Friday, 6 December 2013

Sunny days !

I have recovered 90% in my physical and emotional strength .Although my husband developed some health problem which keeps me busy whole day . He still requires baby like attention .

We went for our checkup to Delhi .I got my port removed with a thought that  I will not require it in the future for any chemotherapy.Mentally I have  prepared  my self that in the  future no other any of my body part will ever get affected.

My oncologist has called me now after three month during that time some tests like mammography ultrasound  ,bone screening will take place.I am asked to continue medicines and he added pregbolin tablet for the numbness I feel in my feet.

I have developed my taste buds.I have started attending patients and now stay for  six hours in my department .I do not feel tired. I feel proud when my new patient can not make out my suffering rather I  have started looking smarter then earlier.I enjoy house hold work I take interest in gardening. Along with my gardener we are planting winter flowers saplings.

It is beautiful to be sitting in the garden. Days are very sunny. It is heaven to be in Dehradun . These days marigold and chamelia flower is in full bloom.

 I always used to chant my gurujees song ,"oh life is sweet and death a dream when thy song flows through me '.Now I under stand how true it is.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Happy Days are here again!!

Its been two months  since my radiation.Life has some normalcy.I have recovered my stamina. I went on excursions with my kids,  random shopping, routine of  office,maintenance of the house  and looking forward to the festive season of Diwali.

My kids love my new look. My youngest one has been contemplating to get a hair do like mine.The wig was discarded soon . My irradiated area has healed. I have adapted to a healthy lifestyle.I like to do my normal household chores, Play with my dogs( Dharma and Laddu)  and Dharma loves to play ball with me.My daughter drives  me around the city and we have occasional treats. I drive to the office myself.My husband is recovering as well and is a helpful hand.He needs a lot of care and pampering from us.Men will be men.

My tongue still feels bland.Nails color has improved but they have become brittle.In the evening my daughter and I exercise. It helps me to relieve my body aches. Food is essential; for the sustenance of the physical body.It also influences one's mind.A pure diet produces a pure mind.If you feed on right food, you can become virtuous and efficient.

I have affirmed to do everything that it takes to live a happy and a healthy life. I would never want my family to suffer again on our health grounds. Its your life and you have to take charge and responsibility of it.

God bless you all.Keep healthy and happy.

My new look.

                                                            Just before leaving for work.

                                           Family time..missing my elder daughter...

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Thank you all.

The month of August 2013 was very important. I was to finish the last leg of the treatment.My youngest daughter helped her mum dad all alone,daily hospital routine and regular  home care.She helped us in our journey..August 3 was my eldest daughter's b'day and the 17th August my son's. They celebrated their birthdays in Australia and sent us cakes to cherish their celebrations here in India. We had great fun and frolic. 

Each day of radiation was accountable.I counted my days to finish with radiation.After the 20th cycle, I was given electron therapy without the cast for 3 consecutive days. That gradually burnt my chest, axilla and neck area.The radiation oncologist examined me everyday. He advised some anti inflammatory medicines.My doctors team right from the surgeons to the medical and radiation oncologists were very kind and caring .The staff and  nurses were very considerate .Doctors therapeutic approach helped me to tolerate the radiation.

At last, I reached the last cycle day succcessfully .I was thrilled with the idea of going back to Dun with my family. Recovery would be gradual but the sense of normalcy dawned on me.

 I was referred back to the medical oncologist.I underwent a DEXA scana and few blood tests.Accordingly, he prescribed me hormone therapy for the next five years. 

The hormone therapy medicines are also very costly.I wondered why we have to shell so much money for illnesses and why not for some good cause.I could have helped someone needy .This expense pinched me, but I realized, whatever God is doing,it is for my betterment..This was probably a result of some karma of my past birth.In this birth I am sure I haven't done any wrong to anyone knowingly or unknowingly. Within my means I have helped needy people.I aim to live pure and die pious.So God, is banishing my bad old karmas. Now I am more purified mentally and physically.This will help me in self realization goal of life.

