In honor of Late Lotika Das, Guwahati, Assam, India
Wish Lotika knew how to self examine herself and was aware of early detection with Breast Cancer
As told by Lotika’s brother-in-law, Shantanu Das
Lotika is a really kind, patient, soft-spoken and inspiring lady. She is also my sister in law (married to my cousin). The last time I met her, despite her own weakness (her real sickness not diagnosed at that time) and her husband being bed-ridden by an automobile accident, she insisted that we have tea and snacks. She made copious amounts of food that I could not have eaten despite my protestations.
Lotika is no more. A few days back, she succumbed to breast cancer. She leaves behind two young kids and a repentant husband. Only if we all were (herself the most) more aware of the disease and how to self diagnose! Only if her family and near ones did not dismiss early signs as non-serious symptoms. Only if the original homeopathic treatments (assuming conventional female symptoms) were eschewed for a more scientific approach. When she was diagnosed first in May 2017, she was already in stage 3b and her bones had started metastasizing. Intense chemo and radiotherapy later, she swung between states of healing and regression, all the while accompanied by intense pain and mental agony. Eventually, she could not bear anymore. I wonder what must have been going through her mind in the last few weeks - when she knew that she was staring at death - how helpless she must have felt knowing that her two little kids (and husband) would be at the mercy of this world. I wonder how her immediate family started coming to terms and preparing for life without her around. I wonder if they can ever come to terms with her eternal absence.
It is wrong for a life to end like this. Despite all our existential struggles and worries, it is wonderful to live a decent, fulfilling and successful life. It is wrong that lack of awareness among us can make some of us wait until it is too late. Today, with the advent of many continuing advance including immunotherapy and customized medicine, cancer is eminently treatable - IF diagnosed early enough. Unfortunately, many of us are unaware and even after diagnosing, treat it as a taboo, avoiding even discussing cancer and treatment options. Let us shed this dogma, let us educate ourselves and others. Let us ensure that another Lotika is not lost due to sheer lack of awareness. I would like to personally ensure that her death was not in vain and will continue to talk about this and help out as necessary.