When I was going to the hospital on the 23rd of June to take my third Chemo I once again had a big bag of prasadam with me - this time carob cookies, packaged in smaller and bigger boxes. Everybody was delighted to receive the tasty surprise - the nurses on the Day Care Ward, Kavita Mataji at the reception, and the doctors. I also gave Dr Vishwanath a Deluxe edition of the Bhagavad Gita, and a Science of Self-Realization. He had asked me several times for it, and my answer had been with a smile: "First deserve, then desire." But now I felt he had deserved it. I showed him several verses: 2.13: "Dehino 'smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara.....". Showing him the picture of changing bodies, I pointed to the old fellow by saying: "I am here now....", and pointing at the middle aged one: "and you are here.....", which made him chuckle. And verse 2.22: "As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones", and finally verse 8.5.: "And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body remembering Me alone at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt." He respectfully accepted the gift - whether he will find the time to read it is another question. But having one of Prabhupada's books in his house will be already of great spiritual benefit.
In the early morning of the 2nd of June I made my way to Apollo Hospital for the second Chemo. I had a big bag of maha prasadam with me - more than one hundred pieces of Jagannath burfi packaged in small and bigger boxes. I also carried some of the beautiful 16-page brochures entitled "Prabhupada - The Messenger of God". Before going to the 'Day Care Ward' to take the Chemo I visited Ward 6 and offered a big box of burfis to the staff, together with some of those brochures. Needless to say, they were happily surprised about my visit. I also went to the cabinet of the surgeon who had inserted my Chemo Port, and I left a few brochures and boxes of burfis on his desk, with a little note instructing for whom they were: for his family, for the operating team, for the aneasthesiologist, etc. And of course Kavita Mataji at the reception also received a box, since she had always been making so many arrangements for me, and ordering my Uber car to drive me home after the treatment. The staff on the 'Day Care Ward' also happily accepted a big box of burfis, relishing them in their morning break at 10am. And Dr Vishwanath was also blessed with maha prasadam and some informations about our beloved Srila Prabhupada. In this way my big bag was quickly getting empty.....
The first Chemotherapy was not so easy for my body to digest. It must have been a shock to my system to all of a sudden be confronted with such heavy toxins. I had to drink around 4 to 6 liters of water per day, and a lot of it was retained in the body and passed out during the night. Almost every hour I had to make my way to the bathroom, and I could feel my organs working very hard to fight with all those poisons, especially my heart pumping away strongly. Some nights it was difficult to sleep, because my body was in the fighting mode. During the first week I felt rather weak, and my blood pressure was very low - sometimes I felt close to fainting and looked indeed like a half dead cancer patient! I had to take a number of medicines to counteract the side effects and subdue the vomitting. I had to change my eating habits and take four to five small meals a day - some days it was difficult to eat anything at all. The dietician had told me that it was very important for me to take high quality foods and more protein, in order to give my body enough strength to deal with the situation. It seemed like Krsna had arranged the perfect place for me. In Bangalore everything was available: soya milk and tofu to give me more protein, nuts, sprouts, avocados and many nice fruits such as mangos, papayas and pineapple were in season now - even jackfruit! I took dhal and shak for lunch, and we could get some nice bread from the temple to make pizza toasts with olives and cheese to give me some appetite. In this way I survived the first week, and from then on it was getting easier from day to day.
Devaki Devi Dasi's Traveling Diary
Devaki Devi Dasi is sharing her realizations and adventures in her Traveling Diary. Welcome to relish this nectar!