Anirudh (Periampullary Cancer): “Be strong and spread love”

Anirudh agarwal cancer caregiver Periampullary cancer

Hello Everyone, I am not a writer but still i would like to bring this story to all the people who are facing the same problem, pain, agony, anguish, misery and what not which me and my family went through.

 

Before starting I would really like to thank Kishan Shah and Dimple Parmar from the bottom of my heart and would like to congratulate them for the contributions and efforts they are putting and the sacrifices they have made in their lives. Hats off to you guys, you inspire me. You are making the world a better place and I know it takes a lot of guts to do what you are doing through the family of ZenOnco.io and Love Heals Cancer. I thank you for allowing me to write about what we went through when this problem hit us and how we managed to get out of it. I hope it reaches out to the people and helps them fight this menace.

 

So, let me start by telling something about myself. I am a Delhite, born and brought up in Delhi in an amazing family. I have three sisters, all of them married and who all love me like a mother. I being the youngest one has always been the most pampered one I guess and also got the most beating. I am a privileged child. My parents have given me everything. I didn’t have to ask for anything, I didn’t feel the reason to ask for anything as I have more than what I deserve, I guess. I have always been a positive person and have always enjoyed my life, the moments in it, the ups and downs. But I didn’t know that something of such a big magnitude was coming to hit me hard and would shatter me and break me. I could not have imagined what was coming in my life and would be hitting the person, whom I love the most. Probably, this came just to make me realize the love for my mother and how important she is to me and that I need to change the way I treat her and that I love her more and take care of her more. I think it was god’s way of making me realize that you are not doing the needful. Yes, I am talking about “CANCER,” and unfortunately, it happened to my mother.

The Unfolding of Events:

So, it was June last year, and almost a year has passed now. I being a traveler, had been to Uttrakhand for traveling. After I returned, I was full of energy, and my life was going good. In the month end, my mother complaint of itching in her whole body. My mother is a doctor averse and would never want to go to a doctor. She doesn’t like to take the medicines. Also, she being a pious lady and spiritual woman, always believed in natural things and not taking any artificial medicines. She would prefer “desi Gharelu” medications. Also, she would not go to the doctor unless the extreme point comes and the pain or problem is unbearable. She would fight with us to not to go to a doctor. So, finally forcefully (after shouting at her a bit), I took her to the doctor. I think it was 23rd or 24th of June. The doctor had told that she is suffering from Jaundice. I thought its ok, we don’t need to be worried and just take care of her. Things were good, controllable.

 

The itiching was unbearable, trust me otherwise she wouldn’t have complained. The doctor, Mr. Pahwa is a good doctor, thanks to his good wisdom and expertise, he asked us to go for an ultrasound in the lower abdomen, and also, a blood test and after that even a MRI. The reports came on 28th June 2019. We being not medically sound in terms of reading the reports, could not make out much but yes we knew some parameters were not up to the mark. So, now my dad was consulting the doctor and I think the doctor had given him a hint beforehand about being ready to deal with a problem as there were negative indicators. So, on 28th June 2019, I came home early as my dad asked me to come home early. I came back around 5 PM from work. My eldest sister was home to take care of Mom. I went to the doctor to show the ultrasound reports. He told us the reports are not good, there is a blockage in the beginning of the intestine because of which the waste of body is not able to get out of the body. As per him, the blockage could be a stone or could be a tumor. I was shocked for a while. But yes I knew it would be a stone, I said to myself. Again the doctor, he didn’t waste time and gave us the number of a doctor in Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, who was a specialist in removing such objects. So, Dr. Pahwa told us to get us the endoscopy done. I came back home and told my dad everything, he said the doctor had already given him a hint. But again I told him that it would be a stone, I said don’t worry. Well I am poor in expressing myself and also a very reserved person, I don’t really show my emotions, I cannot not be sad for more than 5 minutes I guess. I am poor at showing love, giving hugs, etc. But this day 28th June 2019, I was a bit worried I admit.

