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Ramesh (Ovarian Cancer Caregiver)

Ramesh (Ovarian Cancer Caregiver)

At the beginning of the pandemic, my mother was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer stage 3. It was very difficult for us since we were not able to visit the hospital for her checkup and treatment. We come from Tamil Nadu, South India where Corona cases were rising rapidly. There was a lockdown in the entire country and fear was prevailing in everybody's minds. Even the doctors and hospitals were refusing to get her admitted and start the treatment stating that they are allowed to take only limited patients for treatment. Everyone's attention was towards the Covid patients at that time. We had to go through a lot of struggles at that time.

I'll start by saying that Cancer is not just a disease. For the diagnosis, we went for multiple tests like CT scan, PET scan, etc. Fortunately, we found out that the cancer was not spread anywhere.

After the diagnosis, we started planning her treatment. It started with a four-cycle Chemotherapy session. She was also prescribed some medicines- Carboplatin and Paclitaxel by the doctors for her treatment. These medicines had a lot of side effects like decreasing platelet count. We were asked to arrange at least 3 units of blood for her every time she went for her chemotherapy since her platelets could go down anytime. We had to struggle a lot to arrange a donor every time because of COVID-19 and also we were getting treatment in another city.

After completing the Chemotherapy cycle, we went for surgery to remove her Uterus and Ovary. The tumor was large. The doctor suggested we go for three more cycles of Chemotherapy after a gap of 4-6 weeks from the surgery. After the surgery and Chemotherapy, we went for a PET scan where the doctor suggested we undergo VMAT(Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy) and internal radiation. Many types of radiation can be done depending on the type and stage of cancer. My mother's doctor suggested VMAT. She had 31 rounds of VMAT. 

After all the treatment was over, my mother again had a PET Scan done to find out the metastatic state of the cancer in her body which means whether the cancer had spread to any other part of her body or not. We found out the area between her kidneys were getting affected. To treat that, the doctors suggested that we should get two cycles of Internal Radiation. We completed the cycles in two weeks. Meanwhile, we had to keep a check on the Complete Blood Count (CBC) all the time due to her low platelet count.

A diet rich in Vitamin D, and Vitamin C  can help in the increase of the platelet level naturally. If you have a cancer patient at home, you should always keep track of CBC. Every moment is very precious for a cancer patient and must not be wasted. You should have at least three blood donors in touch who are willing to donate blood for the patient, whenever required. 

The doctors said that we should always keep a gap of 6 weeks between every treatment that the cancer patient undergoes. It helps them recover and gain energy for the next treatment. 

We also focused on herbal and natural supplements for my mother rather than giving more and more tablets. We gave her lots of juices and a healthy diet to keep her healthy during the treatment. 

After all the efforts and treatment, my mother finally recovered from cancer. When we were in the hospital, we met many cancer patients who had been going through treatment for the past 4-5 years. They gave us motivation and encouragement. Since I am the only son, I had to face a lot of struggles. But everyone in the hospital helped me and told me not to panic and that everything would be alright. 

If you are a Cancer patient, do not lose hope. Be assured that one day you will win the fight against cancer. 

Life after Cancer

Before the treatment, my mother was not able to do anything on her own but now after the treatment, she is much better and is also able to do all her household work. She is getting better day by day. I regularly check her blood pressure and sugar level. If we see any irregularity, we consult the doctor immediately to get medicines. She also lost a lot of weight during the treatment. But after she recovered she is now gaining weight. 

Handling cancer emotionally

My mothers sister and mother also had cancer. The doctor told us that it is genetic. He also assured me that I shouldnt be scared since it is curative. We followed everything exactly as per the doctor's treatment. 

When we got to know about the news that my mother had cancer, I did not know what to do and cried all the time. But I made sure that I won't cry in front of my mother as it would make her weak to fight the disease. 

Managing the side-effects

My mother's taste buds got very bitter due to the heavy dosage of medicines. So the doctor suggested a herbal medicine which helped her sweeten her taste buds. She used to eat it before taking any meal so that she did not face any difficulty in swallowing the food. 

We always relied on Ayurvedic and Herbal methods to manage the side of that came along with the treatment. It helped my mother a lot apart from the normal treatment of cancer. 

Parting message

Cancer patients have a lot of hair loss during Chemotherapy and Radiation. My mother never looked in the mirror during the past year of her treatment. Now that the treatment is completed, she can look again. 

Please remember that you will heal one day. You have to stay strong and not lose hope at any point in your journey.  

I would also suggest everyone donate their hair at least once in their life for cancer patients. This helps cancer patients to get the wig which helps to boost their self-confidence and stay strong during the treatment. I'm even growing my hair for this cause and will donate it one day. 

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