I am Sharad Bajpai from Kanpur (UP). As I turn back the pages in the book of my life, the memory of a 20-year-old boy crying in agony because of abdominal pain flashes past. I told my mom that I have acute pain. She laughed it off and said that I was making excuses as I did not want to take my exams. She said she knew what a nautanki I was. The pain grew worse. I kept screaming in pain…now my family was really worried. It was 1 a.m. when they took me to the doctor.
The doctor said, “there seems to be some serious problem and he might need a catheter!” He prescribed some tests and pain killers. I was diagnosed with an ectopic kidney. This was a shocking discovery when we understood what it meant. (An ectopic kidney is a congenital defect that occurs during fetal development. The kidney gets located either below, opposite, or above the usual position.)
The doctor advised my parents to take me to AIIMS as there was no treatment for this disease in Kanpur.
Bahut mushkil se AIIMS ke Urology department mein admission mili. The doctors immediately did the procedure of PCN (Percutaneous nephrostomy is the placement of a small, flexible rubber tube (catheter) through your skin into your kidney to drain your urine). There was 3-litres of pus in my right kidney. My physical condition was not too good. I had not eaten for weeks and could barely stand on my feet. I was in AIIMS for four months and after many deliberations and discussions, Dr Amlesh Seth decided on pyeloplasty. Well, a pyeloplasty is done when the tube that drains urine from the kidney and into the bladder is blocked. This pushes the urine back into the kidney, which can cause loss of kidney function, infections and pain.
I had my first surgery in June 1999. My files from the Urology department were transferred to the Nephrology Department for further management. Dr Bhowmik and his team took really good care of me and on 10 January 2005 Dr Sandeep Gularia did my transplant. My brother was my donor and saviour. I belong to a middle-class family and it was becoming very difficult for them to meet my medical expenses. I got a small-time job in Delhi. Life was good but tragedy struck again. In 2009 my elder brother passed away but life moved on. I lost one soulmate and found another in my wife. A year later God gave me the most beautiful gift of my life… My daughter Varnika
ज़िन्दगी का सफ़र है ये कैसा सफर
कोई समझा नहीं कोई जाना नहीं
Another setback came in 2015 when my wife was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis. The doctors advised a liver transplant. I was ready to donate my liver but my application was rejected because of my health issues. As if life was not dealing its blows, my father expired in 2017. Then the third tragedy struck us with my wife passing away on 10 January 2018. Coincidentally it was the same date as my kidney transplant!
I came to terms with life but perhaps God’s tests were never-ending. In 2019 I felt a lump on my tongue. The doctor got the biopsy done. I had cancer !! I was completely devastated. This couldn’t be for real.
I went to Tata Memorial Hospital but the doctor said that they don’t have a kidney backup (an in-house nephrology department). They advised me to consult Dr. Murad Lala (Oncology Surgeon) at Hinduja Hospital. I was operated upon in 2019. I lost half of my tongue. This was followed by radiation and brachytherapy. Brachytherapy is a type of internal radiation therapy in which seeds, ribbons, or capsules that contain a radiation source are placed in your body, in or near the tumor. Brachytherapy is a local treatment and treats only a specific part of your body.
I had too many complications and side effects after the surgery and radiation. I lost my appetite, and my taste and had ulcers in my mouth. I was battling cancer of the tongue when God handed me another test paper in February 2021. Cancer hit me on my lower lips. Covid too did not spare me. In April 2021 I had another surgery. I lost my teeth and jaw on the left side. The doctor grafted the skin of my left hand to make a flap of my jaw.
The pain was excruciating and unbearable but I prayed to God to give me the strength to fight this demonic disease.
Zindagi ke imtihaan abhi khatam nahi hue the for my mom, my last pillar had multiple brain strokes. She was bedridden and my eleven-year-old daughter was her only caregiver. She took care of her, fed her, and changed her diapers. My mother succumbed to her illness in February 2022. I had zero support from my family but my friends were and are my anchors.
It is April 2022 and the cancer is back with vengeance. I am going to start with my chemotherapy and radiation sessions. I seek your good wishes and blessings.
Pray for me
As I look back on my life I see small magical dust sprinkled along the way. My brother… my wife… my ageing mother… my 11-year-old superstar. They are like rays of sunshine in my dark world. My efforts to groom Varnika as a complete package of kindness, compassion, empathy and humility are the highest peaks that I have ever climbed. I am so proud of my independent and intelligent rockstar. Her smile simply brightens up my life.
“It doesn’t matter what’s been written in your story so far. It’s how you fill-up the rest of the pages that counts.”
I am going to write my story with all the colours of the rainbow.
To be continued…