 

In the morning of 29th June 2019, the doctor had told my mom not to eat anything. My Mom, she had not eaten anything and though we got an appointment for 10 AM in the morning but yes it was a lot of time for her to have not eaten anything as she used to wake up at 4.AM every day to pray. She is an amazing lady, I tell you.

 

The Doctor at Max Hospital, Dr. Arvind Khurana, he was a busy man, a very humble person. He finally proceeded with the procedure at 12PM as before the procedure, he had to give some medication. After, 15 minutes, he came back out of the room, I had my fingers crossed. I was hoping for the best. He told me, he couldn’t remove the blockage as blood came out as soon as he tried to hit it with the string. He said he will try once more. Fear started sinking in my body. I was still positive, didn’t tell anyone. My dad and my Aunt (Maami) and my youngest sister were waiting outside. He came back after 15 minutes again negative by his body language and told be “beta, papa ya koi aur bada aya h?”?. Till that time my cousin sister had arrived.

 

I called my dad, but he didn’t come in as he knew already. He being a strong man always but was feeble at that moment I knew he was hurting but he didn’t display it.

 

So, my youngest sister, my aunt and my elder cousin sister who also reached by that time was there in the room with the doctor to accompany me and he broke out the news to us. He told us, that there is a tumor in your mother’s body near the intestine, hence the jaundice and the itching. The tumor is big and will need to be operated on. I was stunned/shocked/shattered. I didn’t know what to say. Just asked god, why my mother? who use to pray around 12 hours a day, always do good deeds, always feeding the poor, our maid, sometimes langar for Rickshaw waala, feeding the watchmen, feeding animals, always helping and loving others, and what not? then why her? I still controlled myself and said to myself that we will beat this don’t worry Ani. The Biopsy report will be in our favour and it will be non-cancerous tumor.

 

My mother was taken out of the operation theatre, and I went to see her, my eyes were now moist. She was asleep. She was so weak and was resting peacefully, still no complaints from her side. I went outside to pay the bill and could not control myself and started crying. I told god I would not do anything bad, I promise, but please save her. I have always believed in the barter system with God. I believe that you have to loose something to gain something. So, I told god I will leave something I love a lot for my mother, if you save her as I love her the most. So, I traded something I loved at the second level, I left “BEER”.

 

Now, we knew the problem and knew it was big but still didn’t know that it would be of such magnitude and didn’t know its going to be that tough. The doctor told us about the procedure now.

 

  • Step 1: There would be surgery, whipple surgery, part of intestine, gall bladder, pancreas would be removed. It is one of the major surgeries in the world and one of the most complicated one. Takes around 6-8 hours.
  • Step 2: You might have to go for Chemotherapy
  • Step 3: After Chemo, the chances of survival are 50-50.

Meanwhile, he had sent a small piece of tumor for biopsy to confirm if it was cancerous.

 

This was the end for me. I thought the worst had hit us. But no, god had more planned for us.

 

We all went numb, didn’t know what to do. We went home and started talking. We made sure mom didn’t have even a glimpse of what had hit her. We just told her that a minor surgery is to be done to remove the blockage. Remember this was one of the most important factor in her fast recovery.

 

Now, we started seeing a lot of the best doctors in Delhi. It was night, I and my dad finally had a conversation. We were short of words, I know he was hurting, he said don’t worry we will get her the best treatment, I will put in all the money needed. We made a strategy then.

 

Dr. Arvind Khurana told us to get the PET CT Scan done to check whether the Cancer was localized or if it was there in any other body part as well.

 

After the PET CT scan, we had planned to get 2-3 copies of the same and started meeting doctors without delay, everyone in the family started contributing now. I being a baniya, have a big family. So, I went to see Dr.Subhash Gupta (Max Saket, the best doctor for the procedure) with my Cousin Jeeju, it was tough to get his appointment. He told us the right procedure, the same which doctor Arvind Khurana had told. But he gave us some positivity that don’t worry it is a regular thing for us. After the Operation, the biopsy of the portion removed will be done which will decide whether to go for chemo or not. Plus, he told the chances of survival after operation is 80% but only after seeing the patient condition and stage of the cancer it could be confirmed.

