we can’t marry?? I was keen on getting married since childhood.. I mean who isn’t?? I even asked and posted a Question regarding this to the Doctors Panel in OUR All India meet in Delhi and was really happy that the Doctors gave a positive response.
The proposals were coming in from everywhere, relatives, and friend’s referrals and of course from the on line sites. I was adamant of making my health history very clear at the initial stage itself so that nothing should go wrong later or no one should feel cheated. My parents too supported my decision and took the chance of sharing it. But fortunately or unfortunately, the unlucky ones didn’t accept. The Reason? We know it. I don’t blame anyone becasue it’s not easy to accept this truth and it’s even more difficult for someone else to live with it the whole life.
One day when I was chatting with my friends online my mother came up to me and said , “Talk to him. Seems like a good guy”. Now where did that come from??? I was cold initially…didn’t know what to talk.. Held my breath and thought.. “I should recall what my hobbies are, what I like – what i don’t like” because this is what people usually ask when they speak for the first time for a proposal!!
I said “Hello” and there he was with his husky voice saying “Hello, I am Shivanand”. And I was numb. I don’t even remember what we spoke about . We met the following week. I see this tall, dark, handsome guy, (Just as I hoped for) coming towards me. Oh man!! Was I dreaming?? We had a long, nice chat and we just clicked. We started talking over the phone, met again. Till then I didn’t utter a word about Leukemia. But at the back of my mind I was thinking , what if I tell him right now about my diagnosis? Will he accept me? Will he dump me?? How will he react?? I like him so much now I don’t want to lose him. But I also don’t want to cheat him..
The following week I spoke to him over the phone. With a very heavy heart I told him about my diagnosis. I cried a lot ,not because I was living with CML., but because I was so attached to him that I did not, could not see my life without him. I asked him “Do you still want to marry me”?
And there was Silence..
I went stone cold waiting for an answer ; 99.9% I was expecting a “NO I CANT MARRY YOU, I AM SO SORRY” but 0.1% praying for a “YES”. The silence broke and I heard a “YES, I WILL”.
I could not believe my ears , I swear. That time I cried like I never cried before. I asked him to repeat himself . He said “ YES RATIKA,I STILL WANT TO MARRY YOU”. Felt like I was flying , on the wings of his love .
This was April 2009 when I heard those three wonderful words. We got engaged to in June and we tied the knot on Oct 28th the same year. .The best day of my life. I wished for the best, I got the best. But we humans are so greedy ;we always want more and more. And what I wanted now was at the cost of my health and the biggest risk that Shiv and I could take in our life. I wished to be a Mother !
We consulted my doctor and did research online just to get to know what can possibly go wrong, in case it did !! And the decision was taken. I conceived and stopped medication in Sept 2010. I was getting my regular check ups done as well as getting my BCR-ABL tests done every three months. I was in total remission even without medication. Thanks to all the prayers of my parents, my husband and the good wishes of my well wishers.
With God’s grace, on June 4th 2011, we were blessed with a Baby boy.
I am here, sharing my experience with all of you just because of my husband. He has been my pillar of support from the day we met. Shiv has accepted me the way I am, with my strengths AND weaknesses, and with my CML. He too attends our regular Friends of Max meetings with me. With Shiv by my side I feel I am blessed in every way that I can ever imagine.
I know that for us it’s a tough call to stop the medicine and go take that big chance. Risk is everywhere and that is how I took it. As I told you Life is what we make of it – jo hoga accha hee hoga – because God will always give you what you deserve, come what may!!
My journey may sound like a fairytale.. but
It happened with me. It can happen with you too.
Wish you all the best.