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


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Curcumin : Availability and its affordability by Common man

A lot of research has been carried out on the efficacy of Curcumin for treating various types of Cancers. There are several evidences from all over the world that prove the positive results of using Curcumin . Curcumin is being widely used for treating different Cancers. Not just Cancers but various other chronic  illnesses too.

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I have been using Curcumin capsules for Multiple Myeloma ,since last two and half years with good results .  Been off Chemo since more than one and a half years , on the advise of my Oncologist. I get Curcumin supplements from my Ayurvedic Doctor.  Usually patients are recommended a maximum dosage of around 8gm of Curcumin per day whereas I have been taking 3.5 gms of Curcumin per day. A single capsule of Curcumin , from most brands , contains 400mg of Curcumin extract . I take 3 capsules , thrice a day.

There are several brands selling Curcumin ,which can be bought online. Curcumin supplements are expensive and are out of reach to common man .

There is no way that information about  the healing properties of Curcumin  is known to common man. Most may come across unauthenticated self proclaimed healers or quacks who trap patients .

A lot of information is available on the Internet ,which is accessible only to those who are literate and have belief in Alternative treatments.

Most patients simply give up and accept their fate as soon as they are diagnosed.  The family members/caregivers too fall into the trap thinking it is a one way highway to heaven.

India is one of the largest growers of Turmeric, from which Curcumin is extracted. It is good to know that Turmeric/Curcumin is getting exported and is being sold/consumed all over the world for its medicinal properties.. Unfortunately Indians themselves are not aware of the potency of Turmeric. Though Turmeric is used in almost all recipes in most parts of India, the quantity used is very small and due to its low absorb-ability, the benefits are not being exploited. It is mostly being used as a colouring agent rather than for its medicinal properties. However, it is a fact that the number of cancer patients in India is much less compared to other countries due to regular consumption of Turmeric via their diet.

I began using plain Turmeric after reading a blog by one Ms Margaret from Italy. I was inspired by her success story and started taking Turmeric (higher quantities) from my own kitchen . What followed is an exciting journey which I have chronicled in this blog.

Need of the hour is to give wide publicity so that general public is made aware of the potency of Turmeric in preventing and treating this dreadful disease and other chronic diseases too. Quantity of Turmeric has to be increased in our recipes. Not the store bought turmeric powder but that which is prepared at home from the dried Turmeric root. This  would help a lot in prevention of such diseases.

Extraction of Curcumin from Turmeric involves a complex chemical process . Also Curcumin comprises only 5% of the weight of a Turmeric Root.

The government should subsidize Curcumin so that common man can afford.

It pains a lot  when I  hear that a patient has lost the battle .

If only they had the hope to live and not give up,

If only they were aware of Alternative treatments ,

If only they knew about Curcumin,

If only they had faith in the potency of Curcumin,

If only they had access to a good Ayurvedic practitioner,

If only they could afford it,

they would have been well and alive.

Unfortunately there are too many if’s , which is not a good sign. Too many lives lost in spite of having a solution 😦

As of now , I am able to share my experience  through this blog.

I also share my experience via a Whataspp group which has members who are Cancer Patients / caregivers.

My Oncologist is aware that I am using Curcumin . I requested him to suggest Curcumin to his other patients as well. He himself had recommended Tinospora Cordifolia to me after my Stem Cell Transplant , 6 years ago . This is a natural herb which improves immunity and I continue  taking  this .

I also share my experience with others who are eager to listen and are interested in knowing more about my healing experience.

NGOs can help in spreading the information about Turmeric/Curcumin and should also be able to supply Turmeric/Curcumin to patients who cannot afford.

I am looking forward to the day when everyone is aware of the healing properties of Turmeric/Curcumin and is affordable by one and all .

There is simply no reason why so many lives should be lost.

Most important : It is highly recommended to increase the consumption of Turmeric through the diet, thereby  preventing and managing most of the chronic illnesses.

