My apologies because this is a rather lengthy ‘About me’ they are meant to be quite short and concise 🙂
I’ve decided to divide ‘About me’ into two categories, after all it is about who I am – I’m a physical being and a spiritual being.
I was born in India into an Anglo-Indian family. In a link below there is an article about my experiences of being Anglo-Indian and my early days in Australia. My father passed suddenly back in India, so I was brought to Australia as a young teenager. It was difficult for me to return to school here because of our circumstances, so by Australian standards I had an education level of Year 6 at most 7.
When I was fifteen, I was invited into a pub by some friends. Abba was all the rage and as the music blared and the mirror-balls twirled, I danced the night away. If anyone asked me how old I was, I told them I was twenty-one and just kept on dancing. My dancing days didn’t last long, I married at sixteen and became a teenage mum of two beautiful children. Life as a wife and mother suited me just fine and I felt safe again since the death of my father.
After the birth of my second child, at age nineteen, I was diagnosed with a rare Fibrous Sarcoma. The Cancer had infiltrated multiple organs; my uterus, my left ovary, my cervix, a section of my bowel and grown down into my left leg and entangled itself in the major blood vessels in my left leg. All the above organs were partly or wholly removed by major surgery.
My surgeon (Dr. Marx Wald) didn’t expect me to have use of my left leg, but after he conducted tests and realized I had movement, he put it down to his superior surgical skills. I remember him telling me how tricky the left leg surgery was and how he manoeuvred his way around the artery. My right ovary was also partly removed during the operation. Later when the cancer returned it infiltrated my back muscle, it grew back quite aggressively after my operation and first round of radiation. It was then classified as inoperable. It is fair to say, my entire pelvic region and upper left leg was full of cancer. My life/our lives changed dramatically after that.
Raising children as a teenage mum is difficult enough, doing it after major surgery, the onset of menopause and fighting cancer for years is truly next level. A year after I was diagnosed with cancer my mum died of Myeloma. Somehow, I coped with it all and every day I found the strength to continue with God’s grace. I never allowed myself to get bitter, kept smiling, stayed away from anti-depressants, alcohol, or drugs. Instead, I read my Bible and prayed throughout the whole ordeal. I knew God was my only hope, if I was going to live to see my children grow up. The cancer battle lasted into my twenties, finally the last remnants of the tumour started shrinking.
The cancer was treated with a lot of radiation (Dr. Alan Nelson & Dr. John Holt), and I mean a lot! I also received some experimental treatments (please see link below). Many people whom I’d grown fond of died during that period. Some of them were young cancer sufferers like me. Their deaths had a huge impact on me, and I realized that life on this earth was highly volatile and very unpredictable. During that time, I also learnt to be alone, people soon get sick of you when you are sick all the time. I discovered keeping company with myself was quite enjoyable and found pleasures in the little things, like reading, playing my guitar and singing. My best friend was always a dog and still is.
In my mid-twenties life moved forward as I began to recover. However, the reality of what I had lost started to hit me hard. I became acutely aware I had no education, no skills, no qualifications and zero job prospects. I returned to study, completed Year 12, and went on to university. I’ve studied at four of Australia’s top Universities, in Murdoch at a Master’s Level. I study when and where I please, I do it for my own pleasure and have nothing to prove to anyone. I hold the view that learning should never stop and love the term, Life-Long-Learner. In reality we learn very little in school and a whole lot more when we leave, if we continue to study that is.
My thirties were as difficult as my twenties but for different reasons. Having teenage kids, still recovering from what happened to me, menopause, HRT, loss of bone mass and having no clear direction for my life all played a role. My marriage ended and my only goal in my late thirties and forties was to turn a meagre dollar into 1 million in five years. Did I, do it? What do you think? It wasn’t about the money, it was about the prospect of me facing a very uncertain future. I muscled up the strength and worked my butt off for eighteen years solid, running my own company. I knew if I didn’t do that, I would be facing a lifetime of poverty. I did have some help with my successes though, a good friend helped me much. He believed in me when no one else did and later became my husband.
I had to retire early because the past had caught up with me. It broke my heart to say goodbye to my company, my baby. The large amounts of radiation and other treatments played havoc with my body. The prognosis of my heavily radiated belly continues and so far, I have a damaged bowel, bladder, and neurological problems (as in nerve damage). Once again, my life has returned to one of isolation and being alone. My current conditions impact and restrict my ability to socialise quite dramatically. It seems I’ve gone full circle, just as well I learnt to enjoy little old me all those years ago and cherish my alone time.
All in all, I’m doing great! I have peace, wonderful peace, children, gorgeous grandchildren, a huge library, a magnificent house by the beach, a good man, and a dog, so all is well. I occupy my days by reading, writing, blogging, and making a general nuisance of myself on social media. And I am so grateful to have that. That’s my mental, emotional, and psychological state.
