Cancer treatment--Part one.

GV Rama Rao By GV Rama Rao, 20th Oct 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Drugs & Medicines

Cancer is not a dreaded disease as it is made out to be. With proper treatment, timely medication and strong will to fight, one can fight this disease. If I could do it, so can you.

Cancer treatment--Part one.


When my wife complained of general weakness and inability to retain any food, the family physician asked for a comprehensive blood report. When the report indicated the presence of a large number of malignant cells, he ordered a CT scan which revealed cancer stage four. It was time to press the panic button and swing into action. I rushed her to Yashoda Hospital Secunderabad, renowned for its treatment of cancer. The doctors, had considered her age and the widespread disease, ordered chemotherapy and admitted her.

The cancer ward has three sections for patients undergoing Surgical, Radiological and Chemo therapies. My wife was admitted to the medical ward and given an independent room with all amenities.

This section has a long corridor with rooms on either side, and the general-ward catering for people of lesser income is at the end. The walls are white, brilliant white, but they show gloom and despair. The paint had shed its sheen probably to condole the numerous patients who went through the traumatic experience in the ward and in deference to the souls of persons who breathed their last in the ward. The false ceiling is flat, but one can see many lives hanging by slender threads from it. The ceiling sags in several places unable to withstand the weight. The floor of ceramic tiles littered with remnants of shattered lives, crushed hopes and devastated dreams looks equally depressing.


The silence in the ward is deafening. The only noise is from the occasional bell ringing in the Nurses' station seeking help. The nurses who answer these calls wear uniforms of different colors. The junior most nurses who attend to minor tasks wear whites with red piping. The seniors who attend to difficult tasks like IV drips, etc., wear whites and monitor the treatment prescribed by doctors. A few doctors, mostly intern, sport a white coat on their normal dress and a stethoscope around their neck. They read the case sheets of the patients admitted and operate the computer to keep themselves abreast of the treatment and progress of each patient in the ward.

Chemotherapy consists primarily of administering the necessary injections prescribed by the doctor called Medical Oncologist. The injections, unlike other injections, are given in the form of IV fluids. The injection is filled into a partially drained saline bottle.
The process of administering the injections takes not more than a few hours, and the patient is discharged the same day.

My wife’s treatment for advanced-stage cancer was a number of cycles of injections. Each cycle of three weeks consists of Herceptin, and Paclitaxel followed by two weekly rounds of Paclitaxel. The patient’s response to the drugs, tolerance levels and progress is monitored after every cycle, and the cycle is repeated adjusting the dosage as required. Cancer is an expensive disease, for each cycle costs about Rupees two lakhs ($4500). Injection Herceptin alone costs Rs 1.4 lakhs($3000). There has been much debate about the high cost of drugs, with the manufacturer blaming the distributor and some suggesting kickbacks to the doctor. The Government of India is trying to make the medicine affordable to the common man.
The main injection Herceptin, by itself, is harmless and has less or no side effects, whereas the other injection has a debilitating effect on the patient. My wife lost several things rapidly: weight, her hair and control of bowls and bladder. After three cycles of treatment, she looked like a veritable broomstick and could barely speak. She decided several times to give up. I, being a retired seaman, persuaded her not to abandon ship and motivated her to fight the disease until her last breath. Every morning, I wished her good morning and said she looked much better, and recovery was just around the corner. I don’t know how much she believed me, but she invariably smiled and made my heart jump with joy for a few seconds.
I had attended to my wife, day and night, for three months and derived immense satisfaction from it. I felt proud like a soldier who had discharged his duties to the best of his abilities. I was certain, with my care, and the treatment provided by the hospital, my wife would come through the ordeal with flying colors and regain her health soon.
(To be continued).

Tags

Bedridden, Blood Report, Ct Scans, Debilitating, Herceptin, Iv Method, Loss Of Control Of Bowls And Bladder, Loss Of Hair, Loss Of Weight, Paclitaxel Injections, Stages Of Cancer

Meet the author

author avatar GV Rama Rao
I am a retired naval officer and a published author with three books to my credit. I am a winner of nanowrimo competition for 2008,9, &10. I like humor best..

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Comments

author avatar Buzz
21st Oct 2011 (#)

It must be an agonizing ordeal having to go through your wife's suffering, GV. I'll wait for the 2nd part.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
21st Oct 2011 (#)

What a dreadful time you and your wife have been through. I await Part Two...and hope everything turns out well. You describe the scenes of hospital wards etc so well, I felt I was living through it all with you.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
22nd Oct 2011 (#)

My dear Sheila Newton,
True they were testing times.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
22nd Oct 2011 (#)

My dear Buzz,
Thanks for ur comment. Posting part two today.

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author avatar Aaradhya
22nd Oct 2011 (#)

Really helpful information sir....!

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
23rd Oct 2011 (#)

My dear jananee,
Thanks for your comment.

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author avatar Songbird B
13th Nov 2011 (#)

A very personal share my dear friend, but so beautifully written..My thoughts and prayers are with you both in beating this dreaded disease..

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
13th Nov 2011 (#)

My dear Songbird B
Many thanks for your comment.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
13th Nov 2011 (#)

My dear Songbird B
Many thanks for your comment.

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