We write our own destiny and we become what we do.During my journey, I thanked the Almighty for giving me and my family the strength to bear it

I thank all my family,relatives,friends,neighbors and all those who prayed for our quick recovery.My heartfelt thanks to the doctors and staff of Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital;.They all are beautiful souls.My gratitude to Mahaavtar babji and Paramhansa Yoganandaji who were with me all through this journey.

Monday, 26 August 2013


Within a week  of my radiation, my right hand and fingers swelled up. It was due to the lymph nodes removal of the right axilla. I also had immense pressure at the center of my chest, same as I felt after my operation, probably again due to seroma collection.My doctor re enforced the need of exercise and prescribed me medicines for a week.In addition to this, the acid re flux was playing up.I had dry cough and irritation in the throat. Antacid curbed that effect to great extent.General body pain and bone pain was constant.I had restless nights.I felt terrible but was determined to overcome

My feet had given up and I did not have enough stamina to walk. I had to do something about this. My daughter would bring me my morning cup of tea and turn on the television for me. I would watch Yoga program and do simple exercises on the bed.This improved my body circulation.
As for my appetite, I found little sweet to be extreme.Everything tasted metallic.I tried to eat all 3 meals .I maintained hydration.. lemonade and buttermilk were refreshing.

After 2 weeks , doctor added L- glut amine powder to my list. It is supposed to improve immunity.

Physically, I felt very weak but mentally I was strong. I meditated three times a day for one hour each.Meditation elevated my mood and gave me tolerance to bear the torturous effects of radiation.My two children who are in Australia called me daily.My youngest daughter was always by my side.She took me to the hospital daily and at home cared for me like a child.I prayed to the Almighty to make me alright soon so that I could pamper my children again.Today if we are here it is because of the great care and love of my children and my husband's sister's family.Everyone in the family too utmost care of us.A very happy family environment kept our morale high.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Love and Care

Help others with your smile.
Beside medical treatment there was a great role of nutritional and emotional care. House no. 313, Paschim Vihar ,Delhi ,  where we were putting up during our span of treatment at my husband’s sister and her family, took great care of us and my children. I pay my gratitude to her, her husband, her cute daughter and of course everyone in their joint family. Words cannot describe the love and continuous support we received from them.
Their house had harmonious vibrations. None can carry on without mutual help. God made my husband’s sister and family to help us as best as they can.

Radiation day arrived on the 15th July. Few blood tests and Ultrasound were done. The Medical oncologists approved my reports and referred me to Radiation Oncologist. The Radiation Oncologist, explained to me all about my treatment plan. It was decided to give me 28 radiations, IGRT Image-guided radiation therapy, daily except for weekends.
This time, after my 6th chemo I had not recovered my physical stamina. I could hardly walk or exercise. My Right hand had swollen up and was tender, my feet and toes felt numb. I had restless nights. Gentle circulatory movements and massage would provide some relief.
On my first visit to the Radiation oncologist a cast was prepared to protect the other organs. Hospitalization was not required. My daughter accompanied me daily to the hospital. We left at 8:30 In the morning. The doctor and his team was extremely courteous ad supportive. During this course of radiation my hand swelling increased. I had pain in my fore arm and upper arm. My bone pain increased in hip joint and both lower legs .I tried walking but my feet were numb. Pain killers didn’t help much but aggravated GERD problem. My daughter made me exercise three times a day and maneuvered lymphatic drainage.

My husband’s sister took utmost care of us. She would specially prepare non spicy meals for us. Her husband ensured that the pantry was always full . Their beautiful daughter never irked about us taking over her room. We are indebted to them for their love , support and care in all times. May God bless them with all the happiness of the world.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Where there's a will,there's a way.

 Whoever wants to develop will power must have good company.You must associate  with those with great will power and concentrate upon your thoughts.

Life is very tricky and we must deal with it. Meditation helps to focus your thoughts and make contact with Him. Tell him your problem, your desires, your ambitions. Promise him that you are willing  to work towards your goal.Seek His guidance.He will give you the right thought and make you do the right thing.

