A capable, clever, competent, resourceful, multi-tasking woman who manages her home and full-time job superbly: these are the words that come to mind while trying to define a supermom, or ‘Super Ma’.
I started thinking about this because we came across a mother who was, according to us, an example of one. In fact, the adjectives don’t even begin to explain how inspiring her struggle has been to many.
I’m talking about Mrs Archana Yadav, a mother of two beautiful girls, one of whom is Manvi (Mannu), our patient.
Cheerful little five-year-old Mannu has come all the way from Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, to undergo treatment for blood cancer. Her father is a security guard and Mrs Yadav, a homemaker.
This girl, who loves to play with her sister, attend school and watch CID, developed a high fever at the end of 2016 – just before her exams! A local doctor prescribed treatment, and she managed to give her exams. But then, she fell sick again.
After several blood tests, which produced abnormal results, she was referred to a private hospital in Nagpur where she underwent blood transfusions; her fever finally subsided, and she was able to go home after a week. But two weeks later, Mannu was back in hospital again with a high-grade fever. She was poked and prodded, which is obvious to scare anyone of her age. Even more so because she accidentally had a bit of water before a bone marrow biopsy, which had to be removed by Ryle’s tube aspiration – a frightening and painful experience for her.
The results obtained after were even scarier; she was diagnosed with Blood Cancer (Pre B-ALL). The hospital immediately started Mannu on a course of chemotherapy without explaining the disease, course of treatment and financial requirements to her family. The parents wanted to transfer their daughter to TATA Memorial Hospital in Mumbai for treatment, but the doctor was unwilling to make the referral. Even so, Mr and Mrs Yadav decided to discharge against medical advice, and brought Mannu home for three months, while they gathered whatever resources they could before leaving for Mumbai.
In Mumbai, they were finally referred to Wadia Hospital, where, as part of the treatment plan, they met with a Cuddles Dietician for counselling and guidance. The Yadavs came with a lot of dietary myths, but, with repeated counselling sessions, Mannu’s nutritional status began to show improvement. Eventually, her husband had to return home, leaving Mrs Yadav and Mannu in Mumbai alone. Yet, she stayed determined, inspired by the sight of other children who completed their treatment and went home healthy. She took up a job cooking in a Gurudwara, and, when Mannu began missing home food and eating less, she began cooking for her too, with the help of the Cuddles monthly Ration Program.
Mannu began enjoying her meals again, dining on a variety of dishes made by her enthusiastic mother, some which were suggested by the nutritionists. She embraced all the dietary advice we offered, and always asked for help and cleared her doubts when she had any.
It’s this positive attitude, this determination to get her child treated and healthy enough to return home, that leaves us thinking of Mrs Yadav as a true Super Ma.
We pray that Mannu completes her treatment soon, so that she can go back home and dig into her favourite gulab jamuns, authentic green chana sabji, and hit the playgrounds once again with her sister and friends.
With inputs from Cuddles Nutritionists Nikita Patel, Srushti Parikh and Nandita Dhanaki.