Monday, May 20, 2013

I Owe 17 Years of My Life to Healthcare….

The wonderful moment with my lovely kids was possible due 
to the progress made by medical science

When the contest was organized on Indiblogger by ApolloHospitals on the topic ‘How Modern Day Healthcare is Touching Lives’, I felt highly obliged to participate as it has a great significance in my life. My Dad, Mom, Sister and I have been through cancer; in addition I have a specialneeds daughter who had to undergo two triple fusion corrective surgeries on her feet. Thus, I have had opportunity to look at healthcare and its effects on lives of people from close quarters.
17 years ago when I was diagnosed with Infiltrating Carcinoma, grade III with 10 positive nodes, the ground seemed to slip away from beneath my feet. Today with the progress in medical science I am more confident and would not feel as scared and desperate as I felt back then. Even though it was in 1996 when India lagged behind the developed nations that I went through cancer, I owe the 17 years of my life to medical science, which allowed me to take care of my kids, be there for my family and live to realize many of my dreams. I had wasted away my life living everyday monotonously until cancer happened. It was the awakening call for me to live my life fruitfully. So, I can say the past 17 years of my life after cancer have been the best of my life. I am grateful to medical science and my wonderful doctor who made this possible for me.
When my daughter started crouching and could not walk properly, an orthopedic surgery on her feet allowed her to walk more comfortably. When my Dad fell down and broke his hip bone in old age, we assumed that is the end of his mobility, until the orthopedic surgeon showed us how easy it was to replace a hip. So we can say that modern day health care is having a great influence on our quality of life, making it possible for us to fight against odds and triumph.
Back in 1996, as I heard the words “You have Cancer”, when breast feeding my 11 month old baby girl who had been diagnosed with brain atrophy, I can shamelessly confess that I was desperate to survive. I did not want to leave behind my two kids orphaned and die, especially not my daughter who needed special care and attention.  I had to undergo mastectomy, chemotherapy and other treatments to overcome cancer. Today everything looks so distant, as though that did not happen to me at all. But the scar on my chest says, it did happen to me, and I lost a part of my body to survive.
People tell me that I am lucky to be alive, when so many have lost their lives to cancer, even those who could afford any treatment in any corner of the world, therefore I should not fret about losing my breast, living with a scar on my chest nor about suffering side-effects of chemotherapy.  I choose to differ. I know I am grateful to be alive and kicking today, but then I have every right to fret about my suffering because I did suffer a lot going through the treatment and I do suffer even to this day due to mastectomy.  Would I be fretting and fuming over my suffering if I had the opportunity to get the best care like the one provided by Apollo Hospitals back then? With innovation in key medical specialities and superspecialities which match the ones available in developed nations, cancer survivors need not bother with mastectomies and prosthetics anymore now, at least not in all cases. With the help of robotic precision surgeries, more and more patients have option of getting the tumor removed while preserving the organs. The preventive check-ups and let us have peace of mind, making sure there is no recurrence taking place, or when it does to nip it in the bud.
My sister was terrified of the after effects of cancer treatment, therefore decided to never go for surgery or chemotherapy thus losing her battle with cancer in 1996. My mom was quite late in being diagnosed with breast cancer and therefore the treatment that followed was not successful. Also she did not realize the importance of chemotherapy in cancer treatment. She had two recurrences in two years time and finally lost her battle with cancer on 1st January 2006. Would it be the same case if they could avail the best cancer care treatment provided by the superspeciality hospitals in India now? Within a decade the whole scenario has changed and cancer patients now have comprehensive state-of-the-art facilities and a coordinated multidisciplinary approach for the treating cancer of all types. The present hospitals with their modern setups, the colorful uniformed nurses and very friendly doctors who explain things properly to the patient could have saved the lives of my Mom and my Sister. Sigh!!!
Technology like the Positron Emission Tomography (PET) which is a powerful imaging technique for the diagnosis of cancer, the Cyber knife that provides unparalleled access to tumors anywhere in the body, and now the Novalis radiosurgery platform provide better treatment of cancer aiming at greater precision, faster treatment delivery, more flexible treatment scheduling and a higher level of patient comfort,  thus reducing chances of recurrence and improving chances of survival, moreover  without compromising on the quality of life.
       Key Medical Procedures
The modern healthcare provides medical treatment in areas like Radiosurgery, Novalis TX, Cyberknife, Liver Transplant, Bone Marrow Transplant, Hand & Microsurgery, Infertility Care, Cosmetic Surgery, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Birmingham Hip Resurfacing, Stem Cell Transplant, Emergency & Trauma, Services, Minimally Invasive Coronary Artery Surgery, Bariatric Surgery, MRI-HIFU - Non-Surgical treatment of Uterine Fibroids, Robotic Surgery, The Renaissance Robotic Surgical System, PET-MR Suite, and the latest G scan - an Open Standing MRI scanner which have revolutionized health care. The specialities include heart, orthopedics, spine, cancer care, gastroenterology, neurosciences, nephrology and urology, critical care and preventive health care.  All this being under one roof ensures that the patient need not worry about anything and need not visit different hospitals for every different kind of treatment.
Thus we can say that hospitals like Apollo have brought about the change in healthcare and preventive health check-ups, robotic surgeries and organ transplants which has enabled people diagnosed with cancer or any other serious ailments to live a stress free life without becoming victims to diseases. From the time when people would visit foreign lands for treatment, today we have a thriving medical tourism industry in India where people even from developed nations are coming over for treatment in India. That is a great leap in the medical field for our country.
Apollo Hospitals