 

My dad on the other hand had went to see Dr. Saumitra Rawat at Ganga Ram Hospital. Well I think, god himself had come on earth to help us this time. He was the doctor we finally decided to go with. My dad and my youngest Jeeju had went to see him. He had also confirmed the same procedure, and had comforted my dad to great level. He had good experience. We divided our strategy now. We had to focus on the operation first. Finally, there was hope.

 

My mother’s condition was deteriorating, my 2nd elder sister and my Jeeju had now come to visit us. They had flown from Kolkata. We went to Gangaram hospital on 03rd of July 2019. We got the basic procedures done as recommended by doctor to get the ECG done. The ECG was fine. Meanwhile, the biopsy report also came which had confirmed what we already knew then.

 

The doctor got the KFT (Kidney Function Test) and LFT (Liver Function Test) done meanwhile, the reports were alarming, there is a pigment called bilirubin in blood the normal level of the same is 0-1. For my mom, it was 18. Highly shocking. The doctor told us he could not do the operation unless it is below 10 or 7. We were worried now. He discharged my mom and advised us for getting stents in the body so that the waste could pass and the Bilirubin can come down. He said it is a normal procedure. We followed his advice, and got it done on 04th of July 2019. He called us next after 5 days. On 11th July 2019 the next report of LFT came. The bilirubin was still 16.89. Only marginal improvement. We were too scared now.

 

On 12th July we again got her LFT done at Gangaram Hospital only to check if the stents were working or not. The LFT report was positive and there was some respite. The LFT had gone now to 10.54. We got her admitted but the doctor discharged her again on 15th July saying let us wait for the bilirubin to come down more so that the risk is less at the time of operation.

 

My mother was mostly on liquid diet for almost a month now. Frankly speaking, we had made the environment around her very positive and had not allowed many people to visit her as it would have made her afraid and inquisitive about whats going on. No doubt still a lot of people came and we had made sure no one talks about cancer. Even we had not told everyone that it was cancer specially in the neighborhood, we had told them it was just a blockage to be removed through a minor surgery. This was also an important step that went right for us.

Time to Operate and remove the cancer!:

It was 25th of July 2019, we went again to Gangaram hospital. My mother was a bit afraid this time as she knew now the operation was ought to happen but we comforted her. She is a strong woman. We got all the tests done. Bilirubin was 4.88 now on 25th July 2019. The doctor said he would operate her on 26th July 2019.

 

Chronology of Events till now (Trust me God has presence on earth through divine souls and these doctors were I guess a result of all the good deeds my mother did and continues to do)

 

Dr. Rajiv Pahwa – Blood Test (LFT, KFT inclusive), Ultrasound, MRI and diagnosis of obstructive Jaundice (Jaundice due to blockage)

 

Dr. Arvind Khurana – Endoscopy, Biopsy and PET CT Scan.

 

Dr. Saumitra Rawat – LFT, KFT, Stenting, Biopsy, ECG, Operation

Operation Day – Whipple Surgery (26th July 2019):

My mother was weighing 39 Kg on that day, too weak, she was being taken to the operation theatre that day, I wanted to go with her. Whipple Surgery is one of the most complicated surgery in the world as told by a lot of doctors, Wikipedia and my doctor friend (He was also very helpful in guiding us though he didn’t have much practical experience). She was taken around 10 AM. We all were a bit afraid given the complicated surgery but we all were positive. The operation started around 12 PM I guess. The doctors were very kind and told us to be positive. At around 5PM, the doctor had called someone, so my eldest sister and the other sister just younger to her went, the doctor showed them the removed portion, part of the process I guess, trust me it was big as intestine is a big organ and a part of it was removed along with other organs as well (Partially). Finally, the operation was over around 7PM. The doctors came out and my dad went to meet Dr. Saumitra Rawat. He told him everything was fine and he had done a good operation.

