Friday, July 31, 2009

Ovarian Carcinoma and my family

It snatched my Aai from me on 14th July 1994.

It has taken me 15 years to write about it so that it can benefit some one. This is not a medical advice. It is just my experience and observation of my Aai go through it. Only the person who goes through it can actually tell you what it truly is.

Around May 1993 my mother was suffering bad oral health. She had no vices at all. So it was my Dad's conclusion that it was due to poor maintenance. My Dad is a honorary Yoga Therapist since the late 60s so he understands physiology.

She developed mouth ulcers which became incurable. Nothing helped. She was seeing the general practitioner all the time. The ulcers would subside for a while and then just return.

Aai complained of hardness under the diaphragm. The general practitioner could not figure out why? She went to the gynecologist, she had increased flow and clotty discharges still the doctor did not suggest a pelvic scan.

Meanwhile she was loosing weight. She was wide at the waist, we blamed it on heredity and form, she was a person with the right weight.

None of us dream that a disease is taking root in our body as long as we are able to move around and be independent. It is wrong to have this mind set. Do see a good doctor if you have the slightest doubt.

Then in May 1994. She had lost more weight and was eating lesser. She had an active life though, discharging all responsibilities to the best of her ability. I was having exams at the time so she decided to go on her own to Thal. She wanted to attend the weddings there.

Then in June 94 she called up complaining of severe pain in the abdomen. We thought it was indigestion. She said it was unbearable and was returning to Mumbai with her aunt as she would not be able to manage traveling on her own.

She came home in the afternoon and my Dad took her to Dr. Koli, Sion. He immediately told my Dad that her condition was critical. It was not indigestion. It was ascitic fluid accumulation that was giving her discomfort. Dr. Koli diagnosed correctly and guided us to meet Dr. Sushma at Joy Hospital near Chembur Station.

Dr. Sushma counselled me and Dad and told us to get some pelvic scans, blood tests and a hoard of other test done for my mother. She then advised that my mother had very less time left. She told us not to spend on her treatment and not to put her through this ordeal, instead to give her a peaceful life.

I was furious. How much time Doc I asked? She said max 6 months. That is a lot I said and both me and Dad decide she go ahead with whatever need to be done.

I went to collect the reports the next day or so. It read Ovarian Carcinoma. I was doing my PG then. I was not uneducated. So when I read it I understood. I had lot of anger piling up. Why none of the medical practioners were able to help us before this. It was 3rd stage, incurable. The ovaries had already turned ascitic. They did not give any symptoms that they were affected. It is not a uterus that will discharge to show that there is a problem there.

I remember a Bengali doctor who was brought in to consult. Counselling me that the ovary is the most beautiful organ in a woman's body but very dormant. It never gives any symptoms and it easily turns ascitic.

Dr. Sushma operated my mother with the help of Dr. Irani from Tata Memorial. The operation was done in Joy Hospital itself. It was a two hour long operation.

After the operation my mother was in hospital for about a week. There was a huge tapping in the abdomen that collected the amniotic fluid for 3 days. Even the slightest movement caused pain. Later She was in a stage when pain only brings in silence and blankness. She was not in coma thank GOD!

I would go to bathe her and then go to work. I was an intern at a small company in Thane then. I never told them my problem. Made sure my research work completed on time. Went to the hospital in the evening and spent time with Aai.

I would read the newspaper to her. Then brief her on my day. She would ask, "Tula traas hoto naa? I'd assure her that till I was there no one else would touch her, I would not let anyone.

Then we got her home. For 25 days we would not be able to start chemotherapy. Then on 14th July 94 we took her to the hospital. My Dad went to Parel to get the chemotherapy injection that was available only near Tata Memorial. He came back at 1pm. A junior doctor administered it to her at 2pm. We were told that she might vomit atleast a 100 times as a reaction to it.

Not a single vomit. We had prepared her for it so she also was asking how come no reaction. Then at 6 pm while I was chatting with her she felt uneasy. She asked me to open the window. I saw her teeth jam and she hiccuped twice and head fell back. She was not able to breath. In that situation I was telling her to chant Ram Naam. I knew doctors would not be able to help any more. Yet I screamed for help. Got the doctors, called for the oxygen cylinder. The staff was trying to revive her breathing. They asked me to leave the room and I could see her lifeless body there and doctors administering electrical shocks. They could not find the pulse even in her ankles. Meanwhile I called up at home. My Dad had just reached home and was having tea. I told him I don't think the doctors can save her. He came back to the hospital. He was calm and composed. I told him she was gone.

I did not cry at all. Just gathered all her stuff and got her body checked. I told Dad I would suggest that the body be donated to Sion Medical College. Aai had lived for others and that would be the best then for us to do. She had not pledged her body, at 44 yrs you don't think you are going to die. We had not told her she had Ovarian Carcinoma. She wondered why her symptoms were like TB as she had ascitis.

We got only 25 days. The doctors did whatever they could. She had been through 18 blood transfusions. The end was in a major heart attack. Doctors blame it on the high no. of blood transfusions. It does shock the heart. What could have saved her was an open heart surgery on the spot but the hospitals are never prepared for such crisis surgeries.

After her...

Dr. Sushma and Dr. Irani both advised that since I was at risk I should get a checkup done every 5 years. I was young and keeping a check is the means to nip trouble in the bud is what they said. So far I am healthy with no major trouble.

Got to keep a check as this is a silent intruder.

No comments:

Popular Posts

On Trail