Contd…. Down Memory Lane – My wife Shama’s Cancer Journey

Shama4

Today the Pious Festival of Holi is being celebrated all over India. It is a festival of Colors. My wife Shama reminisces about her indulgences in the past on this day every year.

She wants to go out and have a blast but her condition is holding her back. She wants to enjoy but the fear of dying is weighing too heavily on her mind…….. No financial help at the moment is tormenting her and pushing her into depression…. A life should not go waste because of non-availability of funds for treatment.

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Contd…. Down Memory Lane – My wife Shama’s Cancer Journey

Shama1

Everything was going along nicely till recently, she had responded very well to her follow up treatment and was still doing so. But in the month of December’ 2014 she started experiencing some pain in her Hip Joints. We consulted her doctor, he advised for a full body MRI Scan as well as a Bone Marrow Test to go to the root of this problem. The result of the MRI Scan showed that she has completely gotten rid of her Breast Cancer but the Bone Marrow Test along with concentrations found on her Hip Joints in MRI Scan concluded something which was unimaginative for us as well as our doctor and with this finding our small world of a small happy family has come crashing down……….

The finding is …… that she has been diagnosed with Metastasis of Hip Joints. This finding has startled us along with her doctor and has scared us to death, 10% because of the repeat of this deadly disease and 90% due to the extremely costly treatment (US$1600 – US$1800 PER MONTH) which has been prescribed by the doctor, who is also helpless to combat this new menace but he is pretty confident that this costly prescription shall definitely save her life if this treatment is given to her continuously for the next 24 months. This extreme cost of treatment (by my standards of earning) has pushed the entire family into extreme pain / turmoil, as I do not possess this kind of resource to take care of my wife.

To tell you the truth, when my wife was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer, it took a very heavy toll on me financially as I had nothing in the kitty to start the long treatment process of Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy, hormone treatment as well as long time oral medication. All this was made possible by useful contributions from my family, friends and bank loans. My financial condition took another nosedive when my son Aquib met with a horrendous car accident in November’ 2012, in which he almost died. I had to seek more help from my near and dear ones as well as more bank loans. Till date I am repaying these debts which will run for another 3 years atleast. My present emolument is about US$1000 per month which is barely enough to run my household as well as pay my debts for a month. My family is surviving on a mere hand to mouth basis. It is just not possible to garner more financial support from any quarters, going by my present financial rut.

Since, I just cannot raise this kind of sum on a per month basis, my wife just cannot get this treatment I am talking about which can surely save my wife’s life. Going by my financial condition, the doctor has suggested some basic prescription which costs about US$100, which is a stop gap arrangement till the time, I get some sort of support / charity from somewhere. I am able to bear this expense of US$100, at the moment and continuing with basic treatment in the hope that some day somewhere, the help would arrive to save a human life. The doctor also says that if the required treatment is not given in the near future then in that case, my wife Shama, will have about 24 – 36 months to live, in all.

You guys out there can visualize my state of mind at the moment and the dreaded feeling of losing a loved one in the next 2-3 years time. Pray for my wife and for the elusive financial help for her treatment, to arrive from somewhere.

I would continue with my Blogs / Posts on Cancer Awareness for you folks out there interspersed with my wife’s deteriorating condition till the time she is gone………

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Down Memory Lane – My wife Shama’s Cancer Journey

 Shama4

First of all let me introduce my wife, Shama Hussain, to you folks out there. She is about 50 years old, a chirpy housewife, but the fact that she is a cancer patient sometimes weighs heavily on her mind and slows her down. But she is fighter to the core and have fought bravely with this deadly disease. I got married to her in February’ 1990 and this year we celebrated our 25th Silver Jubilee marriage anniversary much to the delight of our 2 beautiful kids. Our son Aquib is about 22 years old and our daughter Arisha is about 19 years old. Both our kids are college going. My wife Shama takes care of them by staying at home. I have a job in Construction / Real Estate business.

Her cancer journey started by chance in October’ 2010. I had taken her to a lady doctor for a routine gynaecology investigation. During her check-up she matter of factly mentioned to the doctor that she has one or two small size lumps in her left breast. Immediately the doctor checked her left breast and asked us to go for a Mammography test at a reputed lab in New Delhi. She asked us to forget about the gynae test and proceed with the test. This was the beginning of all hell breaking loose for us.

We went for the Mammography but it was inconclusive. The doctor there advised us to go for an Ultrasound. Here again not much success in identification. We were further advised to undergo FNAC (Fine-needle aspiration cytology). No success here too. Ultimately, we went for the biopsy of the lump, which proved to be conclusive and her breast cancer was established. All these tests took about 6 days and on the 7th day we rushed to a Super Speciality Hospital called “Asian Institute of Medical Sciences” at Faridabad, India, adjacent to Delhi border. At the hospital we consulted Dr. Praveen Kumar Bansal, Director Oncology, Physical Oncologist.

Two imaging tests were performed immediately. One was Chest X-ray and the other one was Full Body MRI Scan. Luckily for my wife Shama, the cancer had not spread to any other parts of her body, it was confined to her left breast only. After a gap of one day, on the ninth day, Shama’s surgery was performed. Her left breast was completely removed. The further course of medical treatment was 12 sessions of Chemotherapy followed with 5 sessions of Radiotherapy. It took about 8 months to complete this course as Chemo Sessions were performed at an interval of 21 days followed with 5 straight days of Radiotherapy sessions.