Being practical and earnest in your prayers enforces on our will power.Prayers are magical.Pray with full concentration, with all your heart and soul and it will manifest .Behind your will power is Divine will that can never fail.We have within  us the power to accomplish everything we want.

Sri Sri Parmahansayogananda says,'if your determination is so strong, even if something does not exist  in this universe some unknown forces come and create those conditions for you.'

Monday, 1 July 2013

Mind over Matter...

We may not have control over life and death but can develop large physical power and immense psychic power which can help overcome your disease.
God takes us by hand and He walks with us; He talks to us ; and He tells us that we are His own.

My 6th chemo cycle arrived on 24th June. I had mixed feelings- that of relief that this was going to be my last chemo and that of fear of the torture that I would have to endure during the cycle.
I mentally prepared myself to win the battle and gear up for the 28 days of radiation that lay ahead.
I was happy that till now I had won each round that comprised of chemotherapy induction followed by injections to stimulate stem cells, antibiotics and multivitamins. This would the lead to 10 days of rest at home following which I would join my office so that my leaves may continue to accumulate that I could the use in the future in time of need. Equally important for me was to ensure that I continued to draw salary that would come in handy during my radiation.

I am now waiting for two weeks to pass by from when my chemo finished as I would then be allows to resume eating raw fruits and vegetables that I thoroughly missed during my illness.
During my sixth chemo cycle, my Hemoglobin and blood platelets reduced again. I have taken it upon myself to bring back by Hb and Platelet count to normal before my radiation starts by forcing myself to eat. I have to dig deep inside to find the strength to ingest food when every inch of my body resists the sight and smell of food.
Before my discharge from the hospital, the senior radiologist explained the radiation cycles and its procedure so that I could visualize before hand how I was going to spend the five weeks scheduled for the therapy. A chest cast was made that I would be using during radiation. This cast would protect my other healthy organs from the strong radio waves. My therapist forewarned me that my immune will be at an all time low during radio therapy and hence I would have to take special care of hygiene and cleanliness.
When you yearn for God, He will come to you. He is the nearest of the near….Dearest of the dear. 

Just like the previous chemo cycle, this time too  my husband and I were put in the same hospital suite along with our two children.
 All that time,I  prayed to the Almighty through my Guruji to reduce the suffering of my husband. His children have been with him for the past six months and have shared the suffering with us, emotionally, physically and professionally. I wish my husband shared my appreciation for meditation and self prayer.
Herbert Benson, Md Havard Medical School in 1987 said “ Through meditation you can set the stage for important mind and habit altering brain change. Scientific research has shown that electrical activity between the left and right side of the brain becomes cooridinated during certain kinds of meditation and prayer. Through these processes the mind definitely becomes more capable of being altered and having its capacities maximized. Changed life and changed actions follow. The implications are exciting…even staggering.
These entire six months, I continued to pray for my husband’s recovery .Mental strength is of paramount importance as a method of self healing because mind is the governor of all living cells in our bodies. The mind and body are wonderfully related. Many people can be healed by mere suggestion. Will power and energy are important. They are the real creators of the body. They rouse energy which is cause of healing. When we continue to practice visualize of healing, you may find that your thoughts start to materialise.
I am looking forward to going back to Dehradun. I love my Doon, its beauty during rains, the climate and its people who still retain the small town innocence.

Now I will prepare myself for the radiation cycle in two weeks time.

Monday, 17 June 2013

How it all started.

 In October 2012, I underwent hysterectomy operation.I was on medical leave and recovering at home.As all my life I have been a busy working mom, I could never enjoy sitting in my lovely garden in the mornings. I also missed out having breakfasts with my family. This was the time I got to stay at home the longest. During my recovery phase , only my husband was with me. My children were all abroad.

I started to have breakfast with my husband. While on the table, I noticed my husband  choked  on his food suddenly. He quickly gulped water and started to eat again.It is a sad story that out different work timings didn't allow us to have meals together mostly. My helper who would cook food and serve him reported that my husband was facing this problem since 3-4 months. 

