Welcome to Bangalore Cancer Support group (Connect to Heal) Blog page

Welcome to Bangalore Cancer Support Group (Connect To Heal) Blog Page
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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cancer Awreness program in Women Association on 2-Nov-11

We held a Cancer Awareness meeting with a local Women’s Association.  The facilitators were Madhuri, Ajitha and Padma. The objective of the meeting being to Stress on the Importance of early Detection and Subsequent Action. We focused onBreast Cancer as this was The Week devoted to that part of the natomy and brought in cervical cancer since the group consisted of women only. The meeting began and ended with high energy. The content presented were:
What is Cancesr. Statistics of the disease and the prognoses.
More information on how to detect and also what can be done to avoid and lastly the need to retain
faith in oneself as we can continue to lead a normal (bit of exaggeration)life if we follow certain guidelines.

As Ajitha shares her experience of the disease and how she managed to overcome the debilitating aspect and find fulfillment in continuing her activities there was a uplift of enthusiasm

Monday, October 10, 2011

On Cancer, Faith, Knowledge, Emotion & Action by Anil Singh

On Cancer, Faith, Knowledge, Emotion & Action

St. Paul, said “Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen”.

But there is also a schoolboy definition “Faith is believing what you know is untrue”.To have faith is to acknowledge that there is more to life & the universe than that meets our senses, & that there is a dimension in reality that we call transcendental.
Faith has been the object of trust loyalty & fanaticism. Faith determines what we believe & an indispensable part of our actions & our individual biography.
Faith is almost largely seen in religious terms, & all religions unfailing exhort one to have more faith even blind faith hence the ceaseless visits to temples religiously prescribed visits to holy spots & places of miracles. In my experience, a majority of such displays are done to atone for wrongdoing, to seek to overcome persons, to obtain favors or promotion, wealth, health, etc.If the outcomes of such traffic are favorable then one feels his faith in the object of the travel are complete & strong vibes emanate from the spot. The detail to be passed on to others if unfavorable is one is deemed to be lacking in faith. Try something else. Though loyalty may not be at stake direction is “Blind faith” is of course an oxymoron, as it discounts factors of reasoned thought. It is not a question of faith at all, but one of credibility. For many, faith is belief without reason. For those who believe no explanation is necessary. For those who do not no explanation is possible. An attitude is created which seems to say “Have faith i.e. “More faith”—for there is no evidence.

This urging one to have “More faith” is unbridled tyranny & a grim task for the individual. Fortunately we have Jesus saying, “A grain of mustard is the measure of faith required to move Mountains”. So the amount of faith is not the condition that evaluates it.
Having lived with cancer for many years lived, well, having done & achieved many things, which I could not do in the so-called “precancer” days have concluded so far that faith seems to have three dominant components knowledge, emotion, & action. From earliest days one of the first things I learnt was that God was “unknowable”, therefore it was futile on one’s part to spend time & energy in trying to comprehend him & his actions. It was more fruitful, satisfying & fulfilling if one spent the time in knowing one’s fellow men & trying to reach an equation of mutual benefit.If our knowledge extended to a comprehension of God, then is it not evident that there would be no room for faith? Whatever so-called attitude confronts us, we must proceed on the path of knowing it --- as far knowledge allows us, then make the leap of faith in the direction pointed by our knowing. At least then we can apprehend if not comprehend, why & what is happening to us.

Is there a place for faith in the treatment of cancer? In my experience, definitely yes. Yes of course & it a dominant place occupying the higher echelons. Having with knowledge selected the stream of medicine --Allopathy, Homeopathy, Ayurvedic, Naturopathy, etc--best suited for the cancer--remembering that cancer is not a monolith, or single disease.The next process of selecting the institution & doctor is again thru knowing.
There is no place for blind faith here, but there is place for faith. What force has propelled you so far on this road? The same force --with whatever name you call it. That created you & made you dwell in the family you were born to. One must also believe that every scientific discovery that combats, suffering is also thru that force, no more or less, are the invention of bombs & missiles.
I have faith in the stream of medicine chosen, I have great respect & regard & am in wonderment of the achievement of the institution in medical & human term where I am being treated. I have abiding trust in my doctor. Knowing his achievement & his abilities, increases my trust. I get the feeling he cares about my case. I also know that he uses his knowledge & experience to the best of his abilities to deal with my cancer. He always lets me speak, ask questions, & I receive answers that satisfy me. He is forthright without being patronizing or brutal. I know that the normal life I lead--I do what I want to do--indulges in normal activity is because of my faith in him; which in a large part was created by his drive to succeed in battling cancer,--his knowledge, search for new development in treatment, his caring & considered judgment, using all that he knows for my benefit.
So it seems that faith like trust is a two-way street. Both must play a tango but who are =the both “on my doc’s side, the institution he represents. On my side my emotional support group, my family who have lived my pain, my real friends, the people I deal with, the shopkeepers, the chemists who make sure that I get the right medicines, at the right time. Almost anybody who learns that I have cancer when they see me cannot believe that I am a cancer patient. they scrutinize in amazement and all 3 play a vital part should read as all play a vital part & sometimes in their gaze they see hope.
It is all very motivating. I feel I am indeed blessed.
Healing has the ingredient of faith, knowledge, support & action in handling cancer, all three play a vital part. So get moving believe in what you are doing with the resources you have to take action. For without your personal action, nothing can go forward.
Remember the words of St. Augustine, “Without God we cannot, without us God will not”.
He needs us to do perform his miracles.