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Book Review - Ten Shades of Life

As I held the book, Ten Shades of Life in my hand, I could not stop noticing the bright shades of the cover page which is one of the most unique which I have held in my hands.

The 10 stories in the book have been chosen through contests organized by Fablery last year in different categories. So the Ten Shades of Life can be called the best of ten different genres of stories chosen by Fablery for publishing by Mahveer Publishers.
I am familiar with most of the authors through their blogs and that was one of the attraction for the reading the book. I wanted to see how the short stories differed from their blogs. Amazingly it did!
The first story was “The Incarnadines” by Cheyenne Mitchell. For some reason I kept wondering where is the story set. It could well be India or any other foreign land. This story belongs to the Genre of Fantasy /Magic type, where the demons are sought to take life of people instead of guns or knives. It made an interesting read though.
“Red and Gold” by Monika Pant is shaded in romantic colors in the fairy land of richness, emperors and princesses. It is evergreen story of finding Mr.Right, which makes your heart bubble with excitement for the characters involved.
“Harry’s Bluff” by Dr.Roshan Radhakrishnan is written very well, giving us the pain of the main character through the flash backs. It is the character of Selena that really got on my nerves. Though written very well, the story defies logic and therefore could not get much appreciation from me. The action adventure fails to answers many questions that arise in my mind, but I do have to praise the writers’ skill in weaving the tale.
“Something like That” is a simple office tale written with a humorous twist, with some amount of moral thrown in. I really enjoyed the tale which does not boast of great heroes or heroines, but just simple people in simple situations.
“A weekend in the Country” by Bruce Memblatt is a good old horror tale set in outdoors, rather than in a creepy mansion. The horror begins when two friends decide to get away from their humdrum lifestyle for a weekend in a country side. Being a great fan of horror stories, it takes something more than just a ghost story to impress me at this stage of life.
The 6th story belongs to the Science Fiction genre. The author Karthik L writings are not new to me as I often read his blogs. His genius shines in the fiction story where a child prodigy Rohit, tries and succeeds in contacting the aliens. Is that a good sign or not should be discovered by reading the story.
Next shade was the Historical “The Secret of Ahiraah” byReshmy Pillai. Set in the ages of kings, their secret passage ways, spies and other mysterious happenings, it is a pleasant story set in the times of the brave Rajput kings in medieval period.
“Where did you go” by Deepa Duraisamy, another familiar blogger, is something specially written for the male child crazy Indians. I am not sure how much of it could be understood by level headed foreigners, but every Indian can understand it very well indeed. The agony of the parents whose baby is kidnapped is well portrayed in the story. This could be labeled as a suspense thriller.
“Barren Harvest” by Vinaya Swapnil Bhagat, belongs to philosophical genre but has great touches of sci-fi fictions in it. Set in future after the apocalypse, it dwells much on emotions and heavy thoughts regarding human relationships. Well written story though it takes some time to sink in.
Labeled under Occupational Genre, the last story, ‘A Good Day to Die” by Rahul Biswas did remind me of the movie Die Hard and Bruce Willis. Was it the story itself or the title, I am not sure. Here we read about the fight of a fireman who fights not just blazing inferno but also the green monster at the same time.

