Terminal Illness and Death- Quality or Quantity, the Debate Goes On

What’s more important to You, Quality or Quantity of Life? How far do we want to go to prolong our lives? What a complex life!! Amidst the web of relationships I am entwined in, I am caught in this strange cycle of life and death. Where birth brings in joy death sure does bring sorrow.  But strangely, in my 36 odd years of existence, I have learnt that not always must death bring in sorrow. I have had situations in life when the death of my loved one has brought in an altogether different feeling. It is that unique feeling

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‘Cause Prevention is Better Than Cure

“It wouldn’t have reached this stage had a preventive health check been done, detecting it early”. The oncologist said, gazing at my father’s reports. Five years back my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer. Eventually he succumbed to the disease despite the multiple surgeries, chemo sessions and hospital rounds, which did nothing but burn a hole in his pocket. But this episode did do one thing positive! It highlighted the importance of preventive health checkups. There are two sets of people- those who run to the doctor for every sniffle, and those who simply never do. I am talking

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Survival- Get Your Mix of Positivity & Hope #AtoZChallenge

Surviving cancer should have a mix of optimism and positivity. It is found all around us; however we often fail to notice them. Just like my friend “S”. I had done an earlier blog post of her battle with cancer. So filled with optimism is her story that I had to blog about her once again. S was 34 when she noticed that first lump in her breast. A series of tests and a biopsy later, her doctor declared it to be cancerous. S was devastated. She had a beautiful family comprising of two young girls and a loving husband.

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Moving on in life- After a Cancer Treatment

You have begun your battle. Diagnosis of cancer brings with it numerous things. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, scans etc… It often proves to be a setback to many physically, emotionally and of course financially too. Though the battle is often considered an ongoing one, at the end of every treatment cycle, it is time to sit down and breathe. Give yourself a pat on your back for having endured a treatment, so harsh. Cancer treatments could be very stressful. The side effects cannot be undermined, and may linger longer in many patients. You may thus get a sense of relief when

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Should I continue the Fight? A Cancer Story

He was not our friend. Nor was he a relative. Not even a neighbor, yet he was our solace during our worst of days. This is “his” story- of Mr. Rao (name changed on request). As we walked in to the hostile looking Oncology ward in Manipal hospital for the first time, little did we know what was actually in store. Of course we had read up on the “not so nice” side effects of chemotherapy. But we still had not seen the real picture. The first bed that greeted us in the narrow ward, had a lean man, probably

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Death Bed Visions

“He lay on his death bed, mumbling and moaning. I noticed his eyes- they were transfixed at the room door. Did I catch a movement of his pupils? Well, probably once or twice in a span of an hour.” Just a month back, I had met father’s oncologist. “The cancer is terminal”, she had said. I asked with a grim face, “So how long more?” A tough question for any doctor to answer. But she answered, diplomatically, “Unlikely months may be weeks.”  I had got the message. Father wasn’t really going to make it through.  And his first sign of

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Quit it- Before He Gets You

“All names have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals” I saw Krishna and his bandaged mouth, at the medical ward of the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in Delhi. Thin intravenous tubes were connected to his hand and another pipe was at his mouth. His dutiful wife, Sangeetha sat by his side. She had been my domestic help for the past 4 years. And, the bond between us had grown beyond a mere employer- employee relationship, sharing daily tidbit of each others lives. With three little kids to feed and educate, Krishna worked as a rickshaw puller on

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He lived a good life, right?

Inspired by NDTV and Fortis Health4UCancerthon, this Sunday, Richard and I decided to do our bit for those, who have in some way or the other been affected by the disease- either as a patient or as a caregiver. Being a very informal thing, we stuck to those we know and would be responsive to our care. During the course of the day, I paid a visit to dear Mrs. K, a 60 something lady of utmost grit and strength. After having lost her husband to colo-rectal cancer two years ago, Mrs. K recently was operated for a benign lump

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Hiding under a wig

This blog post is dedicated to “J”, a reader of my blog. Thanks for sharing your story “J”.  In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fireside Chat.” “J” all of 52 years is a successful hair stylist in Los Angeles. As a stylist with her own salon, she thought she knew everything that is to be known about styling and hair cuts. Afterall having trained in the Hair Design Institute, Manhattan, her expertise could not be doubted. But at the age of 49, “J” was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. The diagnosis, surgery and treatment, all came as a

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Stigma in Cancer Patients- Shoudnt we be concerned?

