Shutterbug's Blog

Living with Multiple Myeloma in Hyderabad , India . Random musings .


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Update on my Condition – Multiple Myeloma

It is 3 months since I had my Bone marrow test .My results were -ve , No M-spike was seen.However , my Oncologist wanted me to be back with my CBP , LFT and RPT reports after 3 months. I actually expected he would say  I can come back after one year 🙂 but he didn’t want to take any risk. So I complied. I remember him saying that after 5 years of having the Transplant (Bone marrow Transplant) , I will have to take the Bone Marrow Test once every year. For the past 5 years I have been doing the test every 6 months .

My Hb touched 11 for the first time in decades. The range for a healthy woman as per my report is 11-14. This is an achievement !! A record break !!

Yayyyy !!

My Globulin Serum too is 34 which is well within the range. A bigger achievement !!

He was very happy on seeing the reports 🙂  and exclaimed ‘you are off all medication isn’t it ?!!’.

I said “Yes Doctor, but I am continuing to take Curcumin and I am sure it is helping me “.

It is one year since I stopped chemo and taking only Ayurvedic medication.

He then asked me , “Do you think  people should go for a Bone Marrow Transplant”.

I was confused.

I immediately said “yes,  there is no other option “.

I then reminded him about the advise he gave me , after my Bone Marrow Transplant (in Jan 2011)  , about using “Tinaspora Cordifolia” , to improve my immunity. Later on , it was this advise that motivated me to look for alternative treatments and I finally found the way.

Having started using Curcumin 2 years ago ,followed by good results , I had been very eager to push Curcumin  and I wanted my Oncologist to prescribe Curcumin along with Tinaspora Cordifolia to all his other patients.In fact, I started using Curcumin, two years ago, just when I was advised to go for a second Bone marrow transplant .

The right time had arrived and I blurted out ” Doctor , you can also recommend Curcumin to other patients. I have read a lot on the Internet and it prevents and treats all types of cancers.My ayurvedic doctor gives me Tinaspora Cordifolia too ,along with Curcumin and some other herbs”

He nodded and  I felt relieved that I finally said what I wanted to say :))

It is a delicate situation wherein a patient suggests an Allopathic Doctor to prescribe Ayurvedic Medication to his other patients . I am so glad that my Oncologist is open to try out other forms of treatment and encourages his patients.

Hopefully more patients will benefit and will be encouraged to try ayurveda , the way I did.

My sincere thanks to Dr Kochar, Ayurveda and Dr Suresh , Oncologist.

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Health , Nutrition and South Indian Recipes with Korralu (Foxtail Millets)

Rice is a staple food of a majority of South Indians. Most of us cannot imagine life without rice . Craving for rice begins after 24 hours of not eating rice:)) . I too belong to South India 🙂 and a major part of my diet used to comprise of rice. Rice is an ingredient in our Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The kind of rice that is usually available in most stores is highly polished and hence deprived of nutrients and is left with carbs. After learning about how cancer cells feed on sugars and carbs , I started my research on ways to minimize consumption of rice . Rice is an ingredient in several traditional South Indian dishes like Dosa , Idli , pongal , pulihora etc. Plain rice is eaten with other ‘curries’.

I came across ‘millets’ a couple of years ago and gradually started incorporating these in my diet.

Millets are a group of food grains grown in semi arid areas. These are ancient grains which have not undergone selective breeding.There are several varieties of Milliets . Pearl, Foxtail,Finger, Sorghum etc. Millets are gluten free, are alkaline,have low GI and anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is the major cause of a lot of chronic diseases in the body. Millets are usually not attacked by pests and hence are relatively free of pesticides. Millets have higher amounts of minerals and fiber than wheat and rice. Good for putting a check on Diabetes, cholesterol etc

I will be focussing on Foxtail Millets in this post. They are called ‘Korralu’ in Telugu.
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These are a very close substitute to rice and can be used in the preparation of a variety of traditional South Indian dishes.

Korralu (whole grain) can be cooked just the way we cook rice.Replace rice with korralu , for rice preparations like Pulihora, Kichdi,sweet pongal etc.
Batter for idli and dosa is prepared by substituting rice with foxtail millets. Brown rice, foxtail millets and Urad Dal  can be added in equal proportions to make a batter for Idli and dosa.

Korralu ravva is also available in a few supermarkets and organic stores. Idli can be made using this ravva. Upma too can be made with this ravva.

You might have to experiment a bit with the quantities. The taste , colour , texture might differ slightly from what you are normally used to . The idlis may be harder than the usual stuff  when you make them for the first time with millets. The texture of dosas  too might vary.Think of the nutrition rather than the look ,feel and taste. With experience you will be able to do a better job 🙂

Add cooked Foxtail millets to your favourite salad too,instead of quinoa.Also add foxtail millets in moong dal dosa.Get creative and adventurous !!

