Am borrowing a modified version of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's book for the title of this post. My world has been turned topsy turvy by a word it took me a nano second to read, a word preceded by a question mark at the end of a text in a incomprehensible medical jargon:? lymphoma. The word was followed by a full stop. This full stop changed my life if not forever, at least for the days to come. In simpler terms, my husband has cancer and has begun his chemo therapy so I will have to give him all the time he needs. As you know chemo gets worse each session and hence at least for the next 6 months, I will not be able to devote as much time as I did to project why. The flip side is that this may be the right time to write the project why story
I started a few months back but had left in the middle when my husband felt sick a year back.
After running from pillar to post the diagnosis has now been confirmed and the road ahead charted and though it is a never travelled, it is at least one that can be 'imagined' and charted. What I foresee is having do be in the house, on call and thus not able to visit the project as before. Though I must say that I had withdrawn from day to day activities to give the team I had so lovingly trained a chance to prove themselves. They passed all tests with flying colours and I must admit, at times I almost felt almost redundant. From the bazillion calls I use to get when I first stopped sitting at the project office daily, within a few months at most, it was I had to call to know how things were. At 4pm each day, I would be debriefed and problems, if any discussed.
I would still go every morning for my cup of tea at Mataji's which has always been my special was to remain grounded and then sped some time in the main centre, where I met the staff, heard my children's lilting good mornings. It was my daily feel good shot!
I still toiled for project why! Wrote my blogs, updated the site (though I have not been great at that and looks like will have more time to do now), and of course wrote the reports, answered mails and kept up the funding. I still was the face of project why.
My husband's cancer has been a wake up call in another way too! Someone I always felt was indestructible, for want of a better word, could be hit by a malady in the most unexpected way, then it could happen to me too, any day. So maybe this is the silver lining of the situation I find myself in. A litmus test for my staff. The little things I was still doing are now handled by them: reports etc. I will jealously hold on to my writing as without it I would fade away quicker than imaginable.
For the next 6 to 8 months at least, the time the chemotherapy will take and the rebuilding of a devastated immune system, I will have to give up my regular morning teas and good mornings. There are days when we have to reach the hospital at 7 am! I will be unable to plan anything that requires my presence at a given time, as the vagaries of chemotherapy are legendary and unexpected. So there will be days when there will be no tea, and no smiles!
My biggest challenge during the forthcoming months is to ensure that all the things I still had a hold on are passed on. My biggest hope is that my incredible staff finds the their own way of meeting these challenges, ways they are comfortable with as I am sure they must have at times not quite liked my ways and followed them because they respected me. My biggest dream would be that they become empowered enough to take on the funding of the project.
So life at Project Why in the time of Cancer
is going to be a challenge for everyone. I will have to test my ability to stay away and keep my mouth shut; my staff will have to taken on independently all tasks, however trying and bear full responsibility and project why will have to prove that it can withstand all odds and still soar in the sky.