The story of Forever Blue Star Sneha in her own words
"I LEARNT NOT TO GIVE UP!
I am Sneha and am 18 yrs old. I wanted to become an Air Force Pilot; there was never a doubt about this. This was a dream I harbored during the last two years in high school, or rather this was the plan. But as is the case with all such stories, my certainty evaporated when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, STAGE IIB.
The following year I underwent a series of chemotherapies. First ABVD, then MINE, then RICE protocol. But the improvement wasn’t much; I remained mostly at home due to fear of infections. I lost my hair and became weak but I learnt never to be sad and during all this I realized the storehouse of will power my father is. I knew with him as my anchor I would get through. Then there came a point in my treatment when chemotherapies became less effective, and after many consultations it was decided that a Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplant was the best course of action. When I first heard those words from my doctor I was scared. More than the treatment it was the period of hospitalization that terrified me. So I did what seemed very logical at the moment, I enjoyed as much as I could before getting admitted. I indulged in the tastiest of food, saw the latest movies with my friends, and did a tad of everything I would be deprived of during my forced medical “sabbatical”. Finally when the big day arrived, I was prepared with a DVD player, music and books.
I was going to undergo BEAM protocol. When I first saw the BMT unit I was awed, all the nurses were wearing masks and dressed in pink gowns. I had to open five glass doors before entering the room. It was shinning, not a single dust particle could enter the room, with just one window in my room the world outside seemed subliminal. I thought about this blue and white room, my home for the next one month. Day one and two passed smoothly, I was hydrated and given BCNU on these days. Day three onwards I was given AraC and Etopside. The medicines did not cause as much pain as the memories of home. On day 6 I was given Malphalan, I was slowly losing my appetite even though the food was good. The day for the transplant to begin was here. There was movement all around me; nurses were arranging emergency medicines and injections. My father who always had to dress in a blue gown told me to close my eyes. Finally about six doctors came into my room carrying a small packet that was to give me a new life, a small packet that had my stem cells - 'the seeds that were going to grow into a plant'. The process went on hassle free and my doctor told me that I was his best transplant patient. I thought it is was all over, I wondered if this was a stem cell transplant, then why is so much fuss made over it.
What I did not know was that which lay ahead of me. After two days my throat lining started disintegrating, I had ulcers on my tongue and neck and cramps in my stomach. Saliva and froth kept coming in my mouth which was very difficult to swallow because of the pain. I needed lots of platelets donations in between as well. I would vomit even if I was given some syrup, and my skin's shade changed and finally they started feeding me through a catheter' tube. I started having fevers and was constantly restless. I slept 20 hrs a day which was good considering that pain and memories of my sweet home won't bother me. All this was temporary and soon I started feeling better. I still remember when the doctor allowed me to have Coke and ice-cream one day; it just took me 2 seconds to gulp it down and I felt so satisfied. The biggest problem is that when you start feeling better you miss home and your friends. I started missing them so much that I would cry every day and my nurse told me that the more I cry the more my white blood cells counts would go down and my well wishers told me to meditate. The best part is that speaking to your body works, my white blood cells started rising and I started spending my time watching the latest movies. I didn't cry once after that and soon after a period of 40 days I was discharged. I was so happy after this that I called each and every friend of mine and screamed 'I am coming back!!’.I was so happy to see my family and my cute dog.
What I really want to say is believe in yourself, believe in your body and everything will be fine. With will power anyone can overcome the biggest difficulties in life. My lovely parents, friends and doctors were always there for me. I am still not fully cured and may receive radiation but I am happy and living my life. It’s always not about making plans in life; it’s about getting to know life.
-Sneha Sharma 18 yrs"
Sneha will forever be with us as she created the first Blue Star Connection logo to show her gratitude for our help.