These were really painful days for her as Chemotherapy medicines which are administered intravenously take a toll on human body with the patient being reduced to a cabbage for the next 4-5 days after its injection into body.

But my wife is a fighter and she fought all the way. Her only source of inspiration to continue with this life being her two young kids and me. She wanted to live for them. She never wanted to leave them. From 2010 till date she has fought with this deadly disease to be alive for her kids and for me. She has endured plenty of pain to be alive and kicking.

Everything was going along nicely till recently, she had responded very well to her follow up treatment and was still doing so. But in the month of December’ 2014 she started experiencing some pain in her Hip Joints. We consulted her doctor, he advised for a full body MRI Scan as well as a Bone Marrow Test to go to the root of this problem. The result of the MRI Scan showed that she has completely gotten rid of her Breast Cancer but the Bone Marrow Test along with concentrations found on her Hip Joints in MRI Scan concluded something which was unimaginative for us as well as our doctor and with this finding our small world of a small happy family has come crashing down……….

I shall reveal this finding in my next Blog, so be on the lookout and in the meantime pray for her to be alive……….

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CANCER – The Dreaded Word / Disease

DIAGNOSIS OF CANCER

The earlier cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the chance of its being cured. Some types of cancer — such as those of the skin, breast, mouth, testicles, prostate, and rectum — may be detected by routine self-exam or other screening measures before the symptoms become serious. Most cases of cancer are detected and diagnosed after a tumor can be felt or when other symptoms develop. In a few cases, cancer is diagnosed incidentally as a result of evaluating or treating other medical conditions.

Cancer diagnosis begins with a thorough physical exam and a complete medical history. Laboratory studies of blood, urine, and stool can detect abnormalities that may indicate cancer. When a tumor is suspected, imaging tests such as X-rays, Mammography, CT Scan, MRI Scan, Ultrasound, and fiber-optic endoscopy examinations help doctors determine the cancer’s location and size. To confirm the diagnosis of most cancers, fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) or a biopsy needs to be performed in which a tissue sample is removed from the suspected tumor and studied under a microscope to check for cancer cells.

If the diagnosis is positive (cancer is present), other tests are performed to provide specific information about the cancer. This essential follow-up phase of diagnosis is called staging. The most important thing doctors need to know is whether cancer has spread from one area of the body to another. If the initial diagnosis is negative for cancer and symptoms persist, further tests may be needed. If the biopsy is positive for cancer, be sure to seek a confirming opinion by a specialist doctor before any treatment is started.

TREATMENT PROCEDURE FOR CANCER

Depending on the type and stage of cancer, treatments to eradicate the tumor or slow its growth may include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy or immunotherapy.

SOCIAL SUPPORT AND SPIRITUALITY

Having the support of friends and family can help you deal with the depression, fear, and anxiety that accompany cancer. In some cases, a strong support network can even affect the length of survival of cancer patients; studies have shown that men who experience limited social contact have a shorter survival time, while women with good social support survive longer from their cancers.

Prayer can relieve stress, create a sense of meaning and purpose, and provide solace. Being an actively spiritual person may have even more benefits; cancer patients who consider themselves spiritual suffer less anxiety and depression, and even less pain, from their cancer.

AT HOME CARE FOR CANCER

After radiation therapy for cancer, be gentle to your skin. Do not scrub it, expose it to sunlight, or wear tight clothing. Aloevera ointment is gentle and soothing, along with non-irritating lotions or creams, such as vitamin E.

Eat light snacks throughout the day rather than three heavy meals. Try eating food cold or at room temperature to avoid nausea.

If your treatment involves lowering your white blood cell count, avoid people who are ill. Tell your doctor about any fever or unusual symptoms.

In addition to taking prescribed medication, try relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.

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Awareness about Cancer – Cure, Hope, ……..

HOW TO IDENTIFY DISEASE IN EARLY STAGE

 
Most of the time not only cancer but many diseases are diagnosed in advanced stage only.
The reason behind it is that our body is having large reserve capacity, for example a person can survive with only one kidney or with one lung only.
Symptoms surface late because of this reason.
Another reason is sensitivity of investigations.
Most of the investigations pick up the disease in advanced stage, for example kidney function test will come abnormal only when more than 2/3 part of kidney gets damaged.
The only solution is to meet the doctor at least once in a year, specially regarding the cancer investigation.
REMEMBER CANCER IS CURABLE ONLY IF TREATED IN EARLY STAGES.
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CANCER – The Dreaded Word / Disease

I am starting a series of Blog Posts on this Topic as my wife is afflicted with Breast Cancer. She has gone through hell and I wish to generate general awareness about this deadly disease to all the folks out there….

The first reaction when anybody is diagnosed with this Deadly Disease is……….

WHAT IS THE STAGE OF CANCER?

It is the most frequently asked question. Stage is very important aspect of cancer management. Treatment of cancer is decided by stage of cancer. Stage also indicates prognosis of cancer.

Stages of Cancer – Extent of Spread of Disease

1. If Cancer is localized  to local area — early Stage Cancer.

2. If cancer  has spread to local as well as regional lymph node – locally advanced cancer.

3. If cancer has spread to distant organs without any communication – Advanced Stage Cancer or Metastatic Cancer or Stage IV Cancer. 

The pictorial preview …..

C1

The Early Lung Cancer

C2
Advanced Lung Cancer
C3
Metastasis – Stage IV Lung Cancer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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