 

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An update on my condition – Multiple Myeloma

It’s been 4 months since my Oncologist told me that I was ‘Technically Cured’of MM. ( I underwent Stem Cell Transplant also known as Bone Marrow Transplant in Jan 2012)
He had told me to meet him again after one year. I couldn’t believe what I heard. I had a question mark on my face and said ‘One year , Doctor ?’ and he repeated what he said.

Isn’t that the best thing to hear 🙂 .

I had got used to getting CBP, LFT and RFT tests done every month and sometimes once in three months in the last few years, along with a Bone Marrow test every 6 months.

And so, in the back of my head there was this question , what if something goes wrong during this one year. One year is a looong time . I expected he would tell me to get a few tests done regularly like CBP, LFT, RFT and to meet him only if any of the parameters were out of range. But he didn’t say any of that.

In my head I was telling myself that I will get these tests done anyway, even if my Oncologist didn’t tell me to.

So here I am , I just got these tests done after 4 months and the results are out.
Here are the current values of some of the important parameters :
Hb : 11.2 (11 – 16)
Creatinine : 1.0 (0.6 – 1.0)
Globulin Serum : 3.8 (1.8 – 3.6)
ESR : 60 (0-20)

I don’t intend to meet my Oncologist with the reports as I didn’t find too much abnormality in the reports nor any change in my general health condition.

I sent my reports via whatsapp to my Ayurvedic doctor. He felt the numbers were normal . I expressed my concern about ESR being high and was told that it will not reduce so soon. There were times when the ESR value was much lesser , around 30 sometimes. High ESR implies greater inflammation in the body. Will work on that.

He wanted to reduce my curcumin intake from 3 caps / 3 times a day to 2 caps / 3 times a day ( Each capsule contains 400 mg of curcumin) . This is actually good news. My doctor has more confidence on me than I have in myself . But , I was not ready and in no hurry to reduce the dosage  , so told him I would like to continue 3 caps/ 3 times a day for few more months. So glad he agreed 🙂 . I still feel like depending on Curcumin for some more time.

Some day I should be off Curcumin too and I am looking forward to the day when I will be 100% independent of any kind of support . The day when my mind and my body will be in sync :))

That’s all for now.
Will get the tests done again after another 4 months.

Life will go on while Fasting , Pranayama, Meditation , Diet , Exercise will continue to be a priority.

happiness

 

~Sarve Janaha Sukhino Bhavanthu ~

 


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Shakti , Mitochondria, Energy , Mother , Health , Fasting and Cancer

The words in the title don’t seem to be related in any way , isn’t it !?  🙂

Let me attempt to explain how all of these are very much interrelated. Get ready to recall some Biology lessons from your school days 🙂

Each cell in the Human body consists of several Organelles and one of them is Mitochondria . These are known as the powerhouses of the cells. Woww , sounds like Thermal Power stations or Nuclear Power stations isn’t it !!? And our body is a Power Grid !! 🙂

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It is these little things inside the cell which convert the food that we eat into Energy. This  Energy is used by the Cell to carry out its functions efficiently.

Hope you also remember reading that a cell contains a Nucleus which in turn consists of the DNA . But, did you know that Mitochondria have their own DNA too … This is News to me tooo 🙂 . The biggest surprise is that Mitochondria is originally a Bacteria . The Mitochondria invaded a normal cell and started a Symbiotic relationship. This was how the complex multi-cellular organisms including human beings evolved. Sounds unbelievable and interesting . Anyway, this is a different subject altogether.

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Now comes the most interesting part. It has been scientifically proved that the Mitochondria in the cell comes from the Mother and not from the Father. Let’s see how that happens .The Mitochondria from the Father disintegrates as soon as the zygote is formed by the fusion of the Sperm and the Egg .In effect , all the Mitochondria currently existing in the world is from the Female Gender. Isn’t this amazing .

Permit me to digress a little.

In the Hindu culture , a Goddess (feminine form) is worshiped and is referred to as ‘Shakti’. Shakti  is a Sanskrit word which translates to ‘Energy’. Fasting is an important part of worshiping  Goddess Shakti during various Hindu festivals. The Goddess is fondly addressed by most Hindus as Mother .