Lots of recipes are available on youtube.Check them out !

 

 

 

 


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My ‘Life Support System’

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I wouldn’t be treading this beautiful planet if it weren’t for some special people in my life to whom I will be forever indebted.

My Oncologist , a thorough  gentleman always positive and encouraging . When I had questions he would patiently explain in detail. Made the ASCT ( Autologous Stem Cell Transplant) process appear very simple which helped me go ahead with confidence. I completely surrendered to him He continues to support me while I try alternative therapies.
My parents who had sleepless nights and helped me recover from the terrible after effects of chemo. At times I would be so irritated with the discomfort that I would push away the glass of drink that my dad offered to me.
I am so sorry Nanna.
Love you Amma , Nanna .

Hubby makes sure I have all the medicines at all times …reminds me when I am due for the blood tests,fixes an appointment with the doctor. I don’t have to think when my next blood tests are due. Took care of me like a baby , feeding and giving medications on time when I was admitted in the hospital before and after the Transplant. His highly disciplined military style ensures that everything happens on dot 🙂  Nurses can relax  when he is around 🙂 He has been very patient all the while and continues to bear with my grumpiness till date.My son too bears with my erratic behavior .

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I am so grateful to my organisation that bore all the expenses for the Transplant.
My colleagues at work have been super accommodating. I would go to work but did not have the energy to take up any tasks…they just patiently waited for me to bounce back.Initially it was very difficult for me to sit for 10 hrs every day including travelling. No one ever made me feel that I was sick. They didn’t shun me nor avoided me, which is what I had expected. I was part of all the events and occasions. Such wonderful people they are.Once I had  bounced back I started volunteering for more assignments and now I am also made responsible for some important tasks in the organisation.

I also have good domestic help to take care of the household chores. To take care of cooking and cleaning and to drive me to work everyday. May God bless them.

I am also being taken care of by Mother nature which is nourishing me through the various leaves, seeds and roots of medicinal plants. I have also surrendered myself to my Ayurvedic doctor who is treating me with various herbs.

There are also a few good online friends who keep me going with their encouraging words.

How can I not mention the invisible spiritual guidance which is supporting me all the while. Without which I would have given up the fight long ago.

A disease like Cancer requires hell of a lot of support from all directions and from within.

How many are blessed with this kind of support system. It pains me a lot to see the suffering that people are going through and are giving up due to various reasons. A lot more has to be done quickly by  medical research. Oncologists and hospitals should treat patients with a holistic approach by including counselling sessions to the patients and  their caregivers.Alternative therapies should be a part of the treatment.

Feeling blessed.

  ~~Lokaan Samasthaan Sukhino Bhavanthu~~


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Allopathy and/or Alternative treatments for Cancer

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Depending on past experience (self or others) , nature of the disease and stage of the disease, people choose Allopathy or  Alternative treatments like Naturopathy, Acupuncture ,Homeopathy, Ayurveda etc.

When the situation is not critical , one can choose Alternative therapies. But when the patient is in a critical stage do not hesitate to go for Allopathic treatment . Get a second or third opinion.Agree Allopathy is expensive but do not take any risk at this point.

When I was first diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma , the thought of Alternative treatments didn’t arise. I was in a state of denial . I didn’t want to accept that I had cancer.I didn’t dare to type the word ‘cancer’ . We immediately took a second opinion and went ahead with Chemo followed by Autologous Stem Cell Transplant (SCT). This was in Jan 2012. It was only after 3 yrs of SCT , when my plasma cells started increasing again that I started scouring the internet for Alternative treatments. By then it was obvious that Chemo is not a permanent solution and comes with a lot of side effects.

Thankfully, I had the hope and confidence that I would find a solution and didn’t give up.

Alternative therapies can be started once Allopathic treatment, ie Chemo/ Radiation/surgery, is done and the patient is in remission. One can also take Alternative treatments simultaneously after consulting experts.

It is strongly advisable to take your Oncologist into confidence when you wish to start Alternative treatments.Don’t ever stop the medication give by your Oncologist.

My strong advice is that you start looking for Alternative therapies as soon as one is diagnosed . The patient or their caretaker can do it.There’s a lot of information on the Internet.  Ignore any negative information.

Read blogs of people who are doing well and cured themselves. The first blog that I came across was margarethealthblogs.com . I was introduced to Curcumin by Margaret.

Watch youtube videos on the methods that several people are adopting to cure cancer.

Join online forums where you can share your problems and you may get some advise.

