Tamil Blogdom is generally considered to be a place to have ‘fun’. A bunch of people standing around in groups discussing politics, movies, music, technology. A different set of people sit together talking about literature and churning out poetry and short-stories. Yet another group can be seen jumping around bursting with joy. Amidst the chaos, small group of people can be seen sitting in a corner sharing their experience and imparting knowledge.
Anuratha from Chennai, India is one of them. She starting blogging in July 2007 and has only blogged 33 entries so far. She has shared her experience in battling breast cancer. Each post contains valuable information and she emphasizes the need to ask questions. And to keep asking them.
A few days ago, Anuratha wrote about visiting her son in Singapore. And just recently on October 23rd she wrote about her health at that time. After listing a few troubles she was facing, she confidently continued to talk about her mental state. Anuratha was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2003. And she tells us how shocked she was and how ignorant she was at that time.
Here's what she says..
My husband and I looked for books on breast cancer when I was getting radiation treatment. We were able to locate two books in Tamil. Manimegalai publications book on cancer and Dr. Muthukuraman's book on mouth cancer. I searched the Net with my husband's help and learned quite a bit. http://breastcancer.org a website operating from America has a chatting room for breast cancer survivors. I participated there with my husband's help.
All these opened up a new world for me. I wanted to meet some people who got diagnosed with cancer.
Kumudam Snegethy magazine carried interviews by Neeraja and Girija, both cancer survivors who were counselling others. I wanted to meet them and contacted the magazine. I was able to talk to Girija and asked to meet her. We went to meet her the very next day. She was very helpful. She told me that she visits Adyar cancer hospital every month and counsels cancer patients and their families. She told me mostly the families needed more counseling than the patients.
Anuratha continues with her experiences in meeting several people who were diagnosed with cancer and others who help those diagnosed with cancer. Anuratha had also started writing about her experience in magazines.
Anuratha also talks about what she learned from other women. She talks about the need to keep things secret. Anuratha shares anecdotes of neighbours and others avoiding women diagnosed with breast cancer. Some women did not share their diagnosis and their interaction with the society did not change. But some of their families especially husbands started avoiding them. Anuratha continues on sharing others’ experiences and blogs about her decision not to share information about her illness with others.
Anuratha might have decided not to share with the people she comes in contact with in person. But she has been very generous in sharing information about her fight with cancer online.
Anuratha presently in Singapore is facing health problems now. She has been to visit the doctors in Singapore and has been in touch with her doctor back in India. She is taking some medicines now. But she is finding it difficult to talk. Most of the time she was only able to talk one or two words. Her most recent post was written on November 11, this Sunday with her husband's help. She is going to leave for Chennai as the medical costs in Singapore are quite exorbitant compared to India.
Tamil Blogdom has come together and is continuing to leave comments full of encouragement and prayers.