‘SNOOPY’ did the job. Yes, he helped detection of CANCER
1.I went out with ‘SNOOPY’, our most affectionate and loving pet dog, for an evening walk during November 1995. While I was talking to a friend of mine ‘SNOOPY’ suddenly pulled me very hard and I fell flat on the ground. I developed very severe back ache. Orthopedician put me back on my feet and I resorted to my normal activities. On the persuasion of a doctor friend, the orthopedician most reluctantly took ‘X-Rays’ of the affected area from three different angles. One ‘X-Ray’ plate clearly revealed that my ‘Dorsal-7’ had collapsed. Doctors visibly appeared very disturbed and worried. After a few more medical investigations I was referred to the Oncologist.
SNOOPY' - the great
2. On 3rd March 1996, I met Dr. Lalit Kumar, Oncologist (Medical), in his OPD at IRCH, AIIMS, New Delhi. Further investigations confirmed that I had ‘BONE CANCER’ called ‘Multiple Myeloma’ and at stage IIIA. The stage IV is the most advanced one. This announcement came as a severe psychological and emotional shock to us. The family faced a great ‘CRISIS’.
3. At that point of time, I was 56 years old and serving as a senior officer in the Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India in Delhi. My elder daughter was preparing for B.A final examination of Delhi University, younger daughter in School and wife a homemaker. In earlier part of my career in Army I took part in ‘Indo-Pak War 1965’ and ‘Bangladesh Liberation War’ 1971 while in B.S.F. I tried to stir up the ‘Soldiers’ spirit in me to face the CRISIS and fight CANCER.
4. I reassessed my responsibilities. Tried to muster my inner strength to overcome the psychological and emotional shock, but it is easier said than done. I had free and frank talks with Dr. Lalit Kumar about his treatment plan, duration, expected results of treatment, risk factors, estimated expenditure etc. Dr. Lalit was very kind to have put me in the clear picture which helped me in quick decision making. I wanted to defer the commencement of my treatment as indoor patient till the completion of my elder daughter’s B.A final examination in April 1996. Dr, Lalit Kumar said ‘Cancer cells grow everyday and very fast. So, loss of even a day is a great loss’.
5. On 7th March 1996, I had ‘Radiotherapy’ at IRCH, AIIMS and went to Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai for second opinion. There, Dr. Suresh Advani, after examining me and my medical papers, told “ I am very happy to see the very aggressive treatment plan of Dr. Lalit Kumar. You are in safe hands. Go ahead and fight it out”.
6. On 5th May 1996, Dr. Lalit Kumar started the first cycle of ‘Chemotherapy’- VAD (Vincrystine, Adramycine and Dexona) continuously for 96 hours i.e 4 days. By early August 1996 I completed four cycles of Chemotherapy at IRCH, AIIMS. Doctors were very happy with the prognosis and were of the opinion that my case was an ideal one for BMT (Bone Marrow Transplantation). Dr. Lalit Kumar explained to us in details all about BMT, it’s positive and negative aspects, including the risk factor. He was very frank and honest enough to tell us that not too many BMTs were done in IRCH till then and I would be the third case in his hand. I as a patient and my family members developed very high respect, confidence and trust in Dr. Lalit Kumar and his team members in IRCH. In the natural process excellent relationship developed between the Doctor and the Patient. We agreed to go ahead with BMT. Necessary preparations were made and I had undergone BMT during 5th Sept – 5th Oct 1996 at IRCH, AIIMS, New Delhi. While lying on the bed inside the ICU, besides pain and agony, my wandering mind used to disturb me a lot. To overcome these, I tried to sink my thoughts into pleasant memories, which perhaps led me to meditation and sound sleep. This experiment worked and improved my inner strength and mental peace.
7. BMT was followed by ‘Interferon’ injections on alternate days for the next two years. In January 1997, doctors declared me as ‘Clinically Disease Free’. It is an achievement for Dr. Lalit Kumar in particular and IRCH, AIIMS, as a whole. I am grateful to them.
8. After BMT, I remained very weak for quite sometime. On the advice of Dr. Lalit Kumar I concentrated on my diet more than medicine. I ate lots of vegetables, fruits and drank plenty of liquid. By the middle of 1997 I regained my physical strength and dark black hair. The CRISIS was controlled. Now I am hail and hearty. I devote my time to ‘Cancer Care’ mission with ‘Cancer Sahyog’, a cancer support group in Delhi and ‘Cancer Care India’, the apex body of cancer support groups in India.
9. The traumatic phase, which I passed through, helped me to realize the great importance of human relationship and value of life deeply. Now I do enjoy every moment and find happiness even in very small event.
D-2/2430, Vasant Kunj,