My wife belongs to Mumbai, and all her treatment was done here itself. She was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer in 2009. Her left breast had been affected, and she underwent 21 cycles of chemotherapy in total. To be precise, she needed 6 cycles of chemotherapy for 21 days and 15 weekly cycles. Additionally, she required 6 radiation sittings.
My brother and father have already been cancer fighters. So, my wife was well aware of a cancer patient’s pain. She was not novel to such a situation. As soon as her breast cancer was detected, the first thing I did was to explain only one thing. I told her that I would ensure she gets treated at the best hospital by the best specialists, but what she eats during her treatment is entirely up to her. There may be things she loves to eat, and there may be things she hates, but she must forget her taste buds and focus on recovery. I am a pharmacist by profession, so I have seen countless cancer patients during their battles. I understand how things in this domain work, and a healthy diet is the key to quick and effective recovery.
Since time immemorial, my family has always been inclined to home remedies. For example, when anyone has a bad cough at home, we do not rush to the store to buy medicines. On the contrary, we use rice water for quick healing, and it has always been active. Our traditions profoundly influence our perspective, and it is precisely what motivated my wife to eat healthily. We did not seek any external help or anything of that sort when the battle was going on. People were amazed when they heard that my wife was not bedridden even for a day. So, also, when she underwent stressful chemo sessions, she would wake up early at home, pack tiffin for my children, look after me, and function as she did earlier. We never treated my wife as a “patient” or made her feel that she is incapable of doing any activity. It is crucial to keep the sufferer active at home because of the moment they sit idle, they start thinking about their problems and ill-health. Though onlookers may not realize, psychological functioning and mental state must also cure. The patient is already undergoing so much, so the last thing they need is any more extra stress or tension from external sources.
I have always recognized the importance of a healthy and balanced diet. What you eat impacts your healing. It is simple logic that nutritious food items can boost your healing while junk dishes can do the opposite. I am proud of my wife for following a proper diet daily that helped her maintain energy levels, platelet count, and bodily functions. In fact, it also helped her to tackle the common side effects of chemotherapy. Unlike most other cancer fighters, my wife did not experience any nauseousness or puking.
Support from the family members is critical to help the cancer fighter in his or her recovery process. Though I have said time and again that they must follow a diet, I feel that it is the family members’ task to participate in the process and ensure to feed the patient. They must try to make nutritious foods as tasty as possible. Otherwise, the patient will not be able to consume them daily. I want to share some of the most primary things that we had implemented. Items such as wheat grass juice, aloe vera, and soaked dried fruits are essentials. Here, family members can participate by soaking the dried fruits the previous night, giving aloe vera in the morning, and by making fresh wheat grass juice.
One of the best soups that helped my wife recover faster was an all-natural soup that we made at home. It has many ingredients, such as drumsticks, neem, turmeric, tulsi, etc. Additionally, we have another dish that includes green lentils (moong) that we first crush and then mix with fresh cow ghee. You can add a few drops of lemon to it and make it yummy! Thinking from a patient’s perspective, they anyway have a very reduced appetite. In such a situation, it becomes challenging for them to have raw food items. These are necessary items you can easily find at home, and they do not burn a hole in your pocket. Moreover, you get adequate protein at home. I choose green lentils over other pulses because things like kidney beans can be hard to digest.
A highly debated item in India is cow urine. While some have spoken of its health benefits, some wrinkle their noses even at the thought of it. But personally, it has been a boon. For those who do not know, cow urine has several anti-cancer properties. But that does not mean that a patient can have it like a drink. The best way to consume cow urine is by mixing one spoon of it with five spoons of water.
I did not face any problems with the doctors. Being from this field myself, I was thankful to meet the right people along the journey who extended full and hearty support. However, I want to grasp this opportunity and educate others about the extortion that exists in this field. Well-known and reputed hospitals promise to charge patients nothing more than MRP. However, that is very expensive, and I do not think that the common man can afford it. The authorities take advantage of people’s helplessness, and the masses have no other options. The Government must look into this and take strict action to curb such practices. There must be better regulations to stop this behavior from medical workers. Things that are actually supposed to be priced at 2000 are sold at 15000. Though I did not face this difficulty, I speak on behalf of thousands of others.
When we discuss the things to avoid, oil is one of the worst things that you can consume. It has low nutritive value and hampers the body organs. Avoid sugar and fried food at any given time. None of us can challenge fate, but it is our duty to take precautions and fight cancer with all our power.
My wife did not have a particular role model during her fight, but every family member was there for her. It is common to have visitors over who want to meet the patient and share their thoughts. But I have noted that these visitors often share negative instances more than positivity. This can lead to severe trauma for the fighters. It is vital to create an optimistic vibe. Another thing to remember is that visitors may often be exposed to outside pollution, germs, and bacteria. Now, the patient’s body is anyway weak from the chemotherapy sessions and functions on reduced immunity. It is a sensitive period, and the patient must be protected from any possible infection. In a nutshell, restrict the visitors you have!
My father was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma at an initial stage in 1990. At that time, he had needed 12 cycles of chemotherapy to recover completely. Here, it is first important to understand the period that I am referring to. Though there had been countless medical and technological advancements, it was nowhere close to where we stand today. So, today we have easy availability of antidotes to fight nauseousness and vomiting. But at that time, there was no such antidote. I remember seeing my father go through a lot, and we would genuinely feel his pain and suffering.
Today, social media is such a dominant part of our lives. The worldwide web has made it possible for us to find any solution we want. There are so many articles on home remedies for treating cancer, different treatment methods, pros and cons, side-effects, and whatnot. But none of this existed that time. My father was treated for six months, and today he is absolutely fine. So it’s true that there have been several challenges in our lives, but we always tried our best to fight back and emerge victoriously.
I see a stark difference between the mindsets earlier and today because that was a time when the sufferer would hide his pain to give strength to everyone around him. My father would inspire us that everything will be perfect, and there is nothing to worry about. These words were more than reassuring and gave us a renewed sense of happiness and hope. Today he is 82 years old and as active as his age permits him to be.
I had already started working in this field, so that time, too, I was fortunate to meet the right doctors who showed us the right path. Even when my father was battling cancer, he did not be bedridden or show any signs of lack of work motivation. Each day he would sit at the shop and show full participation in the chores. His will-power is commendable and sets an example for both the older generations and the newer ones.
Last but not the least, we did not face any financial constraints because we have a close-knit community that is always available to help one another. With such supportive people around us, we thank God every day for giving us courage and sensibility.