In India, yoddhas.com is one such forum. They are on facebook too.Feel free to share your concerns.Only when we open up and share , we receive help. It was through this forum that I met some wonderful people who have helped me to be where I am now.

Continue to look for other solutions even if you have started using an Alternative therapy.

Some options are : Juicing, Exercise , Deep breathing , Meditation , Positive thinking , Eliminating foods like sugar , white rice , dairy , maida (all purpose flour) and other acid forming foods in your diet and  include more alkaline foods .

Check your B12, Vitamin D , Calcium, Uric acid levels as often as you can along with other regular tests like CBP, LFT and RFT.

There are a lot of self help books written by those who have successfully battled cancer. Read up and follow them. I have read two inspiring books recently , namely ‘Dying to be me’ by Anita Moorjani and ‘You can heal yourself’ by Louise Hay. Both have healed themselves of cancer and helping a lot of people to heal themselves.There are a lot of videos by them on youtube.

 

 ‘If you think you can, or think you can’t , you are right’ – Henry Ford 

 


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Book Review – ‘Dying to be me’ by Anita Moorjani

A colleague recommended the book ‘Dying to be me’ by Anita Moorjani.

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It is the true story of Anita, who had a Near Death Experience when she was almost on the verge of dying from Cancer,went into coma but recovered completely in a few weeks after that experience.A miracle by all standards.

I have come across people who have been managing quite well and living for several years. I recently learnt about a woman who was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma 23 years ago.She meditates regularly and is doing fine.

While reading the book ,I was nodding at every point that was mentioned by Anita. About how we restrict our true feelings for the sake of society, about how we feel inadequate , how we give the least priority to ourselves etc.

Her experience during NDE about feeling one with all the beings in the universe , about realising that we are made up of love , about experiencing past present and future simultaneously , feeling love for all beings etc are all the same stuff that all spiritual masters have been saying all along and is written in various biographies and scriptures of hinduism and possibly other religions too.

I picked up the following from another link.

Things Anita Moorjani learned from her Stage Four Cancer & Ensuing NDE:

1. You attract what you fear.

2. If you’re sick, don’t fight it. Embrace it. Love where you are now. Only when you approach your health challenges from a point of love can you overcome the fear.

3. Sometimes less information is better. When it comes to illness, more information does not necessarily equal more power (too much research can actually add to the fear and symptoms).

4. Through your illness, your body is giving you a message. Work to understand and be with what is.

5. Everything comes from within.

6. Ask yourself, “What brings me joy?” And do more of that.

7. Don’t obsess and make your life about the illness.  

8. Love yourself unconditionally.

9. Positive thinking can only help to a certain extent. It’s more about being yourself and loving yourself – regardless of what you are going through.

10. Stop judging yourself.

11. Express yourself fully. Ask yourself: “Am I allowing myself to express who I am?  Am I being this person because I want to be accepted, or because it is who I am?”

12. Be centered in your true essence. From the place of pure centeredness, miracles are possible.  It’s about being, not doing.  When you are in the space of being, miracles are possible.

13. The only thing that limits you is your own beliefs.

14. The best way to get our of a fear state is to do something that brings you into a state of joy.  Find something that changes your state completely.  Whatever it is – music or art or going out in nature. Do something completely different. Or meditate.  If we can be still, we can go into a different reality.

15. Stay totally open. Get into a defused state in which all of the possibilities lie before you and you haven’t locked into any one.  

16. Follow your bliss and do what you love. We tend to do what we think we should do, rather than what our heart tells us to do.  We don’t do what makes our heart sing.

17. You are your own guru. All your answers are inside you.

18. Nobody is better than (or less than) you. We are all equal.

19. Focus on your feelings more than your thoughts. Make your everyday choices based on what makes you FEEL good, rather than what you THINK you should do or what others think you should do.

20. Don’t let a fear of failing or displeasing others run your life.

21. Realize your own MAGNIFICENCE!

Each of the above points has a deep significance and meaning. It is easier to read but practising is not that easy. Surely all of us have experienced and also accept a few of the above points. We should also incorporate the other points and also ponder on them as much as we can so that we can realise the benefits .

I shall read these beautiful words of Anita every day.

Very thankful to my colleague for recommending this wonderful book.

~Lokaan samasthaan sukhino bhavanthu~


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Moringa Oleifera (Drumstick) Vs Cancer

My Ayurvedic doctor has now included another herb , Moringa Oleifera , popularly known as Drumstick.I will be using Moringa along with other natural herbs to help me combat Multiple Myeloma.

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Drumstick is one of the regular veggies used in South Indian cooking. Frequently used in Sambhar and avial 🙂 . Also made into pickle.Tastes yummy once cooked but has a repulsive odour when raw. The leaves too are used in several recipes.