It was 1st January 2013. I cajoled my husband to visit a gastroenterologist. He was reluctant first , he didn't want to start his New Year visiting a Doctor. Well, we finally agreed and he underwent an endoscopy after a clinical examination. His reports indicated Carcinoma Esophagus.

Back home, I skyped my children. It was a very difficult moment for me to tell them about their father's health. We all cried but promised to keep a brave front for Dad. We knew we have to face this situation bravely and also act promptly, no time had to be wasted.

We were all by ourselves in India at that time.We started to explore good Cancer Hospitals.We have relatives in New Delhi and found out Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital and Research Centre.. It was solely dedicated to treatment of Cancer patients.We were lucky to get an appointment.

The hard fact of life is everything comes with a price. Cancer not only attacks your immune system but it also gives you a huge financial bolt. We prepared ourselves mentally and financially as well. Its the point of our lives that we greatly  realized a penny saved is a penny earned. Cancer treatment involves a lot of money.

We reached the hospital. and met the Doctors.They carried out few other  investigations. The hospital staff right from the Junior most to the Senior most were  extremely helpful and kind.I could see God helping me  in  the form of human being .My husband's date of surgery was finalized. My son landed in India and reached straight to the hospital. By that time, my husband was already in the Operation Theater. It was about an 8-10 hours surgery.By God's grace his surgery was successful.

My husband was retained in the hospital for about 12 days. By that time , my youngest daughter had arrived. It was during that time we went for a screening exam. On the day of my husband's discharge, my mammography reports were announced.

Life throws many challenges at you, mostly at the most unexpected times. Do not fear them. Face them, Pursue them and Win over them, God is there, if he has given you troubles, he surely has a solution for them.

The Bhagavad Gita sums it up, 
'Whatever happened, it happened for good. 

Whatever is happening, is happening for good. 
Whatever that will happen, it will be for good. '

           Last year, July 2012, Mussoorie.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Home is where the heart is.

I grew up in Deolali and my house was surrounded with greenery . I used to play in the orchards, climbing trees and I could stay for hours enjoying nature.I have always loved nature.My moment of happiness arrived when after my second chemo we  returned home- Dehradun.

 I was  back in my house after 4-5 months in Delhi,. I was soo relieved .I thanked God for bringing me back home. I have always taken care of my garden and we have many fruit trees and  flowers .

After a long time  I would wake up to see the green view of my garden. It appeased my  body,mind and soul.

Doon has a very pleasant weather. I would stroll in my garden and when the leaves would rustle on breezy evenings , I felt they are divine messengers of God encouraging me to go on in life. Life is a priceless gift. I could feel God's presence in every plant, flower and air.
Even in these challenging times,I felt God's  presence all the time.I felt he is purifying me.If you listen to Him and follow Him, he will help you to overcome every obstacle.
I have actually never been this free .Its been a blessing in disguise. I spend more time with family and am able to spend more time in mu garden, reliving my childhood memories of Deolali once again.

As life changed so did my looks. After my second chemo I lost all my hair. It did not hurt me rather I started to look smarter.I confidently walked around in my bald look.At the hospital, there is a cancer help center and they suggested ti me I could wear a wig.Earlier I denied, but then I realized I could be running short on my Medical Leaves. I had to join back work.So I decided to wear the wig just to work.

I drove myself independently to my office. My administrative staff  is  very understanding. I sit there only for 2 hours. People welcomed me warmly. Since not many people  knew of  my ailment, they felt I was back after my hysterectomy. Many complimented me for my new hairstyle.Getting back to work gives me a sense of normalcy.I have many staff in my Department, I just sit there and do little work. Second, most importantly I save on my leaves and make my salary. Cancer treatment involves a lot of money.Do not feel helpless once diagnosed with cancer.. You are still capable and able of taking charge of your own life.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Food and Nutrition

  Today, I would like to share my experience post chemo cycles.

