Road to Recovery – H G Geetha

 Right step with the right speed at the right time  for speedy recovery from disease

The day dawns as usual for the whole world but for the person expecting the results of medical reports to ascertain malignancy. Against everybody’s fervent prayers, the report confirms the presence of malignancy.

Can the medical reports belie the body’s medical condition/disease? No.

The next big question on everybody’s mind is “What Next?”.

Till sometime back, the disease was synonymous with “Death”. But now it need not be. Better outcome is possible, by taking right steps with the right speed at the right time.

Wonder how? Here are the 12 steps that helped to recover

1 Acceptance:

The word ACCEPTANCE in this context does not mean looking at the disease as “Ok it’s my karma to suffer like this,  so be it or God is punishing me for some bad deed that I have done so I am suffering”. This creeps in the “Why me?” phase and mental depression, which is of no use. Acceptance is seeing the things in reality as it is not attributing to anything. It’s like “the report confirms the presence of malignancy so be it”. Period.

By accepting the situation as it is, road to recovery starts,  which ensures that the journey through the road is smooth.

Remember, God by virtue of being HIM, cannot be sadist. If you feel,  it’s the result of bad deed, it helps in thinking this phase as a purification process. Our puranas tell us that even godly people suffered with difficulties. Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Shri Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi suffered with cancer. When great, most revered and blessed souls suffered silently with pain of cancer, how can we, the ordinary mortals complain that God has given us this disease to us only?

I strongly feel that our religious (all religions) scriptures show how we can accept the situation positively. If the person is an atheist, these can be read as a sort of “Manual on how to do” books.

  1. Understand the Illness:

Our body is made up of numerous cells. These cells grow and die systematically. When this process goes haywire,  then tumours are formed. In case of cancer, these tumours invade other adjoining areas causing damage. The cells may travel to other parts of the body and start multiplying there and tumours may be formed at that place. This process is what differentiates cancer from other diseases.

The disease can be controlled/ cured only by eradicating these fast multiplying cancer cells. It may be by removing the tumour, killing the cells through chemotherapy i.e. through giving medicines or through radiation i.e. killing the cancer cells through passing X-Rays, or through all the therapies.

Fever is measured through thermometer and expressed in terms of Celsius or Fahrenheit. Likewise, cancer is expressed in terms of Stages and Grades.

When infections attack body, antibiotics are given for 3, 5 9 or prescribed days. Likewise, medicines for cancer are administered at certain intervals called “cycles”.

  1. Treatment:

Apart from cancer cells, stomach, intestine lining and some other parts of the body also contain fast multiplying but healthy cells. In the case of cancer treatment, the aim of the medicine is to kill fast multiplying cells in the body. These medicines cannot distinguish cancerous and non-cancerous cells. Hence, the medicines along with healthy cells kills cancerous cells. Single dose of chemo medicines cannot kill all the cancer cells at one go. Hence, measured doses of the medicines are administered at regular intervals. If advised schedule of chemo or Radiation therapy are not adhered to the cancer cells keep multiplying at alarming rate. So stick to the schedule.

  1. Side Effects:

Cancer treatments are tailored to kill fast multiplying cells. This is the fact which makes it unique from treatments for other diseases like TB, Diabetes and infections etc. The body is subjected to strong medicines. Hence, it gives rise to lot of side effects like vomiting, diarrhoea and etc. There is every possibility of affecting working of other vital organs. Each individual reacts differently to the same treatment for the same disease.

  1. Ask the treating team all the questions you have:

Cancer treatment depends upon type, grade, stage, age and general physical condition of the affected person. Treatment is given either to cure or control or to minimise the ill effects of the cancer. Hence, discuss all the questions and doubts regarding the suggested regimen and possible side effects and approximate cost involved. Medical professionals everywhere are hard pressed for time. It’s your body which is going to be treated (With your hard earned money) and suffer the side effects. Hence, discuss in detail about the disease. The frank discussions help in preparing mentally for treatment.

  1. To surf or not to surf the internet?

Internet is  a store house of knowledge both systematically studied or otherwise. In order to understand the disease more, Internet can be surfed but not for self-diagnosis and self-treatment. Always clarify your doubts with your treating team. Also remember all the symptoms have to be correlated with clinical reports.

  1. Make the best use of modern day technology:

Remember empty mind is devils workshop.Healthy mind leads to  healthy body. Since the mobility of the patient can be restricted, make the best use of online newspapers/ magazines, books and youtube. One can pick up one or two hobbies also. Thus one can keep himself/herself  busy. Through social networking sites, one can be in contact with near and dear ones.

  1. Talk to other patients:

Is it advisable to talk to other patients when you are undergoing myriad feelings and under lot of physical stress? Yes, it is. Because when you share your apprehensions with others you can know that you are not alone, others are also there sailing in the same boat of side effects, worries and tensions. Dietary tips and tips to maintain mental calmness are usually shared. In one word you get solace in company.

  1. Protect yourself from infections:

During cancer treatment, body’s immunity comes down drastically. Hence protect yourself adequately. Follow personal hygiene. Avoid going in crowds. If you have to go out wear masks.

  1. Cancer is not contagious:

Please remember that cancer does not spread from one person to another in any way. But others can transfer their infectious diseases to the patient, as the person on chemotherapy/radiation therapy have lowered immunity to infections. Hence avoid going to crowded places and meeting people who are ill.

11.Make care a family matter and involve everyone and utilise all resources:

Treatment of cancer involves lot of difficulties. It includes numerous trips to hospitals, undergoing medical tests preparing fresh food so on and so forth. The period of treatment is also lengthy with possible side effects. The caregivers,  in addition to the daily routine work, also have to endure the patient’s emotional outbursts,  due the very nature of the disease and treatment. Hence it puts lot of mental and physical stress and strain on the primary care giver.

Sorrow shared is sorrow halved. Being together  and involving everyone achieve more results. By sharing the work among family members, the family bond becomes stronger and eventually becomes so strong that no untoward incident can break the bond.

  1. File your medical reports properly:

Keep the medical file in proper order. See that all reports are arranged in a chronological order. This helps the treating doctor to observe/ compare values.

I personally feel that the arduous journey of recovery from cancer can be achieved by following few steps suggested above.

HG Geetha, Bangalore


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