About the editor:
Nethra Anjanappa is a student based in Bangalore who successfully completed her Masters in Business Administration. She is a voracious reader and a writer of fictions, the love for which made her begin Fablery, a platform which provides aspiring authors a gateway into the publishing world.

Unfortunately there is no introduction to the authors in the book. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Salvation of a Saint - A Journey Through Suspense!


Salvation of a Saint is a book by award winning author Keigo Higashino which has been translated by Alexander O. Smith with Elye J. Alexander. This is one of those books which I have been looking forward to read just out of curiosity and not for the purpose of reviewing it. Good call, as I could really enjoy the adventures of Detective Galileo or physics professor Manabu Yukawa, whose brilliant scientific mind, comes with weird alternative possibilities that questions every answer the police have for the murder mystery, as he returns with a bang to solve an impossible murder which had become possible.
Facts, theories, and clues are blown away as instinct takes over.  The experience was like in the old times when I enjoyed the books of Agatha Christie, where Hercule Poirot solved the murder mysteries as I held my breath forgetting to eat and sleep. The book does not try to hide the criminal, creating the big question “Whodunit?”  It is rather very oblivious who had the motive and a good one at that. Most of the readers would not be sympathizing with the victim, but rather feel he did not deserve such an easy death for the misogynist he is, who treats wife as a child bearing machine. He is rich, arrogant and wants a child. More preposterous than our own clan of Indian men, Yoshitaka Mashiba treats his wife as a source to fulfill his desire of having a child of his own, and in case she fails he is going to marry someone else and move on. The beautiful wife of the victim AyaneYoshitaka who charms the sense out of the investigating officer, along with the readers who do not want her to be the murderer though she has great motive to do it.
The narrative is very gripping as the detectives try to work out the possible way he could have been poisoned. Even though there is just one plot in the whole novel, the author Keigo Higanshino brings in so many alternatives and subplots that the reader is surprised and shocked at each one of them. He takes us to the edge of belief that the mystery is about to be solved before pushing us back to the darkness of ignorance. The cat and mouse game being played with our minds, will keep us glued to the book until we get all the answers.
Unlike other mystery novels which depend wholly on the twist in the end, ‘Salvation of a Saint’ works on the characters built by the author, their emotions and lives to hold your breath.  The portrayal of the dilemma’s, greed, envy, ego, anguish, suffering and other human emotions are depicted in an exceptional style and in a unique way, which made me feel for the characters in the book.  The writing is good enough to create visions of the story in my mind, where the characters come alive and perform. Moreover they get you entangled in their world of emotions. That is the sign of a great writer.  More than the story, plot, mystery or answers to the question, “How was he murdered?” you can enjoy the sheer writing skill and talent of the author in this book.  The confidence of the author is clear as he has not sought refuge from sex, violence, or any other gimmicks of modern days for making the book popular. It is written clean, like old time mystery novels which thrived on suspense and skill of the author himself.
No matter how attentive you have been to the clues in the novel, it is going to get you stymied in the end. Great book to spend your Sunday with! It is 384 pages of bliss. 
This review is a part of the biggest Book Reviews Program. for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Just How Important is Early Socialization?

If you’re a parent with little ones, you’ve no doubt answered the same question thousands of times: ‘Do you go to any play groups?’. I know I have. In most cases, this is harmless chitchat between parents and friends, but it can also be a way of seeing whether you’re for or against the concept of early socialization. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that children need to have interactions with others, particularly with kids their own age, and fortunately many have this opportunity when they start school – but should we really be encouraging socialization in babies, toddlers, and preschoolers?

Talk to any parent and you’ll see that there are many arguments both for and against early socialization. You’ve probably read on sites about child development that early interactions with others will help children to become confident, well-rounded individuals, but some parents maintain that kids shouldn’t be forced into these situations, and that Mom and Dad should remain the primary influences. I’m certainly torn on how I can give my daughter the best start, and socialization certainly tends to divide a nation, but whatever your views are, here are some interesting points to think about from both perspectives.

Arguments for Early Socialization

Socialization really has two main aims: to teach and to develop. In terms of teaching, it aims to teach children not only how to interact with others, but also how to behave in what we perceive to be a socially acceptable manner in the environment in which we live. In simple terms, it aims to produce friendly, confident, and intelligent children through mimicking.