 As you know I resume with my cycles in every 21 days, the very first week after chemo is the one I find the most difficult to bear.I lose appetite and at times feel nausea tic. My doctor has prescribed me medications for the same but since I am also a GERD patient, its an aggravated response. I would like to share the diet  I follow, its a diet I have designed as per my body needs. You may have a similar problem , always discuss it with your doctor and dietitian and  plan accordingly.

 About an year ago, prior to my treatment, I had developed strong aversion to smell or odor . My husband couldn't spray his favorite perfume while we attended weddings . I also couldn't bear the smell of food cooking in the kitchen. I would close my kitchen door while my help would prepare meals.
I was firm to keep my hemoglobin and platelets count adequate. I did not want to miss any of chemotherapy cycles as per scheduled.. I had to take charge of my body .In spite all difficulties, I made up my mind to eat well.
Mornings Breakfast-
1 cup of milk with protein supplement as prescribed.Semolina ( Sooji) pancakes/Puffed rice/mixed vegetables prepared in salt and water only, /sprouts of green gram and chickpeas/ idlis
Plenty of water, coconut water.Soups

Boiled rice and 1 bowl of lentils , 1 bowl of green vegetable,1 glass of buttermilk

Since fruits were barred, I  boil apples and eat. Soups  again in the evening.At  times I boil banana in milk, it tatstes yummy.

Sand which/ vegetable- 1 bowl

My family ensures I eat on time. I do not find taste in food but I do not fuss. I eat to live. I would like to encourage people fighting cancer to eat. Its an important aspect of getting cured. If we co operate, it will also lessen our family's stress. If we stay positive and work towards our health, it re affirms our faith and hope. We need to create strong positive vibrations around us . Be brave and be positive.

I am aware my body is prone to infection. I avoid going to crowded places. I do not allow any visitor to meet me directly.They are  first requested to remove their shoes and wash their hands . I have even  requested my close relatives to meet me once my entire treatment is finished. Thankfully, they all have been very understanding.

Interacting with people becomes exhaustive and tiring now. They en quire about my health over the phone or through mails. I have finished with my 5th cycle but I have refrained myself  from meeting even my own sisters. I love them a lot and I know they are thoroughly concerned about my health and well being. They have been the most understanding at this time. We yearn to see each other but we have to wait.

 For now, my world is only my children and my husband.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Heal and Deal!

It took almost a month's time for my operated site to heal.The drains were off and the sutures were removed. As a common complication after MRM surgery, I had seroma accumulation at my operated site.The doctors advised me few exercises and I gradually got rid of that as well. 

While I was in the hospital for my regular OPD, I interacted with fellow breast cancer fighters/survivors. Few complained of frozen shoulder and edema in hand and arms. They had to design their blouses accordingly. I was very cautious and discussed it with my doctors. One thing I follow and would advise every patient is to be proactive. Never feel shy in discussing even the slightest query with your doctor.I understand there is a lot of information Mr. Google can shed but do not rely on it completely.I have been doing regular exercises to avoid edema and frozen shoulder.I am also a GERD patient and despite of all the discomfort I never delay my exercises. I wear a compression stocking as prescribed by the doctor.Regular walks are a part of my routine.

 My doctors discussed my treatment plan with me. They very well explained me the pros and cons of the protocol.The plan is designed to give me six cycles of chemotherapy after every 21 days.Radiation is also in the list after I finish with my sixth cycle.During the course of the therapy I am barred to have any raw food. Since chemo and radiation will also target my healthy cells, my immunity is lowered.I have o be extremely cautious of my nutrition and prevent any kind of infection as my body is now vulnerable.

 Before my first cycle I prepared my body to beat all odds. I used to stroll slowly but I would complete my goal of one hour.I maintained my diet.My family and friends have taken utmost care of my diet .They ensured I ate timely and my diet was full of juices , soups and greens.They always encouraged me and motivated me. 

We would read a chapter everyday on Positivity and Optimism.My daughters would join me and we would watch health programs.In the mornings the three of us would do breathing exercises and Pranayam. This helped them as well.It reduced our stress levels and refreshed our mind and soul. My children never expressed any stress or tension , but a mother is a mother. I ensured they are eating well and also have some recreational activity.Throughout this journey my three angels are totally devoted to us and it is their love which encourages me everyday. 

