Detection / Diagnosis:
In December 2018, my wife (caregiver) had severe weight loss and continuous coughing. After doing a CT scan, we consulted an oncologist. It was detected that my wife has a tumor. Her kidney was removed and she fought cancer. Again in June 2019, we saw the same symptoms. After seeing severe weight loss we were sure that cancer has reoccurred. When the results came in, this time it had affected her lungs. We both decided to fight cancer and survive again.
In December 2018, my wife had a severe weight loss. She also faced continuous coughing and lost around 10 kgs of weight all of a sudden which made us very concerned. We were worried that it could be something like a lung infection. We consulted the doctor and he asked us to do a CT scan. After seeing the reports the doctor suggested we make an appointment with an oncologist. The doctor said regarding the possibility of a tumor in the right kidney. We discuss the whole case with the specialist. After discussing the case, the specialist said that it’s a cancerous tumor and for the best, we should remove it as soon as possible. It was best not to wait. We were in such trauma and I was not even ready to leave the hospital. I was thinking of getting rid of it immediately. I got my wife admitted. We then rushed into the surgery. At that time I was not aware of any alternative methods. We were fully dependent on the hospital. Doctors said that we can wait for at least 2 days before conducting the surgery as there will be no problem. But we got the surgery done the very next day. The surgery was a success and they removed her glands so that cancer could not spread anymore in the body. It was hard to digest that her kidney was removed.
After 1 week, her reports came in in which mentioned no further spread in her body and no further treatment was required. After the surgery, we went for regular checkups because we did not know if any tests were to be done or any scan to be taken place. The doctors said we should come after 6 months for a PET scan. It is a required procedure as, after 6 months of the surgery, a PET scan has to be done. This was in January 2019. I was like, there is no need to worry now as cancer has already been treated. Everything went regular and smooth until June 2019. She had the same symptoms again like severe weight loss and frequent coughing. We were alerted. PET scan was due in July 2019, so we thought to wait. We went to the hospital, consulted the doctor, and we got the PET scan done. In the PET scan, cancer was completely spread through my wife’s lungs and the doctor mentioned it as stage 4. They said it cannot be easily reversed and this time it can take 2 or 3 years. They said they could try their best. This recurrence of cancer was distressing for us. We asked the doctor how it could spread when the surgery was successful. The doctor mentioned that it must have spread through some nerve cells or blood vessels. I felt like they would have added chemotherapy or radiation therapy to prevent this situation.
The doctors would have taken some precautions at that time to prevent the situation. But the doctors were very friendly, and the treatment at the hospital was also good. So we continued with them. Doctors started giving my wife targeted therapy. It involves treatment with some tablets like immunotherapy. My wife was entirely down this time due to the side effects of all the treatment.
The doctors said her survival is challenging. I started doing researches and studies from Google, Telegram, Facebook, etc. I came across many alternative methods. After reading all the testimonials and stories, I thought the doctors are doing as per their conviction. I realized that allopathic treatment is not everything. There are so many things beyond allopathic treatment. I developed a different kind of confidence in myself after reading those testimonials and doing proper research. The testimonials boosted me. I told my wife to give me three months and she will be alright in three months. So, we continued the immunotherapy, but we also started the alternative treatment.
At the end of the three months, somewhere in September 2019, we did a PET scan again. We saw that the tumor had disappeared entirely. The doctors were shocked. They were surprised and asked how this is even possible. They said it is the 1st case like this. I gave them a hint that we were pursuing alternative treatment. They said not to stop the medicine and keep continuing it.
Later, when I asked them about immunotherapy, they said it is better to continue it as long as it is working. After reading all the testimonials, we decided to stop the immunotherapy. We continued with the alternative treatment. Till 2021, we never visited the hospital though there was regular blood testing to be done to make sure everything is under control. we finally started feeling like we are back to normal, and it is working well for us with the alternative medicines. We have not stopped the medicines since then and will continue lifelong.