Let’s come back to Mitochondria. These Mitochondria are susceptible to damage due to various reasons. Thus , the efficiency of the Cell is affected leading to several illnesses including Cancer. One of the major causes of Mitochondrial damage is Medication. Medications like Analgesics, psychotropic medications , Statins, Antibiotics etc damage the DNA of Mitochondria. There are other reasons too… like inflammatory diet, stress etc

Thankfully there are ways to repair and Boost the efficiency  of Mitochondria, thereby improving our health.

  1. Fasting 
  2. Exercise
  3. Sun Exposure 
  4. Eating more Fat and protein , less of Carbs (Ketogenic Diet)
  5. Meditation
  6. Avoiding inflammatory foods like Maida (All purpose flour)
  7. Reducing Stress

Just after the recent Navratri festival,  my Ayurvedic Doctor had sent me a message about how Mitochondria is linked to Shakti/Energy, to Fasting during Navratri and worshipping of Mother Goddess  . The festival lasts 10 days during which Goddess Shakti is worshiped .

This was a revelation to me .

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Here is the entire message sent by Dr Nitin Kochar, M.D, Ayurveda :

Why to worship Durga or aadi shakti ? 
(Ancient wisdom with modern science)
For survival We all need a constant supply of energy, which is produced in our cells. Whatever food we eat, is converted by our cellular bio-fire into  energy, which is stored in the form  called ATP. 
This ATP is produced by Mitochondria ( cellular biofire) 
Our every cell is enriched with this Mitochondria and they are in abundance in our digestive and muscular system. 
Surprisingly all these Mitochondria are transferred to us through our Mother only as paternal Mitochondria are immediately destroyed after fertilization. 
So our Mother is the source of providing us energy . Hence we should be thankful to her and worship her. 
The best treatment to improve the functioning of Mitochondria is to do intermittent fasting or to consume limited quantity of satvik aahar. So in these nine days one should observe fast and consume only fruits and milk . 
As per the latest research , dysfunctional Mitochondria is the root cause of Cancer. And those who are doing intermittent fasting through out their life , they have very less or remote chances of getting cancer.  
Remember healthy Mitochondria is the  prime requisite of Good and robust  health. 
So worship and respect your Mother. Follow the ancient wisdom of fasting or eating controlled diet of satvik aahar to keep yourself fit. 
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Pious Hindus also fast during other days like Ekadasi (the 11th day of waxing and waning moon) . That would be twice a month.

Cow Ghee (clarified butter) is an important ingredient in the preparation of Prasadam (food  offered to the Deities) . It is good fat. As per Ayurveda , there are 60 health benefits of consuming Cow Ghee and hence it is recommended to eat Ghee everyday.

In spite of being a Hindu I had always doubted Hindu Rituals and customs since I was a kid . Whereas most of such rituals and customs have health and hygiene as the underlying principles .  There are a lot of folks who are attempting to revive such customs by interpreting in a scientific way. The western world is taking cues from  Eastern traditions , is experimenting and confirming what was already known and in use in the Hindu way of life since thousands of years.

I always wondered as to why I perennially felt lethargic and was highly susceptible to Chronic cold, cough and Bronchitis attacks. I had no option but to take antibiotics each time. This cycle kept repeating once every two months till I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. I now realize that my Mitochondria were severely damaged by all the Antibiotics which resulted in Cancer.

Hopefully one can now appreciate how all these words are connected and make sense.

So thankful to my Ayurvedic Doctor for enlightening me.

One need not accept or worship Goddess Shakti or know about Mitochondria to realize how important it is to ensure that our Mitochondria and thereby our body is healthy .  Just follow the above methods and stay healthy.

Durga-mata

Shubham Bhooyaath !!

 


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My 6th Birthday after a Stem Cell Transplant

Today is my 6th Birthday after my Stem Cell Transplant in Jan 2012.

Never thought I would live to see my 4th birthday after the Transplant 🙂

I feel like I have taken a rebirth in Jan 2012 and that I am just 6 years old now 🙂

I am off chemo since One and a half years. My Oncologist said that I can meet him after a year which is the bestest news ever. Otherwise I was meeting him every 6 months, sometimes every three months and at times every month. Thanks to Ayurveda and Mother Nature .