 My first chemo day arrived.I was taken in a minor operation theater, where the doctors inserted a chemoport on my chest on the left side.It was an hour's procedure performed under local anesthesia. I was to avoid sleeping on my left side. I already couldn't do on my right.I somehow manage that by placing pillows and cushions on my sides.I was scheduled to be admitted in the hospital only for two days. I was given a combination of cytotoxic drugs, Fluracil being the main drug.

 In about 2 hours my therapy was over. I felt fine. I did as my doctors had advised. I had plenty of fluids and rinsed my mouth regularly with mouthwash( to prevent mucositis). All went well until in the evening I had severe nausea and vomiting.I was kept in the hospital for further two days on i.v. medicines and fluids. I knew my GERD problem flared up due to chemo. I was scared of this experience.I had five more to go in the following months.The doctors planned to give me a strong anti emetic injection prior to my next chemo. 

Well, I was more than happy when I was discharged.I was with my family again. I had the will power to fight on. As Richard E. Grant said, 'Never give up. You only get one life. Go for it!'

Monday, 3 June 2013

Thank you all for your love.I hope my story motivates you all.Heed to your body symptoms. Act in time. You are the master of your body. Take responsibility.

 So what comes after operation? You may think complete bed rest. Partly true.My motto was to take cancer as any other disease.I was still capable .I bathed myself taking care of my sutures.My daughter insisted to measure the drainage tube fluid,I felt my little girl would have to go through unnecessary trouble u,I would hold them and measure myself.

The love for my family pushed me forward.I am determined to cure myself so I can look after my family like before. The docs advised me not to work with my right hand for a month, so what ,my left was good.I was thrilled to prepare early morning tea for my husband! I had lost my appetite, yet I forced myself to eat greens and soups.My daughter would hold my tubes and we would walk .we as a family grew closer.

 When people,neighbors come to know that so and so got diagnosed with cancer,they think its the end of the world.It is not.I behave like a normal individual, dress nicely, look after myself. I never wanted people to look at me and say oh she's a cancer patient.

 I went for my review in a week,I counseled women in the waiting area about breast examination. once you forty its important you get a mammography done.Breast cancer has a good prognosis.along with science, you can heal yourself with positive attitude.

Think you are healing and you are healed.I t is a test of God. Pray to Almighty along with medical treatment and one day you will be cancer free.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

 The cold winters of Doon never deterred my spirit to water my lush green garden and the beautiful roses,daisies and lilies adorning my sidewalk.I have always been a busy person as my children would put it, but I feel I am an active person who believes in making  the most of her time, utilize your energy and time in doing and giving the best you can.I meditate regularly, its my  biggest asset.Meditation has played a pivotal role in my life.I have three grown up children and a wonderful supportive husband.I am a Physiotherapist for the last 25 years. This is my story of Change, acceptance and will power.

 My 27 yrs old daughter and I went in for a  routine screening breast examination. A mammography followed and I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer . This was the beginning of Change. I took things in my stride and quickly went to get the rest of my investigations done.The doctor who saw my report asked me to get admitted the next day itself.The acceptance of my Cancer was prompt.I did not think much.I work only with my spiritual strength.

As I laid on my operation theater, I said, ' God, its not my body , its your body, this operation is performed on you not me'.My team of Doctors were god sent.After 2 hours, my doctor patted my cheek and said,'Lajja ,wake up'. I was suprised, I thought the operation was yet to begin, as my surgeon smiled at me and said, the procedure(  modified radical mastectomy) was successful. My entire breast ,right side was removed along with the lymph nodes. I was shifted in the ICU for one day.

The next day , I was discharged home. Two tubes running down from my right side for drainage, I came home.I thanked God for giving me the strength and support. I thanked him for strengthening the bond in  my family, for all the love , care and compassion. We are together in this battle.We are one again.