Note by Dr Suraj Manjunath : This is a guest post by Haripriya Suraj. Haripriya is a wellness practitioner, author, and early childhood educator. As my better half, she has been my source of support and inspiration through our years together. In this post, she shares a memorable account of her encounter with a cancer patient and the positive impact this woman had on her.
As my eyes rested on the morning glory flowers that bloomed outside our window, a tear slid down my cheek.
A cheery old soul with a big heart and a fighter spirit had just passed on. She was 88 years old and lived on the hospital residential campus that was also our home at that time.
One day, four years earlier, when Suraj and I were walking on the campus, we had bumped into this woman.
She flashed a huge smile at Suraj and seemed thrilled to see him.
“Good evening Doc!” she said cheerfully.
“How are you Aunty?” said Suraj.
“I’m good son,” she replied, “Don’t you worry. I will be fine.”
“Yes Aunty,” replied Suraj, “You will be.”
I didn’t understand what was going on.
Suraj then introduced me to her.
She flashed another warm smile at me and said, “Your husband is operating on me early next week. Colon cancer dear.”
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago and he had operated on me back then too. I recovered and led a normal life until this new condition showed up. I suppose destiny had it that we must meet again. What do you say doc? ” she said and laughed.
I was taken aback by how calm she was as she made this announcement. Being diagnosed once with cancer seemed hard enough! I couldn’t even imagine what it must have felt like to receive a diagnosis of a second cancer.
“I wish you a speedy recovery Aunty,” I said, feeling lost for words.
She then patted both of us on the head, uttered, “God bless you” and walked away.
The day of her surgery arrived. When Suraj walked into the operating room, she said to him again, “Don’t you worry Doc. I shall be fine. You see.”
When he shared this with me later that evening, I was honestly wondering if this woman was a human or some supernatural being!
It is common for doctors to reassure patients that they will be fine. I had never heard of a patient reassuring the doctor that she would be fine and that he needn’t worry!
She recovered from surgery and did well.
In those days, I often stood by the window to watch the morning glory flowers blooming in our backyard. Sometimes, through the vines, I caught glimpses of her walking along with her husband.
Four years later, I was standing by the window again, when I got the news of her passing. I felt immensely sad. My brief interaction with her had had such a positive impact on me. The flowers in our backyard went on to become a representation of this amazing woman’s warm heart and shining spirit.
She may not be around to share her beautiful energy with the world, yet her essence shall forever be etched in my heart!