STORIES OF HOPE AND INSPIRATION
What was my fault? Why I have to undergo all this? I was leading a healthy normal life when at the age of 52, for the first time I came to know about my illness. These questions were on my mind, when I came to know about my illness in December 1999. It was painful, disturbing, non-ending, unexpected, sleepless; in short it was the worst nightmare of my life. It was difficult to accept that I was suffering from a silent but fast disease of Cancer.
I can’t forget the morning of 1999 – December when I discovered the tumor in my right breast. I was doubtful, so took the appointment from the doctor. Doctor confirmed me of breast cancer. Tests, mammography and treatment started. It was depressing rather disturbing in the beginning and turmoil which I was going through was unbearable. Continuous pricking and 24 sessions of radiation and 6 sittings of chemotherapy – it all happened.
My hair disappeared from my head, which used to give me spondylitis for my heavy hair (the only disease which I used to have till the age of 52). The treatment was very painful and expensive (eating up our earnings and savings). And the removal of one breast as cancer was detected at the 3rd stage. The treatment continued for five years. But there was no guarantee whether it can revisit my body. The treatment had side effects and after effects.
In March 2008, I discovered bleeding from uterus and it prolonged for one and half month. I again consulted the doctor and after her diagnosis came to know about the uterus cancer. It was another blow from the destiny. After confirmation and consultation the uterus was removed in 2008. It was an early detection and was not spreaded all over the body. Then removal of ovaries and appendicitis disturbed my daily routine. Taking 14 to 15 tablets daily, then injections and pain all over my body — literally went through turmoil. It was a silent but fast disease, which was working swiftly in my body.
Once again in 2010 I consulted doctor regarding the pain in my left breast. Mammography was done and doctor confirmed the cancer in my breast. Early detection made me less vulnerable and only surgery was done to remove the clot in my breast. This time — no chemo, no radiation – only surgery. I am living with one breast and still don’t know whether cancer can visit me again.
In 2012 stone was detected in gall bladder. And then bladder was removed. My immune system didn’t work properly. And the digestive system failed.
Presently in 2015 at the age of 66, doctor is apprehended about a spot in breast again. MRI has to be done. And then procedure will start again.
In this painful journey what I would like to share with you all – that while going through all this turmoil—my doctor, my husband, my kids, my friends, my relatives—all stood by me to face this. I have learnt to stare at atrocities in the face, to pluck up courage and optimism in bad times. They gave me strength to face the hard core realities of life and about this disease. There was faith, hope and trust for my God and doctor which led me to fight this battle with a smile. I am surviving with two kids and a husband who supported me in every thick and thin of my life. I am living with a hope that one day I will be disease free and will lead a healthy, normal life once again. Earlier it was very difficult for me to accept this but slowly, gradually I have accepted the reality. It’s a non-ending battle of my life. Basically, early detection, awareness and positive attitude matters a lot. I am able to survive just because I got the support and co-operation from everybody around me.
As a human being I was not ready to face all this when it came to me. “My first bout with cancer was in early 2013 when I felt ulcers on my tongue. I made it through treatment successfully, finished up in October 2013, and was very relieved to have that chapter of my life behind me.”
I am Babita Bhadana from Nangla village – Faridabad, 33 yrs old now, working with an Aangan wadi as helper, surviving with three kids and husband. It all started with some painful blisters on my tongue. I felt pain in my tongue and was not able to digest or swallow anything. Color of my tongue was changed to light pink and then I consulted an ENT specialist in Faridabad only. And then he prescribed me some medicines; those medicines did not suit me and I got swelling all our body. And then doctor got suspicious, even at the initial test he knew something was wrong. He recommended me some tests.
I was just 31 yrs when cancer attacked our lives and was not ready to take the blow. The tests were to be done at AIIMS. When they did the biopsy on my tongue, it was like a living nightmare. Doctor did not give anesthesia and took the sample of that ulcer.
I was diagnosed to have IV stage oral cancer. It was totally beyond my expectation and control. No one can ever understand what I was going through. Cancer entered into our lives.
I wanted to ask the God why me after all? And then I accepted the harsh reality that now I have to deal with this disease. The treatment was very costly and painful; so my parents and my brother took the initiative and helped me a lot – mentally, physically and financially. Then we decided to go to FORTIS – Gurgaon. Here, I got the treatment with patience, care and affection. For six months, I have been treated and now got cured.