Many parents in India send their children to playschools when they are 2 years old, and then the kids often join a nursery school when they turn 3. But some parents choose to leave their children in daycare when they are even younger; a common concern among new parents is whether they should go back to work, leaving their kids in daycare. I’m only too aware that it’s a difficult decision, but I’m also somewhat comforted by the idea that interacting with other children can give my daughter something I can’t. In social situations without parental guidance, kids have the opportunity to mix with children of different races, different backgrounds, and different classes. Thinking of socialization in terms of preparation for the ‘real world’, this type of interaction is far more relevant than encouraging children to only mix with family members or pre-chosen friends. This situation brings up another question – is socialization leading the way towards a more accepting and open-minded nation?

Now looking specifically at the development side of socialization, the journal Sibling Interaction Across Cultures published a study that looked at differences between only children and those with siblings. Not surprisingly, it found that socializing with someone other than a parent greatly helped pragmatic skills and emotional intelligence, with improvements in things like turn taking, eye contact, and sharing. As I don’t plan to have more children, I value any chances my daughter has to learn these skills outside of the home – especially as competition for school places (and nursery school places) is becoming more intense, as these behaviours and skills can be a clear advantage.

Arguments Against Early Socialization

The main argument against early socialization is that, while it’s good for children to mix with others from different backgrounds, we don’t always want our kids being influenced by those who have vastly different ideas and beliefs. Yes, it’s important for our kids to understand that there are opinions other than their own. However, for parents who strive to raise their children with certain values, can early socialization actually be detrimental?

Socialization encourages independence, and this is good – but how early do we want our kids to be independent? By school age, this is a great benefit, but a study by researchers from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, found that independence born from early socialization encouraged a lack of obedience to parental commands. This is something that concerns me. I want my daughter to have imagination and ideas, but worry about maintaining the line between creativity and bad behaviour.

Don’t Feel Guilty!

The problem with early socialization is that it isn’t black and white. Just take a look at some of the questions asked here. Are socialized children open-minded and accepting? Some will be, some won’t. Are non-socialized children becoming disobedient? Some will be, some won’t. I haven’t yet decided where I stand on the notion of early socialization, but I understand both sides of the argument. The most important thing is that we shouldn’t feel guilty for how we raise our children. There are pros and cons for both types of upbringings, neither of which can be proved as ‘better’. Early socialization is only important if you think it’s important; it’s a very personal decision and one that only you can make.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Be Original - A New Hairstyle For All Occasions...

The Hair Fountain... 

I went over to pick a hair style from the interactive TRESemm√© India Youtube channel to try out the hairstyles and failed miserably. It was fun creating my own album of ramp ready hair there because I can never do that in real. I have hair that is never ready for any event .. leave alone walking down the ramp. No complaints though, I am glad to have them on my scalp.As a compensation for my disobedient hair, my special daughter Farheena is blessed with volumnious, lustrous and long hair which is a delight even to just touch it. Farheena doesn't stick to a single hairstyle, but keeps changing them according to the person she is with... and lucky girl can cut her hair short and grow them back to waist length within a year.

For her, I need really the salon type of bottles of shampoo and conditioners, because the smaller bottles are barely enough for one wash when her hair has grown to full length. I don't have to do much to care for her hair, other than oiling it occasionally, combing it thoroughly apart from washing and conditioning. She is blessed with good hair, that can match her mood.

At present she is sporting a summer look of hairstyle which goes well for parties, events, marriages and at the same time beats the summer heat too. I am sharing the simple original hairstyle here which popped out of my imagination one fine day .....

Wash the hair clean. Follow with conditioning

Brush it thoroughly and tie it in pony tail
Lift the ponytail up and clip it like shown in the picture
Allow the hair to fall back on the clip and comb it

Lo Behold! You have a beautiful fountain of hair .. which goes well with any occasion

Apart from washing, the beautiful hairstyle takes up just 5 minutes from start to finish... It does not require any type of expertise or skill, but you need to have the right type of hair clip which will allow the hair to fall down from all sides. Now you are ready to walk down the ramp proudly.... :)

This blog post is a part of Contest TRESemm√© Ramp Ready Hair on Indiblogger


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