Thursday, 5 March 2015


The waiting room seemed packed to the rafters. Although the open windows offered us a lot of fresh air, there weren't enough seats for everyone. I, for one, had been standing for almost three hours now, one outside the clinic, before the shutters were even up, and two more inside the clinic, awaiting my turn. I had reckoned that not many people would come an hour early to book their slots for a consultation. I was wrong.

I had my biopsy report with me. It had cost me a bomb, this 20-pager bland sheet filled with a lot of numbered readings and medical terms that I would never be able to decipher in a hundred years or two. All that concerned me was the fact that I had strange lesions all over my scalp, and that they hurt and bled, and that they had begun to spread to my face. A new unwelcome update was that diagnosis and treatment was making a sizeable dent in the household savings. I couldn't afford to let this monster get bigger.

A good 45 minutes later, my turn finally came. The doctor, a lady slightly older than my mother welcomed me in. After the customary asking about general well-being, she asked me for the biopsy report and the histopathology laboratory slide that came with it.
I broke the silent moment, "I've done a little reading about this alopecia mucinosa online. Is really a precursor to lymphoma?"

She huffed, "In 40 per cent of the cases, yes, people do end up with lymphoma within a span of three years." Then she smiled. "But you don't have to worry too much. Just go ahead with the treatment religiously."
A more worried and 'woe-is-me' look came across my face now. "I'm scared Doctor. My wife is pregnant, and we have our hands tied due to our housing loan.”

She cut in, “You worry a lot son, you need to relax.”

“Listen son”, she continued, “Life is full of problems, it never has been easy, and it never will be easy. Difficulties will come at unexpected points, sometimes you will have your plate full and you will feel helpless.”

I nodded half-heartedly.

“Seriously son. You need to have faith. Do you see that lady at the reception table out there?”

I looked outside. A young, thin, but seemingly healthy girl sat t the table, ably taking down appointments.

She continued, “Yes, her. She had exactly the same problem as you did. That was 5 years ago. But she wasn’t depressed like you are. She stayed busy and left the rest to treatment and to fate. You need to stay strong son. Life is hard, but you need to keep your chin up, otherwise you’ll lose your battles before they even begin.”

She prescribed me some medicines. But I don’t know if the medicines were even half as effective as her pep talk. It changed my outlook towards life and gave me renewed hope.

As luck would have it, the problem was not life-threatening at all.

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