From a physical perspective, I would like to say that the medical profession focuses so much on treatments for cancer, but they care very little for the long-term welfare of cancer patients. The treatments are harsh, and often worse than the cancer itself. For the long-term recipients of their treatments, there is no help, no support, no answers, only silent nods. Empathy is nice but answers would be nicer. And the older you get and the more complicated your symptoms get the less time they have for you, or so it seems.
Even so, I remain eternally grateful, to the medical professionals who cared for me. Especially to Dr Alan Nelson and his wife who took me into their lives and cared for me for a total of fifteen years. But ultimately, I give God the credit for my overall recovery. Overall wellbeing, healing must be holistic, medicine offers only part of that. I also give God credit because my situation was so dire, and I was pretty much a lost cause. It needn’t always be one or the other, I think medicine and faith in God can work hand in hand. Faith gives us hope, and when we have hope, we never despair, even when everything is falling apart.
Life is strange, when I refused an abortion at sixteen, and chose to marry instead, I had no idea that that would be my only chance of having children. For me it was the right decision. Teenage pregnancy is not necessarily a bad thing, it doesn’t mean a ruined life. Even having a major illness as a teen mum doesn’t mean you cannot fulfil your life’s ambitions. Life is full of opportunities if you are prepared to look for them. I once met a sad eighty-year-old who told me she never fulfilled her life’s dream because her mum never signed her nursing papers when she was sixteen. I asked her what she’d been doing for the last sixty-four years of her life.
Who said, life was meant to be easy? Not me.
I was always a spiritual being with a deep-seated fascination with God. I’d like to think it’s my Indian heritage, we have religion in our bones. I lived opposite a beautiful old Catholic Church in India (St. Peter’s in Royapuram, Chennai) and I remember spending precious moments in there, looking, thinking, wondering. I spoke to God quietly in my heart, I believed good was on my right-hand side and evil was on my left. It was my job to listen carefully and decide which one I was going to follow.
I was raised in a Catholic home, but many of our values were not always Christian, but who am I to judge. I entered a deeper commitment with Jesus Christ when I was seventeen in Australia by becoming an Evangelical Christian. It was perfect timing for my upcoming ordeal with cancer. God placed me two doors away from a wonderful Pastor and his wife. Without them and that Church family I don’t know what would’ve happened to me. Their names are Ps. Milton and Robyn Gabrielson. Robyn was a nurse and the times she helped me and babysat my children are too many to count. Thank You!
On the night I was told I had cancer I cried out to God, and He came to me and filled me with the most amazing peace. I had several other encounters with God during that period. Too complex to list them all here. Spirituality has always been a part of my life, but it’s never always been easy. I have struggled with many aspects of life on earth, such as suffering, God’s intent, and why us creatures must eat each other to survive 😊. I’ve never doubted God’s existence but sure questioned Him a lot. In my mid to late thirties, I tried walking away from my faith totally. But I couldn’t, nothing outside of God satisfied me and I didn’t like the person I was becoming. The whole idea of walking another path scared me so I came running back to Him, just like the Prodigal Child.
This is how I can best describe my faith. There are Two Paths for humans to walk. One leads to life the other to death, not physical life, or physical death but spiritual life and spiritual death. There is the death of our body but much worse is the death of our soul. This life is a test of how we conduct ourselves and whether we can use our time on earth to develop and emulate the Character of God in our lives. Although, not just emulate His Character but get to know Him so we can know his Character. For me, character is the single most thing that defines who a person is. To understand a person’s character, you must spend time with them, and you must observe them intently.
But how can we know God’s Character? Through the Bible, but more so through the teaching of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Jesus Christ came 2000 years ago to show humans The Way back to God. His teachings in a nutshell are about love, loving even your enemies and as much as possible living at peace with your neighbour. Your neighbour is anyone who happens to be next to you at that time. Even though they are simple, Jesus’s teachings are very difficult for humans to comprehend. They go against our human instincts. That’s why many Christians fail in trying to walk this, Path. But God is love and there is always forgiveness if there is true repentance on our part. At any time, on life’s journey, we can leave the Wide Path where many walk and choose again the Narrow Path that leads to Everlasting Life.
I encourage you if you have the slightest inclination that there is something out there, Creator, Divine Being, Intelligent Designer, please take the time to find the answers while you can. Just ask God, sincerely with all your heart to reveal Himself to you. I promise you He will. The famous appeal from the book of Isaiah, from an all loving, all merciful God, reads: “Come let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall become white as snow.” (Isa 1:18-20). If this is not an open invitation to negotiation and mediation, I don’t know what is.
God Bless You!
I’m an Anglo-Indian
Dr. John Holt’s Tronado Treatment
This Blog was started on 5 April 2016.