Voce Anil

Published in DC Bengaluru September 19, 2011 · Caregivers reach out to cancer-hit·

     She lost her husband to cancer, just 27 hours before her silver jubilee celebrations and is still tending to her mother, who’s fighting cancer. But Anita Roy Pilgrim has still not given up hope. “It was last year that I lost my husband to cancer. He had developed dual site cancer and my mother is fighting cancer for the past five years. It drains a person emotionally, physically and financially, but as a caregiver I know that we can really a make a difference to their lives and maybe even help them live longer,” said Anita.She is a part of ‘Connect to Heal’, a self- help group of cancer warriors, as they call themselves. They are caregivers of cancer patients who have got together to reach out to Bengalureans. As per the World Health Organization data, incidence of cancer is projected to increase from 11.3 million to 15.5 million by the year 2030. “With the increased risk of cancer, we think there is an urgent need to establish a strong support system for cancer patients as well as their caregivers,” said Padma, one of the core group members who has also been a caregiver. She lost her mother to cancer. “I remember as a caregiver I was not very good. I was initially upset with my mother because I thought, as a doctor, how could she not take care of herself and wind up with something as serious as cancer. But after I lost her I realized that this was not the right attitude,” said Padma, who started ‘Connect to Heal’, the self-help group in the year 2009.A positive attitude and approach goes a long way towards treating and even curing cancer patients. “Once diagnosed with cancer, people think it’s the visa to death. But I want to tell them that it is a completely wrong notion because with a positive approach one can fight cancer and lead a completely healthy life. I want to tell people that there is life after cancer,” said Anil Singh, who was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, cancer of the plasma cells, in the year 2007. But now after continuous treatment and therapy he is completely fit and fine, traveling the world and even going to places like ‘Mansarovar’.He wants to send this message to Bengalureans. He encouraged many cancer patients and their family members who had gathered for the ‘Cancer Watch’ awareness programme at St Jude’s Church at Byapanahalli on Sunday. This was the first of their series of awareness programmes. Now this self-help group is planning to reach out to various cancer patients and their caregivers by networking with cancer care hospitals, medical colleges and spreading the word through the internet.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The dreaded 'C' Shivakumar Kalyan's story Part 1

It was a pleasant evening of October 2006, when i was taking a brisk walk in the park near my house. A sudden shooting pain in the groin and a nagging low back pain stopped me in my tracks. I soon guessed that it was due to a urological problem that I had been facing since one year. I decided to consult an urologist who immediately asked me to do a blood test and an ultrasound. He put me on some temporary medication to relieve the pain. And when the results came, the doctor looked pretty grim and said that I have to urgently undergo a bone scan and meet him with the report at the earliest. The diagnostic reports confirmed his worst fears - I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer with bone metastases and lymph node involvement and graded stage 4 - which in simple language means that the cancer had spread from the prostate to the lymph nodes and the bones. The treatment possibility was more or less restricted to just palliative care. The PSA reading was an alarming 360 against the normal level of maximum 4.
As an energetic 62 yr old at that time, I was suddenly confronted with this life threatening ailment and my world suddenly seemed to go into a topsy turvy.

The doctors gave me a choice between surgery along with medication or a fairly expensive long term quarterly injection and medication. I opted for the latter and thus my journey in combating cancer started. It is now 5 years since and with the grace of God I am still continuing to lead a fulfilling life.

The continued fight with never lowering your guard coupled with enormous moral support from family and friends- at this point I would like to mention the contribution of Connect To Heal support group. The fortnightly meeting proved a source of inspiration and motivation whilst creating a forum for exchanging views/comparing notes with other cancer survivors and professional Counselors- Has sustained me throughout this ongoing battle.And the pay off for all this discipline - I am able to lead a near normal life and as energetic as earlier, continuing to keep myself occupied with a full time job.

