Swati’s Story: Scholar to Dedicated Caregiver

I have always been an ambitious individual.

I am a dancer, painter, singer, University topper, gold medallist, PhD Biology, a researcher by nature and education, digital creator, mentor, leadership enthusiast, writer, poet.

I love to travel and explore the world.

“Everything in life is an experiment. Let’s experiment, experience and express.”

– Swati Vyas

From the age of 16, I aspired to be a scientist in some fancy foreign land someday.

I always excelled academically and my dream to be a scientist kept growing bigger and bigger.

But I realised that my parents were also growing older.

As time passed by their emotional and medical needs increased.

My father suffered from hypertension & cardiac troubles.

My mother was suffering from severe knee & joint pain. She was diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis & was put on medication.

Later her breathing got adversely affected. After going to multiple doctors over the years and even going under the knife and getting a lung biopsy done – She was diagnosed with Interstitial Lung Disorder (ILD).

Her breathing problems escalated so high that she was frequently hospitalised. Even at home, we were advised supplementary oxygen therapy.

It started from few hours and became a 247 situation. Don’t worry about the long name. In the simplest way, my mother needs a 24x7 Oxygen tube in her nose so that she can support her lungs 🫁 🌬️

I was struggling to balance my regular job as an assistant professor & caregiving at home.

Gradually, I chose to reinvent myself from a carefree bird to a dedicated caregiver for my ageing parents.

But destiny had more shocks for me.

My father left us suddenly one day and the world came crashing down.

Her mother who was already on 24×7 oxygen therapy and a very fragile medical state deteriorated even faster.

I stepped up and took up my father’s role and filled his shoes by taking charge of the household and my mother along with the help of my elder brother.

I assist and help my mother 24×7 with her day-to-day activities.

But I realised this was just a surface level situation.

The real challenges were way deep like an iceberg.

The biggest one taking care of her emotional needs and wellbeing.

I choose to be her primary caregiver. I live with her in social isolation for the last 3 years (which means no one can come to our house and we cannot go out at all to create ICU like environment).😷🏥

During this journey, I realised the importance of taking care of myself holistically.

I invested physically, mentally and financially in my self-development and was able to find some balance in my life.

Over the past years, I have upgraded, upskilled and updated myself from a confused directionless person to a more loving and efficient caregiver. I continue to learn and grow each day. Not only that I found my purpose in life and entered entrepreneurship.

I am now in a place where things are not easy, but I have become more informed, confident and resilient to handle what may come my way.

I feel for the family caregivers just like me. Who were ambitious once but now life has made them give up on their dreams. In the name of selfless care and empathy, we must not give up on who we really are, because this would empty us as a person. And an empty well cannot fill others buckets with fresh thirst-quenching water!

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