“Amma (aunt) was my Jojo’s (grandfather) only living family member. Amma had no kids of her own. When Jojo got really sick, I brought him to my house but he didn’t like it at my cement-floored apartment. At 90, Jojo moved in with Amma in Zilukha. I’d regularly visit them with food & ration. Amma couldn’t bear children. She was working hard to make a living. We got along very well. After Jojo’s passing, I knew she’d be alone. So I asked her to move in with me & my family. We’d be there for each other. 11 years later, at 63, she started to fall sick.

There was a lump in her uterus. Tests revealed that it was cervical cancer. She needed surgery but before that, the country got locked down the first time. At home, she got worse. I took her to the hospital but we’d be sent back after giving pain-relivers. They said surgery wasn’t possible during the lockdown. I called every contact I had, finally succeeding in getting her surgery scheduled. But her cancer had spread & she was admitted to the cancer ward a couple of times after lockdown. The doctors said that she was terminal.

Amma had no one in the world but me. If she was living her last days, I didn’t want her to fear death. I begged the doctors to not tell amma about this. I kept on telling her she’d get better if she took her medication on time. When she turned into her weakest, I’d cry outside the house & come back cheerful. I laughed with her & showed her movies. I felt that this could help her live longer.

On her 8th round of chemotherapy, she got severely ill. She lost control of her bodily functions. She was injected with glucose & all waste was removed through pipes. A week later, she got better. She still has pain sometimes. I give her ngag-chu & jinlab along with her painkillers. The doctors & the Bhutan cancer society have helped us a lot. Apart from patient-care advice, they drop medicines & make home-visits. This has helped Amma & me a lot.

We shouldn’t give up on cancer. Instead try our best fight it and get better.”

On this World Cancer day, we stand with Bhutan Cancer Society in the fight against Cancer. Visit your nearest health facilities for #papsmears to prevent cervical cancer

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