At first, I tried the medicines myself, and then I started giving her the medicines making sure that it is harmless. I was convinced by the medicine. It worked well and did not have any side effects. I have also read that CBD helps in preventing cancer, and many people had taken that. It is good medicine for cancer. Cancer word itself is scary, but there is always a way out of it. One should always fight back despite the outcome. We just have to find the right way and approach.
The news about my wife’s cancer was a shocking discovery for our family and friends. Cancer was not that common at that time, but later people started telling us the stories of their known ones who were diagnosed with cancer. The news was shocking, especially for my wife’s uncle. He was around 70 at that time. Now he is 75 years old. Her uncle was not married to take care of her. We did not reveal the news to him immediately when she was diagnosed. We disclosed it later when her kidney was removed, and she was out of danger. The same we did when cancer reoccurred. We did not inform them about it immediately, but we waited for her to get cured first.
Life as a Caregiver:
As a caregiver, my lifestyle took a drastic change. For my support, I always had my brother and my family besides me. He was always there as a pillar of our family. He knew the medications and various procedures. I think to understand things and to face them we have to build ourselves up and take a step forward towards the journey. We have to stay strong, confident, and have faith in ourselves because there is always a way.
Obstacles during the Treatment:
There were no financial issues during the treatment as we were insured and it covered a certain amount of money. It was more of an emotional thing. We started taking a three-month course at the hospital itself, which covered all the aspects like how to deal with and face our emotions etc. we took these classes every alternative day. It was suggested to have some family time before going to sleep like watching some comedy movies together, playing games, listening to a podcast or some songs, etc. we also started doing pranayama. These things helped me and my wife to get over our emotional stress. Such activities can help a patient heal faster than a patient staying in their bed and worrying about the future.
While going through the journey, I learned that we should always have a 360-degree approach. Apart from emotional baggage and medicines, my wife and I followed a strict diet. We got a diet chart from the dietitian at the hospital. There were minor things to be taken care of, like using jaggery instead of white sugar or drinking 1/4th lemon in hot water straight in the morning to balance the body’s PH level. We replaced everything in our eating habits. Salt was replaced with pink salt; polished rice was changed to unpolished or brown rice, milk was substituted with almond milk, etc., to stay more fibrous and nutritious.
I also changed my eating habits to support my wife. I was a non-vegetarian and she was pure vegetarian. I stopped eating non-vegetarian meals. I switched my whole lifestyle to support my wife. After some time, these changes were not a big deal to us. In the initial 1st month, we had trouble adapting to it. But now we feel the change very normal.
Managing Professional Life:
Handling my professional life with my personal life after my wife was diagnosed became quite a challenge. It was not an easy thing as I had to travel from Bangalore to Mumbai for work. I used to stay in Mumbai also. I had a very understanding and cooperative boss, so she allowed me to work from the Bangalore office. Once I started working from the Bangalore office, it was easier to manage everything.
Thoughts during the Journey:
The cancer word itself is very scary. But I believe there is always a cure for it. I was confident that cancer could be cured, and we can go back to our regular life. In my entire life, I never had confidence in anything else. I believe with hard work, and faith one can surpass anything. These are the two things one can hold onto their life at any point. I believe there is always a way. We have to take a deep dive and face everything with complete faith in ourselves. One should never give up anything in their life.
Lessons Learned During the Journey:
During the journey, I learned that no matter what you are going through, you can always be helpful to others as I helped many people by telling how the alternative method was showing improvement in my wife’s journey, what sort of medicines I was giving her that were helpful, and what diet we were following. I believe one’s journey can help many people out there to go on the right path. I took the risk of pursuing an alternative method rather than going for a conventional one. Sometimes it is better to step out of the comfort zone and take that risk and always try to understand how things work and how they can go on.
I always had faith in myself that everything will go back to normal during the whole journey. As a caregiver, I suggest to everyone going through the same journey that you should never give up in life no matter what life throws at you. Give some time, and things will always go back to normal. We can always fight through tough times. Everything changes eventually. Just have faith and confidence in yourself and let it surpass you.