I have gone through sessions of chemotherapy and radiation. As the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy treatment, I have lost taste buds and don’t feel any taste for anything. Doctor says that taste buds will develop gradually.
Now I have been cured and on medicines only, have to visit doctor once in three months for follow up treatment. As per doctor, the cancer can come again. Extra precautions have to be taken regarding oral hygiene and nutritional diet should be taken. And it is very clear that this cancer will not travel to the next generation. I am quite hopeful that cancer will not occur again as I will take the nutritional diet and look after the oral hygiene of my mouth.
Today, both the survivors feel great, as they have crossed this tormentous stage. And now they can bravely say that “We are the cancer survivors with a difference as we took this disease in a positive manner. In the starting we were doubtful that we would be able to survive or not but with the passage of time and with due medication, hope and care; we have surpassed this ordeal. Our families have kept us strong, especially during the treatment. All we want to say that faith helped us to get through, and we are thankful to feel as healthy as we did before the treatment.”
Case Study 1:
When 73 yr old cancer patient found out he had liver cancer, moderate drinker accepted it as his bad luck and took it as a challenge. Being a retired army official (Major) little did he know the other serious health issues that lay ahead, which would create serious new challenges for him over the next few months.
Initially, when doctor diagnosed him with liver cancer having 15-16 cm tumour – they learned that he might have only three months as the cancer was in III stage and his wife learned she’d be stepping into the challenging role of cancer caregiver. Although, the road since then was not easy. She was able to take care of him and handle the rigors of daily life. Everything was going normal till one day when he started losing his weight suddenly – loss of appetite, loss of strength – gave them the reason to get him admitted to the hospital. He, who had been primarily independent, suddenly needed a walker. It was really hard because all of a sudden, he could not walk. She had to provide a whole new kind of care giving; one that included helping him with his physical mobility. This level of care was far more challenging than anything she had faced before. She closed her boutique in order to care for him full time, but struggled with the effort of keeping up with his needs.
As a Major he was strong willed, non-complaining, well disciplined and jolly person – who lived and enjoyed his life till his last breath. He was full of life. He was never depressed or sad through out his illness. He prolonged his life with two more years. Only last three months, he suffered and complained of pain in shoulders, got extremely weak and used walker to walk.
Lack of sleep, weakness and pain in shoulders and in feet were the effects of this illness. He was the epitome of bravery and patience. He stayed for 3 days in the hospital in the last days of his life. Chemo was not prescribed to him.
Case Study 2:
Another one is the case of a 57 yr old female who is still going under the treatment for cancer above cervix. Allopathic and ayurvedic – both treatments simultaneously are going on.
This is the miraculous case of Mrs. Amarjeet Kaur, which was diagnosed on 15th dec., 2015, as on III stage and she has survived because she took allopathic as well as ayurvedic medicines. She was advised to take chemo sessions and lost her hair as the side effects of it. She lost her taste buds also but regained it very quickly as she started taking her ayurvedic treatment. She was advised to not to take chemo sessions as her health was improving due to ayurvedic treatment.
In the starting when she was going through the uneasiness, irregular heartbeat, dizziness – she had never expected that cancer will become an uninvited guest in her body. Awareness and promptness led them to consult a gynaecologist at the earliest and tests gave the result in the early detection of cancer. Cancer is rarely detected at I or II stage and when it is detected it is too late to be cured.
It was a painful journey in which her energy was lost but she kept her enthusiasm alive and fought bravely. She defeated cancer with her zeal and victorious attitude which led her to the win over battle of death. Her support system – her daughters-in-law and sons – were always there when she needed them and took good care of her.
Actually, while going through these case studies, I have concluded one thing that mainly cancer is diagnosed at III or IV stage only. At this stage, generally doctors tell patients that they have limited period of time. If they pay attention towards the symptoms and take prior treatment for that, it can be cured. Early detection of cancer greatly increases the chances for successful treatment. There are two major components of early detection of cancer – education to promote early diagnosis and screening.
Recognizing possible warning signs of cancer and taking prompt action leads to early diagnosis. Increased awareness of possible warning signs of cancer, among physicians, nurses and other health care providers as well as among the general public, can have a great impact on the disease. Some early signs of cancer include lumps, sores that fail to heal, abnormal bleeding, persistent indigestion, and chronic hoarseness. Early diagnosis is particularly relevant for cancers of the breast, cervix, mouth, larynx, colon, rectum and skin.