The term ” stigma” means “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person”. Well, this is what you get when you search for the meaning on google. But for a cancer patient, stigmas are much more. I was recently chatting with a cancer patient on a popular forum.He was sharing his feelings with me and I was disturbed after what I learnt from the chat. It begins from the time of diagnosis. The attitudes that prevail range from denial to a drop in self-esteem. A general feeling that other people may probably now see the patient as less

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A Change- It need not be big…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Be the Change.” A very common thought process among many on diagnosis of cancer is that it is the end. The future may often seem bleak and concerns about loved ones crop up in mind increasing the anxiety.A very normal and common phenomenon of the mind, cancer diagnosis does affect ones mind. But still… all I have to say is that.. Chin up look ahead… You are a fighter. Dad was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in March 2010. At that time he wasnt really given much time to live. The prognosis was

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Do you have a story to share?

Fighting cancer is tough. And many have been successful. For a cancer patient, every day, every moment is survival. That’s my way of looking at it. I have been reading up a lot on this, catching up with survivors who have had a new lease of life after the harsh treatments undergone. I realised, such stories of survivors serve as a great inspiration for many. Cancer can weigh one down both mentally and physically. Many a times it could severely depress the patient as well as the immediate care giver. I am looking out for anyone who has a story –

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The year that was 2014

With the close of the year 2014, I sit with a mixed bag of feelings. 2014 is a year that will remain in my mind for years to come. A year I feel changes -positive ones. Yes and I feel it from within. A growth of positive thoughts, a growth of better understanding, and a growth of a sense of calmness. I have always been a person filled with anxieties, fears and insecurities. You could blame it on multiple factors. The environment I grew up in, upbringing and influences of school. It did get better after I got married though.

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Does your report say " Lesion" or " Tumor"?

Cancer patients often here medical practitioners, radiologists and doctors, use terms such as Lesions and tumors. Sometimes they are used interchangeably. However they are not the same and have different medical implications. Lets understand the terms so that a diagnosis and its implications are clear to patients. A “Lesion” is an abnormal change in a tissue or organ of any kind. It could be due to an injury, disease, an inflammation almost any abnormal change involving any tissue or organ due to disease or injury. So typically it is any abnormality. They range from purely harmless ones to some serious ones.

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A Cancer Patient's Caregiver – A support, a pillar and a strong fighter

When we hear of cancer diagnosis, the first thing that comes to almost all minds is the patient going through cycles of chemotherapy, battling out and getting tired. But have we every stopped and thought for a while, what a cancer diagnosis means to the care giver of the patient? A cancer patients immediate caregiver, goes through as much trauma, strain-both physically as well as mentally, anxiety, sadness etc… The caregiver is the biggest pillar of support to help a cancer patient in his fight against the disease. Dad’s diagnosis of colorectal cancer way back in March 2010, came as a

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The Genetics of Cancer- Is There a Test?

When Dad was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, a thought that came to my mind was if cancer was genetic. Is it possible that it lies in my family? I tried tracing back to up to 3-4 generations on how they passed away, yet could come to no definitive conclusion. The Onco at Manipal hospital clarified to me that it is possible to inherit certain kind of cancer such as breast , ovarian cervical and probably colorectal cancer. But – cancer as such is not a heridity disease. A stronger player is lifestyle and the environment we live in which is

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CEA- The KIller Count

CEA is the tumor marker used in certain types of cancers especially for colo rectal cancer. An abbreviation for ” Carcino Embryonic Anigen, it is nothing but a reflection of a “certain antigen produced by these cancers”. So typically if you have a raised CEA, it is generally synonymous with a cancer thriving inside you. Getting CEA measured A very simple procedure, CEA is measured by doing a blood test. Of course it could also be done by testing body fluids or  biopsy tissue. But the most common method prescribed is a blood test. you wouldn’t need to really prepare your

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From Diagnosis until Death- The Toughest Journey till date

Dad was diagnosed with colorectal cancer on the 1st of March 2010. He passed away on 17th October 2014. His 4yrs and 7month fight against cancer has been tough not only on him, but on each and every one of us. Mom- the pillar of support, towards the end, started to lose her cool too. On days she used to feel low, “L” and me kept pusing her spritis up telling her that we’ll fight it out. We wont let dad giveup. But she just had this one thought- Is he living with cancer or, is he dying with cancer?

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