I Think, Therefore I Am

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cancer Wisdom

I might have already addressed these sometime before in one of my pieces about cancer, but this is probably the first time I'm collecting my thoughts about some good things to do while going through chemotherapy, or some other cancer-related treatment, or in fact any long, tedious, dull treatment that tends to depress one.

The first thing I would say is: Distract yourself. I’m not saying don’t think about the fact that you have Cancer. That is impossible. You have to think about it. However, make sure you don’t think about it too much. Try to divert your attention. Watch the TV. Read. Write. Play. Even do some work if possible. That is one of the most important things to remember during treatment, because the mind-numbing drip-drip-drip of the chemotherapy will definitely bring you down if all you do is think about it. I’m trying to say, relegate the fact that you’re undergoing chemotherapy to the back of your mind. You may have reactions like vomiting or diarrhoea - it happens, sometimes unavoidable, but get it over with and move on as if nothing as happened. Treat the cancer with disdain, almost as if your saying, ‘I’m too good for you, and I’m going to be rid of you soon.’

Second, and this is very important, try to have, along with the short term desires of needing home food or wanting to get out of the hospital, a long term goal that you can constantly work towards. If you do, then you start thinking about cancer and the treatment in terms of ‘When I will get through it...’ and not ‘If I will get through it...’

Third, involve yourself with the treatment. Make sure you know everything that is being given to you. Be proactive with the doctor. Ask questions. It will impress them, develop a better relationship between the both of you, and serve to quell any doubts you may have.

Fourth, develop a good relationship with the nursing staff and cleaners, mausis, mamas and everyone else you come into contact with several times a day. It takes nothing, just a smile and a thank you when they do something for you, and it really elevates their estimation of you, and after that they will, unconsciously or unconsciously, do little things for you that make it easier. Plus, its always better to be someone that is liked.

That's all for this episode, ciao till next time.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Yes! The blood test that I gave on the 9th before I went to meet the Director of SIMC, you remember that? Well I called the hospital up today and the Pathology Lab told me the result was ready, but that there was no way they would tell me over the phone. So I begged my aunt to go and get it today (instead of tomorrow when we're anyway meeting the doctor and could thus have picked up the report as well) as the tension was getting to me. So anyway, she took a rick and called me up within some time with great news! I wont bore you with the absolute facts but the markers are well within the range of normal and it looks there I'll be jetting off to Dubai soon.

I know, I know, this wasn't exactly a philosophical or an idea-based post, but hey, its damn important to me. Anyway, once I'm back in Dubai I promise I'll blog more. (I have the feeling that I'm talking to myself again, as I very much doubt I have an audience. Still, I'm too happy to care :D)

Till next time,


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Beating Boredom and Other Tales

I've found in the recent days that one of the foremost challenges that faces me now is not beating cancer, as one would be lead to believe, but combating boredom, which is actually a big part of fighting the cancer battle itself. If you just let your mind wander it often stumbles on uncomfortable thoughts, things you don't really want to think about but have to just because there's nothing else - that sort of thing.

So anyway, now beating boredom now, while I'm biding my time until the blood test and its results get okayed so that I can get back to Dubai, is becoming a slight problem. My day has become a composite of several activities that have now become routine - wake up, coffee, read the paper, start the laptop, clear email, clear facebook every five days, play a game, read sports news etc etc - until lunch. Then, either sleep or read a book, or work on an ongoing project, till 4, teatime. Have tea, go back to the computer for an hour or two, practice guitar, edit novel. Interspersed through the day randomly is talking to family here or over the phone, and keeping in touch with friends. It also helps to be reading a great book.

As a result of this excess of time, I have become a much slower, paced, person. I don't mind spending 10 minutes over my coffee, because I know theres time to do everything else. To put it in a nutshell, boredom is teaching me to savour each moment of the things I do. Its odd, but completely true, atleast for me.


This is totally unrelated to this post, but I might as well put it up: I've changed my email address. I had two: freak.on.a.leash.999@gmail.com and shreyass.rajagopalan@gmail.com. The freak... one was getting embarassing and the shreyass... one was now incorrect as I've decided to stick with my passport name now, which has always been Shreyas, not Shreyass (as I was registered in school). As such, and to streamline checking two accounts to just checking one, I've changed my email address to:


Also, the url to this blog has been changed to shreyasrajagopalan.blogspot.com - obvious to those who have managed to reach it and are now reading this, and thus a totally unnecessary piece of information on this page.

Changing my email address meant changing the details of it on Facebook, Geni and Twitter, registering it for a WindowsLive ID as well as importing my Room 1614 blog from the previous account to this one. As a result, I've spent the entire morning synchronizing all my stuff for my new email account, and I have yet to add all the contacts to Adium - *sigh*. If you guys help me out by adding my new address on whatever IM software you use, that would be great.

(Sometimes I wonder whether I'm talking to the cyberspace equivalent of a wall - I don't think many, if any, read what I say - but hey, who cares, I love writing and I'm going to keep at it.)

Note 2:

Doing the above helped beat boredom for the entire morning (nearly). Note to self - randomly change things in life to combat the bore bug.

