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


  1. Present day generation owes much to the Modern Health Care system. Premature deaths due to terminal deceases get postponed due to advent in medicines.

    1. Though many of the diseases could be avoided with life-style changes, the easy access to treatment is making the present generation too careless too..

  2. Great to know that cancer does not kill always.. keep enjoying life with your kids

  3. may you have a long happy life

  4. I have read your last post and hence i know it makes so much of sense as you can really differentiate between 1996 and 2013 ... indeed modern healthcare has been a boon..however, it is still a fantasy for most of the Indians ... as their lives and savings are lot cheaper than these costly treatments !! I have heard people draining out hard earned money .. to save life.. Till the time its available to all .. it rarely makes sense to me personally .
    Very nicely written and I loved both the cartoons .. I suppose your son has drawn it ? :)
    Best of Luck for the contest

    1. Actually the treatment is India is much cheaper compared to other countries. Even in Africa the cost is 3 times more than in India according to a report published by a hospital. But then it is true that most of the Indians cannot afford the hospitals which provide best treatments. More and more people should opt for medical insurance so that the financial burden will not entirely fall on their shoulders.
      Thanks for the liking the cartoons. One of them was done by my son and other by me.. I am learning to draw with his help.

    2. wow !! thats great !! they who love cartoons and love drawing them are bound to be my friends :)

      Its true medication is costlier everywhere else .. even in developed countries however as you said in India.. insurance ... is the only way out !

  5. Hey very nice read, all the best and god bless

  6. Gosh, that really must have been something. I honestly cannot imagine the toll it would have taken on you and your close ones. I, for one, have always been a believer in technology and the advances in medical sciences. But as you say in the comment, it had made us much more casual about our lifestyles too, unfortunately.

    More strength to you and your family, Farida.
    Ten Reasons why I didn't Post

    1. When I think back on those terrible times, I cannot believe I am here today to write about it....

  7. Great Post :-) All the best for the contest :-)

  8. Though medical science may have contributed to your survival, your spirit amazes me! Wow!

  9. I can understand what you have been through. I had a cousin who was not so lucky to survive the cancer. And you know what his age was?? Only 13.
    Glad that you could make out of it.
    All the best to you and your lovely family for future.

    1. That is so sad. I recently went to a program organized by the hospital for children going through cancer. It makes you feel sad and ask the question, "why the children".

  10. The pciture tells a hundered tales ..

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