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Kartikeya & Aditi Mediratta (Blood Cancer): He Has Been His Own Biggest Advocate

Kartikeya & Aditi Mediratta (Blood Cancer): He Has Been His Own Biggest Advocate

Early Symptoms, Misdiagnosis and the final revelation:

Around April 2017, I and my husband were working in different cities and he was staying in Bangalore alone. He regularly practised Yoga and was physically fit, but suddenly started suffering from fever, night sweats and breathing difficulties. When it didn't get better for a couple of weeks, we saw a nearby doctor.

Initially misdiagnosed with tuberculosis, he began the treatment in Bengaluru. However, he didn't get better and a senior pulmonologist figured out that something was wrong. After a series of tests and a surgical biopsy, we came to know that he was suffering from T Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, a rare form of aggressive Blood Cancer.

Gearing up for the fight:

As soon as the news spread, most of our relatives back in Gurgaon and New Delhi started offering help. We felt very lost due to a lack of enough information. Blood Cancer was not something we knew or understood. We never thought it could happen to us. It took us some time to realise the gravity of the situation. All at once, we were overwhelmed with information yet still felt uncertain about the right steps to taking to do. Choosing treatment protocols, managing finances, and making decisions about our jobs—all seemed complex.

Lack of Information:

Due to the lack of a support system in Bangalore, we took him back to Gurgaon and started treatment there, hoping for a better environment. His extended family has several doctors who helped navigate the first few weeks. He is a person who works with a lot of information and likes to face the truth. Unfortunately, doctors and hospitals often withhold information, thinking it might overwhelm patients and their families. We kept circling the oncology and nursing staff to find basic things such as the length of our treatment protocol.

Our hospital in Gurgaon was extremely busy and crowded and it was hard to get the care and attention Kartikeya needed.

The Tirade against Cancer:

Kartikeya turned out to be his own biggest advocate. While he had all the help he needed from family and friends, he chose to ask his doctors difficult questions to make better-informed decisions about his treatment and survival. Keeping in the dark about the treatment protocol is not a great way to deal with a cancer patient.

Ultimately, we spent 3 months getting treatment in Gurgaon and Kartikeya took the bold decision that he wanted to find a hospital and oncologists who would listen and care more. He wanted to move back to Bangalore, start going to work again and resume normalcy in life as far as possible, even with two years of intensive treatment remaining.

A God-sent Angel:

cancer care

This is when we understood the importance of doing proper research and consulting and finding a trustworthy doctor and hospital system. We showed Kartikeya's reports to Dr.Hari Menon who had recently started working at Cytecare Hospital in Bangalore. He has been a god-sent angel along with all the doctors and staff at Cytecare. When we met him, we immediately knew getting treated by him would make Kartikeya feel infinitely better. With a rich background of over two decades and a very caring and experienced nursing and palliative care team, we realized how proper care is meted out to Blood Cancer patients.

The Road to Recovery:

My husband started feeling better! Most of his tumours started dissolving. His blood counts used to fluctuate due to the impact of chemo, but Dr Menon gave him the freedom to go to work whenever he could. His philosophy is to allow patients to deal with Blood Cancer similar to any other disease. Halting one's life is no way to live. With the amount of care, respect and love Kartikeya got from his new treatment team, he felt much stronger emotionally and this also improved his physical recovery.

My mother-in-law took a year-long sabbatical to care for Kartikeya. We were both able to join work and were lucky enough to have support at our workplaces too. That had an invaluable impact on the overall situation. The medical treatment was over by the middle of 2019.

Parting Message:

The Patient and caregiver have to be the biggest advocate. Arm yourself with as much information as possible and ask the right questions. Control the urge to Google prognosis data and side effects of drugs. Irrespective of our health conditions, we must educate ourselves about health insurance. I was so uninformed that I hadn't even named him as a nominee on my corporate insurance

Most of us downplay our medical issues and are caught unprepared when faced with major health challenges like blood cancer. Even doctors try to suppress issues. Our country lacks the infrastructure and support system for cancer patients and their families. However, with individuals like Dimple and initiatives like ZenOnco.io, we are reassured that the future is in better hands.

 

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