But not many know the powerful medicinal values of this tree. All parts of the tree including leaves, flowers, fruits, bark, roots, gum have medicinal properties.

 

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There have been several studies to show the effectiveness of Moringa in killing cancer cells.

Here are a few interesting articles that I found

Want to Stay Cancer Free?
Let This Food do the fighting!

https://www.themoringa.com/articles/cancer-prevention-supporting-treatment

https://www.themoringa.com/articles/cancer-treatment

So , along with Curcumin , Ashwagandha and Neem I am now armed with Moringa to fight and kill the villains in my body 🙂

Do include more Moringa in your diet.

 

~Sarve Janaha Sukhino Bhavantu~

 

 


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Alternative Treatments for Cancer

 

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People with chronic diseases go for various treatments depending on the faith they have in a particular treatment.  Most use allopathy by default, as the duration of treatment is the fastest ,success rate is highest and the results are quick. Some follow a different treatment based on the experiences of their near and dear ones or when Allopathy has no solution or as a last resort.

But usually for cancers Allopathy is the first and foremost treatment that one opts for as the diagnosis itself happens in the third or fourth stage wherein the disease would have progressed to a large extent and Allopathy would be the best treatment. .

I didnt think of Alternative treatments for two years after I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma . I started experiencing side effects of Chemotherapy in the third year and I began scouring the internet for other treatments.

Internet is full of articles on Alternative Treatments . Initially I didnt believe all that was written on various websites and was being said on youtube videos by patients. I found them ridiculous too. Always wondered how it was possible that people are getting cured of Cancer which is not curable . Not just ‘managing’ but they were getting ‘cured’ and have been living for decades without any Allopathic treatment. I felt that these people were just exaggerating , that they wanted people to watch their videos , knowing that many would be looking up , that they were just uploading these videos to get a lot of views/hits. There were websites which talked a lot about a cure but at the end of the page there is a link to a book with a price or some secret methods which confirmed my fears that people only wanted to make money by luring desperate patients.

I wanted to believe all this was true , that there is a way , but was not convinced.

I came across various articles on the reasons for cancer and a cure. Juicing, diet, exercise, detox , supplements, antioxidants , various high frequency protocols, immunotherapy , Ph therapy, effect of yoga and meditation for curing the disease and the reasons for cancer varied from DNA mutations to microbes to lack of Vitamin D , poor diet , stress etc. These are a few of the topics that I was reading and trying to digest . All the information was baffling.

Just when I relapsed , at the end of the third year after my Bone Marrow Transplant for Multiple Myeloma, I came across a blog written by Margaret , a patient with Smouldering Multiple Myeloma. She was using natural supplements and has been successfully ‘managing’ the disease for more than a decade. After reading her blog , all the information and videos that I had seen suddenly flashed across my mind and I began believing all that I had read and seen. Suddenly all of it made sense. I was desperate for an alternative solution.

I talked to my Oncologist if he could recommend any Ayurvedic doctor but he was unaware of any specialist in Ayurveda. Ayurveda is an ancient Indian mode of treatment  which uses natural herbs for curing various ailments. He didnt discourage me from using any alternative treatment and advised me to use ‘Tinaspora Cordifolia’ , a natural immunity boosting supplement.

I recommend everyone to do their own research. Once convinced one has to start incorporating one or more methodologies as per their faith and convenience. One needs to have faith in the treatment and should go all the way and follow the methodologies scrupulously.

I have almost given up food products made with sugar , milk , all purpose flour , rice and also reduced salt intake .All of these comprise a bad diet. These are the five white poisons that Ayurveda recommends to avoid.
I also read that cancer cells feed on sugar. I initially started taking supplements like Curcumin (in the form of turmeric) suggested in Margarets blog , started doing Pranayama and meditation , I also started taking ashwagandha , shigru , punarnava , garlic , had ginger decoction in the morning, eliminated most acidic foods  and lo and behold within three months my MSpike was down to Zero !!

It is nothing short of a miracle.

I was later referred to an Ayurvedic Doctor by another MM survivor and since then I have been using Curcumin and other natural supplements since last one year. Fasting is also part of my regimen. I have been encouraging the use of Curcumin to whomsoever I come across. Curcumin is an extract from turmeric .Turmeric is a spice that is extensively used in South Indian cooking and as a medicine in India for various ailments.

It is one year and 3 months since I started following the new regimen and my M-Spike is in control.

Talk to other patients and their caregivers who follow Alternative treatments make your own decision.

If there is a will to survive , a solution will appear out of the blue. Never give up !!

Have patience and the Miracle will happen.