I has been months since I have not written a word. It is not that I did not want to write. I just could not. Each time I sat at my computer hoping to write something, my brain would go mushy. Thoughts would vanish or become incomprehensible and the ensuing frustration would make me shut my computer in anger. I had heard of ‘chemo brain’ but never knew that it would be so debilitating. My chemotherapy stopped way way back in October 2020, but the side effects are still here with me the biggest one being this d**** chemo brain!
But today, the head seemed lighter and the urge to write was strong. So here I am trying to string one word after the other in the hope that I come up with something coherent. I will just let my thoughts flow and try and remember the past few months.
The biggest joy that came into my life was little Inaya. She landed in my lap on a cold January morn looking at the me with big eyes filled with trust and hope. She was 7 months old. Inaya is my granddaughter, Shamika’s adopted child. A real gift from God! And as I looked into her eyes I too was filled with hope: hope that all will be well, that the clouds would lift, that I would heal from my terrible ailment, that Project Why would be safe for years to come. In short that all my dreams would come true.
Inaya brought with her the strong belief that nothing is impossible. You just have to hold on like she did for 7 long months in an orphanage waiting for someone to rescue her. What I learnt from that is that no matter how bleak things get, there is light at the end of all tunnels.
Inaya is 15 months now and has set the mood for our household. She is a feisty little person who has each one of us dancing to her tune. There is no room for sadness; only laughter and joy.
Since she has come my health has improved and I am now feeling well. I am out of the stranglehold of conventional treatments – chemo etc..- and into alternative therapies. My blood counts are holding and the myeloma seems to be in check. I hope I can sail this course steadily.
Project Why took a set back and is in the process of reinventing itself. Our teachers have met all challenges head on and fine-tuned their online teaching approach. Due to the pandemic we have lost some children but have now open our doors to new entrants as the present online teaching enables us to do so. But online teaching is not sufficient for underprivileged children and hence we have decided to call students in tiny groups – maximum of 4 at a time – to clear their doubts and help them in this critical situation.
The sad reality is that the pandemic has hit education at all levels, but more so education for the less privileged. We need to come up with a flexible approach with on line and face to face teaching. We are in the process of doing just that.
Our staunch supporters have stood by us and hence we were able to remunerate all our staff even during the pandemic but our secure funding meets about 60% of our needs so we still need to find new avenues to raise the shortfall. We are trying to approach institutions and corporates. Fingers crossed!
At this juncture we do not know what the future holds. Are we going to see more lockdowns and new deadly waves? Are schools going to reopen soon? Will life ever go back to what it was? To the last question the answer seems to be no! We are going to have to come up with a new normal where masks and social distancing will be par to the course. We just need to accept the new normal and carry on.
The fact that I could write this blog is yet another miracle. Has the time come to say Bye Bye chemo brain! I certainly hope so. But I will take it one day at a time and let Inaya lead the dance.