This ongoing effort and how to take this battle into the enemies camp (Cancer), I will discuss later in my next write up.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Padma and the Kitten story

My eyes still fill up when I think of the kitten I gave away. There are also times when I break down and sob away, particulary when I see the image of the kitty in the cage; how she moaned ,the grief from her tiny heart as if here is one more loss to bear in the short span on this earth. We still hear her meow whatever time of the day and night. Even at mid night when my husband goes for a warm drink she meows ,saying hey I am here too, and then we shut her up cruelly saying go back to sleep its not yet morning.

She lost her mother maybe in the 2nd week, she was still nursing.Slowly we helped her find her feet and now we've given her away to CUPA and my daily prayers and reiki is that she finds a better home with an younger couple not so rigid in their ways.

Why did it affect me so much?

Answer to this question is in the brief conversation I had with a friend...-we were talking about finding her a home and she couldn't help and said maybe I am meant to keep her. She also wondered whose soul the kitty has and we spoke about my mother-in- law and mother as both were fond of cats. I told her it must be my mother for I see her looking at me with so much love!!

This brings me to the core issue- I feel once again I have been derelict in my duty. My mother was diagnosed with cancer of the rectum and all though in Stage one, she overtly looked not so bothered and treated the disease and herself casually .
The timing of the disease was inconvenient(when is it otherwise?) and I reassured myself that being a doctor she knew how to deal with it. Slowly the days passed and we all ignored her. Atlast I forced her to see the doctor and even bullied her assistant to tell me what to do- she agreed and then consulted many doctors who recommended surgery - resulting in colostomy. This was a shock,and again she never shared her feelings!! Or did I not listen active enough to pick up her grief?

Outwardly I did all that a daughter could do...helped her through her hospitalisation and brought her home. She preferred to be in her own place so she left for her home.She had the staff at ther beck and call and me with my endemic habit of feeling ' I don't know enough' played a passive role. She started getting weaker.We celebrated my birthday and two days later she took to bed. She lost control over her body functions and therefore wanted to reverse the surgery. Doctors warned her that at least 6 weeks need to go to prepare the body-she was stubborn and being a senior physician they gave in. She was discharged and went back to her place and continued working for the next 2 months.A month later she stopped eating and again I took her to the hospital to correct her dehydration. She forced ryle's tube-shehated it.

She asked to be discharged and they gave in as nothing much could be done. The doctor ased me why don't I take her home? I said i am scared. Anyway, my other brother came down-she was staying with my brother- and she lived another week. I remember making drum stick soup-her cook was very possessive about her kitchen and feed her a spoonful. She relished it.When she came home at night next day she started having difficulty in breathing and being far away from town she did not get assistance till next day and managed with oxygen. Next day she was shifted to her clinic and that was the last day! I was with her that night. At 2.30 I got up and saw her 'not awake' and lovingly ran my hand over her face, talked to her and went to sleep. A while later my brother came running to say she is no more!!
What was my learning?-I could have been more proactive, listened to my heart, had more trust in myself and been more assertive. The Kitty taught me all this. I tend to run away when the going gets tough!!
This kitty helped me grieve for my mother who died 5 yers ago. Then I was busy with funeral arrangement and all that. Did not deal with the anger that I felt at her abandoning me. My earth shook and I distracted myself and got back to work. This kitty showed me how what is 'unconditiional' love, courage, and grit and determination. I have learned that others could feel differently from me- mine is not the only way.
So Goodbye my mother. You are still in my heart. I see your picture every morning and thank you for making me who I am (warts and all) for showing me to have dreams(although many of yours remained just that) and giving me courage. I am also becoming like you finicky, controlling(which the kitty corrected) and wanting to make a difference in this world.

by Padma Mahadev

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mamata's Life story ; Positive Thinking

I am Mamatha Shetty,a Cancer Survivor.

At the outset,I would like to apprise all the readers of this article that as a survivor,I have become a stronger person mentally and physically than I was before.

I am a survivor for the last 25 years.During the time I was diagnosed,awareness of this disease was minimal.There were no Counsellors or Support Groups, to help one,through those difficult days.

I went through the travails of the disease,I would say,only with one thought in mind,that I would survive!From day one,it was a challenge.With a very supportive family and my strong conviction,I have overcome the disease.

There were other factors too which helped me in this battle.I was fortunate enough that the disease was diagnosed in an early stage.The doctors who treated me were very competent.The follow up treatment was harsh. But with my determination to live and with my positive thinking, it passed off well.

Along with the treatment,I took extra care to bring my ravaged body back to normal health.Balanced diet,regular exercises,yoga etc .became my life style.Because of this life style,even at 72 years of age,I have all the energy and enthusiasm to lead an active life.

I have published a memoir,titled 'Leaves from the book of life"after gaining more insight to life ,during these 25 years.Future is an uncertainty for all human beings,isn't it?

I believe in

1.being positive.

2.appreciate the gift of life.

3. be a support to those who face the same situation as I did years ago.

Positive thinking is the key factor in my struggle.