Till the next post,


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I'm Back

I'm blogging after a considerable amount of time, and I apologise to the few who follow my rants and might have expected to post atleast a word or two in the last two months. Anyway, I'm back, hopefully for good. First of all, a very Happy New year to everyone. I look forward to 2009 being a great year.

Seeing as I haven't mentioned my relapse anywhere in this blog, I'll limit the information about it to:

1. Found out in August
2. Took 4 chemotherapies so far in Deenanath Mangheskar Hospital under Dr. Chetan Deshmukh
3. Had a major abdominal surgery on Dec 2nd that went off well.
4. Will have possibly one more chemotherapy
5. The plan is to take a gap year and start afresh at SIMC in Pune in July.
6. The interim will be spent in Dubai building my strength, improving in guitar, learning a new language, and just lazing around!

Anyway, one of the reasons I'm writing this post is to ask for advice and counsel from anyone who reads this on foods and a diet that good for cancer patients in order to build my strength. I've already got a few myself, (turmeric with milk, avoid chocolates as much as possible, green vegetables, all manner of antioxidants, etc). So everyone, please feel free to contribute so that I can build up a diet list to which I will (mostly :P) be sticking.

Lot of thoughts are fighting for breath in my head, I'll let a few of them develop before posting my next pearl of wisdom.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

National Novel Writing Month

Well, NaNoWriMo is here (for those who don't know what it is, google it), and its got me pretty excited. Why? Well, for the first time, I'm not stopping every two minutes to edit what I've done like I always do. Instead, I'm just letting the creative juices flow and writing and writing and writing, and My God, isn't it a whole lot of fun. Its the 6th day today, and already my story has deviated quite far from what I thought I would be writing, though I'm keeping the general theme in mind. The great thing about this challenge is that you never know whats coming next, and thats where your crazy inventiveness comes into play, with wacky characters, absurd dialogue and a plot so full of holes you wonder it stands together at all! And its so gratifying to see that word count rising every day!

NaNo! Because Writing is fun.

Friday, July 4, 2008

You have donated: 10,000 grains of rice

I saw something online that really freaked me out. It was chilling. 


On the right, theres a ticker updating the number of hunger deaths in the past hour, and it was increasing by 1 every 2 seconds. Pictures included. Trishaka Trivedi. Iniaka Diop. Chaiyo Seow. Shasmecka Bonita. All children. They look like any child you would meet on the street, not so different from you and I. Who am I kidding? 

We're poles apart. We're born into privilege. They're born into a struggle for survival. I want to go to the latest movie. They would do anything for a bowl of rice. At 17, I hang out with my friends and laze around doing nothing. At 17, the boy is responsible for his mother and seven younger sisters, for their daily subsistence and survival.

I'm pretty sure that for most you of (me for sure), guilt sets in, and you wish you didn't blow so much on something so stupid, because you could have...what? Exactly. You not spending any money on yourself is not going to help a family 3000 miles away survive. They're not going to eat your abstinence. Ok, you could donate to charities (there are SO many of them, chief among which is the UNFP - UN Food Program, but how are you going to donate enough money to make a difference when your only source of income is pocket money?)

You can't exactly convince your dad to donate much money either because he's too busy working to keep your family in comfort, and who can blame him? There is something that a lot of us have now, however. Time. Time to learn and time to give.



“Web game provides rice for hungry . . . FreeRice went online in early October and has now raised 1 billion grains of rice [by November 9].”

- BBC News

“Addictive, yes. But . . . each correct answer results in the donation of rice to help feed the hungry around the globe. Perhaps that qualifies the game as a good addiction . . . one with redeeming qualities, something that’s, oh, didactic and edifying.”

- Kansas City Star

freerice.com is a vocabulary building game that donates 20 grains of rice to the UN WorldFP for every word meaning that you get right. Its gets harder as your Vocab Level goes up. So you learn new words, which is a MAJOR plus point - vocabulary being a primary measure of intelligence, and you donate rice to the UN WFP.

The rice is sponsored by the ads on the game page, the logic being the more you stay on, the more exposure the company gets. Obviously they don't courier 560 grains of rice to Uganda! Instead, they wait until the rice grains accumulate to the level that they can send them off in sacks with freerice in green emblazoned on it. 

Want proof that its real?

Go to the World Food Program Website, www.wfp.org, and click on How to Help in the blue tab on the left. In the orange tab that springs up, click on Give More Rice. There's a link for a video. Its called: 'Video: FreeRice for Bangladesh' in red bold font on the left of the picture. Watch it. I'm not ashamed to say that I shed a few tears while watching it. 

And for an added feel good factor, it lets you keep score of how much you've donated in the past. I got addicted. I learnt that full family needed 7200 grains of rice for one meal. I reached 10,000 recently, not enough for more than one family. Why bother? 


Its a game. You have fun and learn something.


Where would the world be if we all asked that? 

The hunger deaths have reached a thousand from 400 by the time I wrote this post. Start playing. 

Change of Style

On the advice of a friend whose counsel I respect a lot, I'm changing the focus of this blog from being a description of everyday events in my life to being a platform for thoughts, ideas, opinions, views, people, things or anything that I feel need sharing, with the occasional description of a mega event - like Board Results, me getting my visa or Prize Day -  thrown in. 

The last post is an example of the new focus and style that I'm adopting. I hope I don't disappoint.