Designing cakes to rebuild life

Diabetes wrecked the health and finances of Dr K S Sunoj, forcing his wife Anjana to turn entrepreneur.

A year ago, life was full of hope and happiness for the family — Dr. K.S. Sunoj, a thriving plastic surgeon, his wife V. Anjana who was preparing her PhD thesis in botany and their three school-going children. Most unexpectedly, tragedy struck in the form of diabetes to which Sunoj’s heart and kidneys gave way. Now, undergoing tri-weekly dialysis and awaiting kidney transplantation, Dr Sunoj has become one among those hapless patients waiting for benevolent donors. Treatment has been a drain not just emotionally but financially too, forcing Anjana to turn entrepreneur not just out of any passion but for mere survival.

She now bakes cakes, after a crash course in baking. Determination was always there in her blood. Daughter of IPS official late G. Krishnamoorthy and late Dr. B. Vijayavally, Dean, Kerala University Faculty of Science, Anjana was keen to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Active in student politics, she was her college union chairperson and after completing MSc, she enrolled for PhD in University of Kerala. After her marriage to Dr Sunoj in 1999, their life became busy with his medical stint in Nepal, Sharjah, Saudi Arabia and the Maldives and along came the children — Gokul, a ninth grader in Loyola School, and twins Gautham and Gauri who are in fifth grade at St Thomas Residential School. With the children growing up, Anjana was keen to complete her thesis when their life turned upside down.


Anjana recalls her hubby’s hectic days as a plastic surgeon who was on a mad rush to make their life happy and comfortable. Dr Sunoj adds, “When diabetes was detected, I was in denial. I felt that I was the last person to be diabetic.” Whenever he was offered sweet tea by friends and family members, he would quip, “Hey, no! I don’t have diabetes”. He had no idea what was lurking behind. A tad disappointed, Sunoj says that he now has got used to injecting insulin in front of people. Speaking from his experience, Dr. Sunoj says, “Getting proper treatment for diabetes during the first five years is very important. Or else, the game is lost.”

An alumnus of Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, Dr Sunoj vouches that if treatment is taken at the beginning stage, complications will develop only after 20-25 years. An advice that he himself did not follow to the T. But early last year, when one of his colleagues, a 27-year-old doctor, developed a stroke, panic struck him. The very next day, the couple visited a premier hospital in Kochi and started treatment. But last February, he collapsed at home on Valentine’s Day and was rushed to a hospital in Thiruvananthapuram where he was saved at the nick of time from brain death. Later, angioplasty was done and a stent had to be placed.

With mounting medical bills and no income, Sunoj became a pauper. The couple spent most of their time in hospitals. Dr Sunoj’s mother, 65-year-old P. V. Laila, remembers, “I used to be proud that Sunoj never had fever or other illnesses as a child, but now he is undergoing dialysis every alternate day.” It was Dr Sunoj himself who coaxed his wife to start a baking business on the lines of her best friend Divya Sreeji, who had a flourishing designer cake business in Noida. She underwent two weeks training there and started baking at their home at Sasthamangalam. Soon, they went into business with the cake shop Cake Bliss.

The academic had become entrepreneur! Giving it her all, she now churns out designer cakes. “I am hugely indebted to Divya who taught me from scratch. If not for her, I do not know what we would have done for a living,” Anjana recalls. She juggles between her business and hospital and having completed all the paper work for transplantation, the couple is awaiting a donor so that they can go for the transplant at a private hospital in Kochi.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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