I lay on the examination table fidgeting with my case file. The bunch of medical reports cluttered in there made me nervous.
“So, how are you doing today young lady?” he marched in. I gave the doc my trademarked sarcastic smile. I had been sick for months. He had made me do innumerable tests, names of which I always had difficulty remembering, but the results of which were always negative. How did he expect me to be? I wanted to give him “I love being a regular at your office doc” but managed with “Not too bad doc” instead (My gastroenterologist is the last person I expect to read my blog).
By now, he had already grabbed the reports off my hand and was keenly studying them. I saw raised eyebrows at some point in the report. But I wasn’t really expecting much. There was never anything concrete that had ever come out of my earlier reports. So I was taken by surprise, when he looked up and looked right past me to my mom and said “Mrs. Dresswala, can I talk to you in private for 2 minutes?”
As much relieved I was about him finally finding something in those stool reports, the Bollywood filmi keeda in me had started talking. Why did he have to talk to her in private? I am not a 10 yr old. Is it something really serious? Am I very sick? Am I going to die? Why are they taking forever to come back? The few minutes they took to come back felt like hours to me.
And when they did finally come back, all he said to me was “Nikita, we’ve found some occult blood in your stool tests. We’ll have to do a colonoscopy tomorrow.” Before I could register what had been said, he was gone. Another test. I was furious. I stormed at my Mom, “Why did he have to talk to you in private? And what the hell is a colonoscopy now?”
That’s how began the worst nightmare of my life.
To avoid scaring me, my mom did not divulge me much details of her private discussion. However, that didn’t help. And when nobody else comes to your rescue, Google does. It was google who explained it to me that colonoscopy meant sticking a long camera tube up my butt to view my internal organs (excuse my in-your-face description). And no, this wasn’t the scariest part. If you were to ever open the Wikipedia page on colonoscopy which I hope you never have to, you would know what the scariest part about colonoscopy is. Colonoscopy is used to detect colorectal cancer. COLORECTAL CANCER! C-A-N-C-E-R. Believe me; when you read the C word, every single cell in your body shakes up. That day, I did my PhD on colonoscopy and colorectal cancer. I read very article there ever was on the subject. The symptoms. The diagnosis. The survival rate. I watched youtube videos of the random people’s colons to figure out how the cancer would look inside mine.
It was that night when I couldn’t get sleep that I made my Bucket list. I always prided myself on being spiritual. On my abilities to handle my fear of death and death itself. But I was wrong. I did not want to be the 22 year old kid with cancer who would eventually die. Or that one strong woman who fought back cancer. I did not want anything to do with the goddamn “C” word. There was so much I still I wanted to do in life.
And that “so much” definitely didn’t include working upto 10pm at office everyday. Nor did it involve studying 14 to 16 hrs day for two months straight. It also did not include crying over a heartbreak or a death that shook me apart.
That “so much” was about all the little joys I always wanted. The experiences I did not have the time for. Things I did not have the money for. Activities I did not have guts for. All of them left for a fabled someday which might arrive when I would run out of excuses to make. Maybe after the promotion cycle. Maybe after I get married. Maybe after I pass that stupid test. Maybe someday in the future I take so much for granted. That night I made the list of all these little things, and promised myself, that if I lived long enough, that if only I would have another chance, I would strike off every single of them from my list. I cried and prayed myself to sleep over my bucket list that Friday night.
Somebody out there did hear my prayers eventually. I will not delve deep into my colonoscopy and the events surrounding it (they would make up an entertaining post if I were to ever write about it). All you need to know is that the colonoscopy revealed that I did not have cancer. What I had was an inflammation disease which was curable with a few months on steroids. I would live to tell the tale! The tale of my Bucket list.
The above events happened over a year ago. And these were the events that followed it:
- I jumped off a plane from a height of 12000 feet. Skydiving, they call it.
- I’ve managed to complete 2 half marathons and a few shorter runs. If there is one thing you want to pick up from my list, it has to be this one. Running changes you in ways too difficult to put in words.
- I swam with fishes at the ocean bed. This one’s better known as snorkeling.
- I passed my CA exams. This one was for Mom, Dad and Rutvi. I’ve never seen them more proud of me
- The reason I titled my earlier post “8 reasons why you should travel alone, trek the Himalayas and sleep under the stars” was because they were tasks on my bucketlist
- I am close to reaching my 30 books a year target. Fiction. Non fiction. Self help. I’ve read them all
- I got myself a new and a more challenging job. All said and done, my work always has and always will define in a lot many ways who I am. I wasn’t taking any chances with this one.
- I’ve made more gratitude cards then I originally planned to. Be it in the form of birthday cards or thank you emails / texts or a sticky note left on a friend’s desk, I’ve found ways for thanking people for what they have meant to me.
- I scrapped through my salsa class. A special thanks to my cousin, Akshay, for being my partner in crime on this one
- I started blogging :). It originally was writing; later modified to blogging.
And there are a few others. Some of them a little too crazy to write about on this blog. And many others which I still have to strike off. Watching the Olympics live, working with the NGO I always wanted to spend time at, go backpacking to a new country, entrepreneurship, etc.
So why did I have to tell you this story? I certainly do not enjoy talking about my gory colonoscopy. Nor do I derive some kind of exquisite pleasure bragging about all the things I have done over the past year.
The deal is this. Of all those who managed to read this post till the end, if even some of you are inspired enough to tear off a page from your otherwise empty notepad and make yourself a bucket list, I’ll consider it a post well done. And for those who already have one, start striking off a few every now and then. Because I do not want you to reach your colonoscopy moment to realize that life is too short for excuses!