Hello everyone, I'm Karan Damaria, and I'm from Jaipur. This is the story of my caregiving journey for my father, who was diagnosed with stage 4 Prostate Cancer.
Prostate Cancer Diagnosis
It started two years back when he used to complain about irregular urine flow. His sleep was also disturbed due to irregular tendencies to urinate. We went to our urologist, who initially suggested that it might be some blockage or vein pressing, but also asked us for some tests. After the tests, he also asked for a biopsy, and through the Biopsy results, it became clear that my dad was suffering from stage 4 Prostate Cancer. The cancer had already metastasized to nearby bones. We immediately rushed to an Oncologist with the Biopsy results. I discussed with the Oncologist, the radiologists, and after getting some second opinions, I became more aware of the disease and its available treatment procedures.
Prostate Cancer Treatment
We chose not to opt for Chemotherapy or radiation as I found out that him being a stage 4 Prostate Cancer patient, Chemotherapy could end up doing more damage to him than it could benefit him. Since cancer had already metastasized, Chemotherapy would have been a risk.
We decided to go for an integrative approach, including Ayurveda and some drugs that have cancer healing properties. We also changed his entire lifestyle. Earlier, he used to eat non-veg seven days a week and drink Alcohol also daily. He completely stopped both and became a Vegan. We included a lot of green vegetables, fruits and supplements in his daily diet. We also wholly avoided milk. He also started practicing Yoga 4-5 times a week, along with regular exercise and walking.
He is currently taking a hormonal drug every day and supplements for Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, and other vital vitamins. He is doing fine right now, and all his latest blood reports have been normal. The major Stress is on diet; we should eat well and eat clean. We altogether avoided all dairy products. If we have hormonal cancer, it has been scientifically identified that milk increases hormonal growth, which may not be conducive to our health.
I feel that people should let go of envy, hatred and other aspects that hurt them mentally. I would suggest everyone to do regular Blood Tests and PSA tests to find out any abnormalities.
The first thing about cancer is that people panic when they hear the word cancer. But that's completely unnecessary. I used the resources that were available to me and talked to the doctors whom I could trust. Personally, I wouldn't suggest anyone to go ahead with Chemotherapy blindly. It's not necessary to start chemo on the first day; discuss its pros and cons on length with your doctors. If it is necessary, go ahead with chemotherapy, but also see what else you can do along with it.
Cancer Support Groups
Support groups are an integral part of any cancer journey. We can get A-Z information on cancer, ranging from how to treat it to how to manage the side effects. If not for support groups, we won't be able to have a meaningful conversation with our Oncologist for more than five minutes. I would suggest that even if you have a distant relative who's gone through the cancer journey, don't be reluctant to contact them.
People have this wrong notion that getting diagnosed with cancer means the person will expire in one or two months. But this is a wrong notion. There is a long list of treatment protocols available that can effectively cure cancer.
There is a lot of materials available online. ZenOnco.io has been a great help to cancer patients. All you need to do is to go to their website and start reading. Our first step during a cancer journey is to start educating ourselves about the disease, and their website is the best place to start. And if any confusion prevails, we can contact their team, and they will clear all our queries.
The first thing is not to panic. Keep calm, talk to people, and read a lot about cancer. Every medicine that we give to the patient is essential, and hence we should be well aware of its uses and side effects that it could produce.
I would suggest people to get in touch with the right people who can guide them. I have seen patients who meet with their Oncologists for less than a minute. They just listen blindly to what the Oncologist says and then get the medicine he wrote. This approach won't do the patient much good, as every cancer is unique, and every patient is different.
You need not watch television or news channels; instead, you can watch comedy movies and make the environment very cheerful. As a caregiver, it was my duty to create a cheerful environment for him. We always used to play comedy movies at high volumes on our television, irrespective of whether anybody was watching it.
My suggestion to everybody is to eat clean, work out or exercise regularly, and stay away from envy, jealousy or other negative thoughts. We should stay away from red meat, Alcohol and smoking. If you are diagnosed at a very young age, rather than going for Surgery straight away, check if any other alternative treatment approaches can help you.