 

We were allowed to meet my mother a day after that is on 28th July 2019. I and my sister went, I was too afraid, we had to be careful and not let any dust/infection come near her. I went to see her, it was an ICU/CCU, I saw a lot of polybags hanging from her body, lots of drips and pipes. One from her nose, one from her back for pain killer, two-three from her stomach for the juices coming out of it. One for feeding her directly from the stomach. It was hard to see but yes she was conscious and the CANCEROUS TUMOR had been removed from the body. No more negativity and only positivity now I said to myself.

 

For the rest of 15-20 days, I was there in the hospital as the attendant at night, for a week till 1st August I didn’t go to office, but eventually resumed it. Everyone were very cooperative and ensured I am not burdened. My mom was shifted to the General ward on 1st August 2019. God was again testing my patience. So, after the operation, there were some artificial parts joining the organs in stomach. Half of the pancreas removed and I don’t know what other thing was removed, I guess only the doctors know that. So, for 4-5 days after the operation, my mother remained constipated, it was alarming because, now the organs should work properly. Finally, she was better after some medication and the organs were working properly now. The biopsy report came meanwhile, and it said the tumor was removed and the margins were good. On 9th August 2019, she was discharged, with the polybags still hanging, so every day after that for a month at home, an assistant doctor used to visit her for dressing and check whether the wounds were finally dry and healed.

Whether to go for Chemotherapy?:

Now we had to take another decision, whether to go for Chemo or not, well this was a tough one as it had to be done within 15-20 days of the operation. We had a lot of discussions and trust me the opinions had made us confused. We asked the surgeon doctor, he said the operation was fine, the cancer has been removed, now its up to you, some people don’t go for Chemo. My dad saw it as an indication for not going for it. We though went for consultation from doctor in Gangaram itself on the recommendation of the Just junior doctor to Dr. Saumitra. This gentleman again scared us to hell. He told there would be around 20 sittings, and it would be painful and chances of survival are 50-50.

 

Now, this was again a great decision I guess. We decided to not go for Chemo.

 

The Analysis and reasons for not going for it.

  • It would be painful and my mother would come to know that she had cancer.
  • The chances of survival was 50-50.
  • My mother already in her 60’s and we didn’t want to give her more pain.
  • A lot of people were against within our family, personally I was too.
  • The doctor (Saumitra Rawat) had somehow given an indication my dad felt.

Aftermath of the operation and Present scenario:

So, we went for monthly checkups with the consulting doctor, Dr. Saumitra Rawat (Our god). My mother’s health started improving, she started gaining weight now 48 Kg. All the parameters were fine. The diet has improved tremendously. No medications, just one Pantocid which is a normal medicine for Gas. She is happy, we are happy and it has been a year now to the tragic event in our lives. Things are good, I thank god every day for keeping her in good health.

 

We try to keep her positive, I never shout at her. My sisters and I have also told dad not to shout at her, my dad is short tempered, he expresses his love through anger and also because she never listens to him. He has also, changed now though. My mother is much better now, I guess better than ever, good health, happy, cheerful and back to her routine of getting up at 4 AM to pray. She prays more than 12 Hours a day. She feeds the animals, dogs and cows to be precise. Feed the poor, our maid and anyone in need. She is spiritual and satisfied, no complains and just feels grateful to god for everything. She feels she is privileged. She inspires me, she is more active than me, trust me and have all the energy in the world. After meeting her no one can tell that she had gone through so much pain and such a major surgery and that she is more than 60 years old. She doesn’t have any demands, she only talks about daan (Donations). She is right, life is about giving and helping others. Givers are more satisfied and happy than the takers.

What did we do Right? What worked for us?

