Wife releases book written by ‘tremendously empathetic’ husband, a year on from his sad death
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A Northampton woman has released a book written by her “tremendously empathetic” husband, to tell his story a year on from his sad death.
‘Second Time Around’ was written by Dr Rajeev Banhatti, who sadly passed away last October aged 62.
The book has been published posthumously by Seema Banhatti, Rajeev’s wife, and it follows the journey of his illness and undergoing a heart transplant.
Rajeev, who lived in Northampton and worked as a consultant child psychiatrist in Kettering, was diagnosed with a rare type of cardiomyopathy in 2011 – and had a successful heart transplant in 2014 after a long wait.
Following the surgery, Rajeev had another eight years with his family and was dedicated to continuing to help others through his career.
Rajeev’s journey was unlike others and he had four episodes of rejections in the first year following his transplant, which made for a challenging time.
Seema said: “In spite of all the ups and downs he was always there for his family, friends and the people who needed him until his last days, always with a smile on his face.”
Rajeev wrote his book to help others who may be going through the same journey, encouraging them to open their hearts to hope.
The book launched last Sunday (October 29) and tells the story of Rajeev’s career helping others, living with a steadily deteriorating heart condition, and his long wait for life-saving transplant surgery.
‘Second Time Around’ recalls how Rajeev coped with the emotional rollercoaster of living with a life-threatening condition, and his gratitude for a second chance at life.
Rajeev and Seema had been married for 36 years and they were first introduced to one another by Seema’s grandmother.
“He was really gentle, genuine and had tremendous empathy,” said Seema. “He had a really positive regard for people and wanted to be there for everybody.
“Since he passed, I’ve been told people felt as though he really listened to them. He was everything to me, he was my soulmate.”
The journey was not easy for Rajeev, particularly due to the adverse side effects of the heart transplant in the first year – and the little information the family had on whether this was typical as a result of the surgery.
“We assumed everyone went through the same thing as he did,” said Seema. “But he was one of the five percent who went through the first year with those adversities.
“I’m so proud of my husband. The way he held himself through all that without breaking down gave me strength.
“That’s why he decided to write his book, so that others can open their heart to hope too. There are downs but it’s all worthwhile.”
Rajeev decided to retire before his transplant as he believed he would not be able to physically cope, but he “got another chance to do what he loved”.
Even during the pandemic, Rajeev was able to provide his services as a consultant child psychiatrist. Seema says it was “gratifying” that he helped children who had been waiting to be seen for so long.
Seema said: “He didn’t let anything phase him and took each day as it came. I think about all the positive memories, as he left me with so many.”
It was four days after his daughter’s wedding that Rajeev received his new heart, and the book expresses gratitude to the NHS.
“We’re so blessed to have our wonderful NHS and wanted to thank the donor,” said Seema. “Because of the kindness and support the specialist hospital gave, we didn’t feel lonely.”
It was because of his treatment that Rajeev lived until he was 62, rather than a decade earlier.
Seema said: “I wasn’t ready for him to go at 52. I would have been completely lost without him.”
‘Second Time Around’ is now available to purchase on Amazon worldwide, as an e-book or paperback copy.