Posts Tagged ‘health


Double jeopardy

That some people may think of cancer as contagious, I had suspected all along. But to actually hear it being said was different – it was confirmation. An old lady I met at the hospital undergoing treatment for cancer was not taken care of by her sisters who believed that they would also contract the disease if they took care of her, for instance, by washing her clothes. And these people who believe so are not illiterate either.

This is unfortunate indeed and I believe being double jeopardy for the patient – first, to having being sentenced to the disease itself and then having to face lack of care from the family. Wish there was more awareness.


The remedy within

The disease has such a mystery around it in terms of its causes and various supposed cures as none other I guess.

Apart from the standard causes like smoking, is it, too much food? Too much processed food? Too much sugar? Lack of exercise? Exposure of food to plastics or perfluorooctanoic acid in non stick cookware?

And it seems cure is not supposedly confined to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or transplants.

The other day, one of my docs told me that one of her patients seems to be on amla (gooseberry) therapy. On the other hand, patients who had wheat grass (believed to have anticarcinogenic properties) during the therapy seem to have a relapse.

Another one I know gave up the chemotherapy midway and switched to homeopathy and seems to be doing fine since few years now.

And prayer – how many of us are willing to take the chance that prayer alone can heal? Apparently, one of our friends, who happens to be a very good allopathic doctor and is very spiritual, had actually applied that to one of the family members. The tumor was gone without any of the standard therapies and has not reappeared since eight years or so.

So, what does one believe and practise to put an effective barricade and if it does invade, shove it out so that it never looks back? Obviously, there are no established answers.

Thankfully, despite the disease, most of us are free to steer our mind towards positivity and determination. For it seems, time and again, it is the positive determined mind that has reigned supreme over the physical effects of the body. The most famous example of that is Lance Armstrong who won the Tour de France, one of the toughest races in the world, seven times, after having been treated for testicular cancer. Ananda Shankar Jayant, reknowned classical Indian dancer and Padma Shri award winner, overcame the debilitating effects of breast cancer treatment and continued to dance.

Many times, the doctors give a few years to live, then the patient lives for many more. What fills that space?

Phoebe Snetsinger, who held a record for bird sightings, was given one year to live after being diagnosed with a terminal melanoma. She went on to pursue birding passionately, travelled widely and  lived another 18 years. And the end when it came wasn’t the result of the cancer- it was a road accident.

So, all those having had experience with this invader (or for that matter, anyone else having/having had debilitating effects) and searching for answers for what works and what doesn’t, could, for one, at least stay positive with whatever treatment they have chosen to follow. Whatever else may or may not be a trustworthy companion, our mind surely can be made to be.

Secondly, I believe, we would need to steer the mind towards a steadfast vision of where we want to go and work towards it to the best of our ability.

Undoubtedly, all this does require persistence. However, it is a challenge from which we, including myself, must not back out.

The examples above are of people who were famous and therefore we have come to know of their determination by what they have achieved. There may be so many unsung heroes who have fought or are fighting their inner battles everyday. This post is dedicated to all those people. I feel there is no conquest of the disease here as some like to say. I guess, if at all, we can just conquer our own mind.

Any thoughts from readers on this subject would be welcome.


Foods during radiation of the neck

A little about the food that one is or is not able to take during radiation therapy of the neck region.

After about a week or 10 days, nausea set in and I began to lose appetite. As radiation affects rapidly dividing cells, the cells in the mouth which are rapidly dividing, are affected. As a result, the taste buds are affected and food begins to lose taste. If chalk has taste, then most food tasted like chalk.

Initially, the ice lollies seemed to feel good. However, as the radiation progressed, they didn’t seem much palatable. Nor did chocolate or anything with chocolate flavour.

As it becomes difficult to swallow, one has to choose fluids or very soft foods. Some foods that tasted better than the others are – fruit juices, fruit shakes like mango shake, banana shake, sapodilla shake, milk with sweet syrups like almond syrup and rose syrup, thandai milk, sweet or savoury lassi (lassi is made by blending yogurt and water with added sugar and optional flavouring of cardamom/saffron for the sweet version and black salt, table salt, roasted cumin and dried mint for the savoury version) and the good old lemonade (without sugar is equally good) (with added dried mint, black salt, rock salt and dried roasted cumin).

Initially, the sour taste didn’t seem to bother, but later, I began to feel uncomfortable consuming slightly sour drinks like mango panna (made by boiling raw mangoes with sugar and blending them with added black salt). Additionally, one has to be careful not to consume spicy food as it irritates the throat and even a little bit of it can be unpleasant.

Soft foods that seem easier to swallow and are palatable  are – idli (rice and pulse steamed pancakes), upma (made with semolina and vegetables), bread toasted with little ghee.

The blander the food, the better it feels.

Soft fruits that taste better than the others are all types of melon, water melon and peach.

Hope this is useful.

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Cancer cells in motion

Cancer cells dividing


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