  • We didn’t lose hope.
  • We didn’t tell my mother that she had cancer, trust me it helped her heal at a greater pace.
  • We consulted the best doctors and didn’t waste time.
  • We didn’t go for Chemo.
  • I changed my attitude towards my mom, earlier sometimes I too used to shout at her but I never do so, I try to keep her positive by cracking jokes, helping her, teasing her. This is my way of telling her that I love her.
  • Keeping people away for one-two months post the surgery was important as people might have spread infection or might have told her about cancer.
  • Keeping full time cook, maids, etc so that she recovers by resting. Eventually, the cooks left now, she has taken up cooking for past 6 months now. She is extremely active, wakes up at 4 AM to pray and she is healthier and healthy.
  • My mother’s routine and eating habits also helped in quick recovery. She follows a healthy routine of getting up early, sleeping early and eating only good food. Nothing from outside. Also, we ensured that the she improves her diet.
  • Always keep the environment positive, if you see anyone doing wrong, stand against it either directly or indirectly. Don’t let the negativity flow in your home. Keep your office stress outside your home and just keep the environment full of love and positive energy.
  • The tradeoff worked for me when I chose to quit Beer.
  • Having good relatives helps a lot, so a lot of my relatives were really very helpful. Specially all my real Jeeju’s, one of my Cousin Jeeju and my Maami.
  • Good friends help a lot. So my mother had few good companions in the Gurudwara who visited her and told her to be positive and that she will be fine soon. I too have a lot of good friends thankfully. They helped me a lot and were there for support and also the doctor friend was a good support.

What did we do wrong?:

So I believe cancer is nothing but negative energy in the body. It happens when the cells which should have been destroyed stops doing so and starts accumulating.

 

There were a few signs and things which we ignored.:

 

  • My mother was becoming negative, she used to see god in people which was a good thing but used to cry by seeing such people.
  • She was losing weight. She was becoming weak. People told me but I ignored it thinking that it was natural as she doesn’t eat any junk and is getting old and probably because she had stopped eating a lot of things.
  • My dad used to shout a lot at my mom, sometimes I too made the same mistake, she had no one to talk to after my youngest sister got married. Though she had a good circle in the Gurudwara near home which is a good thing. She feels good there. (We are not Punjabi’s though neither my mom is)
  • I used to blame myself and my dad for her condition. I eventually realized that it was wrong to blame anyone, it was god’s hard way of letting us know that we have to change and take care of her. So don’t blame anyone for what has happened.
  • Blood test including KFT and LFT, I think getting routine checkups and blood tests done is important for everyone. It would have given us signals.
  • I think women are stronger than men. They hide a lot of pain within them, whether you are husband, father, child, just take care of them. Lend them a helping hand in all the work they do. Household work is not easy trust me.

 

Takeaways

  • Be Patient
  • Be Positive and be hopeful
  • Nothing is permanent. This too shall pass.
  • Spread love and take care of your loved ones.
  • Eat Healthy and follow a good/healthy routine.

 

So this was our story, I hope it helps people to fight this menace and gives them strength in tough times. Remember, nothing is impossible. You have to be strong. If you are a patient, be positive, you are not alone going through this, your family loves you and care for you and you have to fight for them. Your health will improve, you have to take care of your mental health, don’t let negativity around you. You can beat this.

 

If you are care giver, just remember you are the one who can help fight this situation. You have to go through the pain but smile always. You will have to see your loved one going through pain and crying. You will have to be the consoler, even though you might have no one to console you, you will have to be positive, you will have to create an aura and environment of extreme positivity. You will have to express your love towards the patient and have to keep your cool always. You have to be take precautions to let no one with negative thoughts/energy come near the patient. Also, you have to take care of your mental health also. So try, to take out sometime, go for a walk, think good thoughts, think that your loved one is out of this problem. Think they are recovering and think how you want them to be i.e. happy, healthier and joyful. Try to find reasons which you can give to the person fighting cancer to live. Find some ways to engage them so that they forget their pain. And finally believe in the almighty and let love heal all your wounds.

 

Feel free to reach out to me in case you need any help. I would be glad if I could be of any help.

 

Let me give my details if anyone wants to contact me.

 

So, I am Anirudh Agarwal, based out of Delhi. My contact Details are 9871875711
Email ID – anirudhmlagarwal@gmail.com

(P.S. there is signal problem at my home so you can contact me via whatsapp)