I have never been as content as I am now.

I feel like a free 🐦 bird . Happy with little pleasures in life and enjoying my work .

Went to the Temple this morning with hubby and my son. Also took blessings from my parents .

Feel so good to receive wishes and blessings from friends, colleagues and family.

God Bless you all .


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Use of Turmeric / Curcumin in Indian Customs and Traditions , Health and Healing , Beauty treatments

Turmeric Vs Curcumin :

Turmeric is a root/rhizome, a golden-colored spice that belongs to the ginger family . Widely used in India for different purposes. The words Turmeric and Curcumin are usually used interchangeably but Curcumin is an extract from Turmeric root, which gives the yellow color to the spice and has several healing properties. Different methods are used to extract Curcumin from Turmeric. Turmeric contains various ”curcuminoids” and Curcumin is one of them. Curcumin is a whole Pharmacy in itself and is used to treat several health conditions. Extensive research is being carried out on Curcumin in the western world for its healing properties..

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This spice has always been revered in India since thousands of years. But ,it is very unfortunate that the healing properties are unknown to majority of the current generation and the knowledge is slowly getting lost. Hopefully the research that is being carried out in the western world will bring to light the potency of Turmeric and thereby heal the world.

Here is an attempt to describe how Turmeric has been in use since centuries in Indian Customs and traditions.

Hindu Customs and Traditions :

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A few drops of water is added to Turmeric powder which is then shaped into a small solid cone . During Hindu festivals this form is worshiped as ”Lord Ganesha” , the remover of all obstacles. It is a fact that none of us  wish to face any obstacles in whatever activity we do/take up. This is a method of reinforcing our will power and also to invoke the blessings of the almighty.

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During Fridays, festivals and other auspicious events, Turmeric paste is applied on the threshold of the main entry door of the house and all other doors that lead outside the house. This ensures that insects and ants do not enter the house. Now a days this is done away with by using paints. Beautiful designs of flowers and leaves are drawn using colourful paints.

A married woman gives Turmeric root/powder along with ‘kumkum’ to other married women  (neighbors, relatives , friends etc), during festivals after inviting them into their homes. This is done as a blessing and good wishes for the long life of the woman and her husband .

Turmeric during weddings :

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Wedding preparations start with the making of Turmeric powder at home. An auspicious day and time is chosen for the event. A few women (relatives, friends neighbors) gather and use a mortar and thistle to crush the dry Turmeric root and symbolically prepare Turmeric powder.

A lot of Turmeric powder is used during Hindu weddings. There are a minimum of  5 rituals, spread over a few days , which require the use of Turmeric powder.

Haldi Ceremony is a very important part of a Hindu wedding. The bride and groom are smeared with a paste made by mixing Turmeric powder , sandalwood paste and rose-water, in their respective homes , couple of days before the wedding. Relatives friends and neighbors gather and make it a fun event.The Bride and Groom get a beautiful glow on their skin 🙂 . . This is repeated three times on three consecutive days. A natural beauty treatment instead of going to a beauty parlour or a Spa.

The bride and groom wear clothes that have been dipped in water that is mixed with turmeric powder . The cloth then gets dyed with a light yellow color.

Turmeric powder is mixed with rice which is then called ‘Akshintalu / Akshatalu ‘. These Akshintalu are used during puja and also used to bless others by sprinkling a little on top of the head of the one taking blessings who bows down and touches the elders feet.

In South Indian weddings , this rice is taken with cupped  hands by the bride and groom and  is poured on top of each others head during the wedding ceremony.

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A long thread is smeared with Turmeric paste and a Turmeric root is tied at the center of this thread. During the wedding ceremony the groom ties this thread around the neck of the bride with three knots.

 

 

Health and Healing :

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An Indian kitchen is incomplete without Turmeric powder in its spice box. Almost all Indian recipes contain Turmeric powder.Thus ensuring that turmeric is taken everyday in our diet. Turmeric also enhances the color of the dish. The anti bacterial properties of turmeric prevents food from decaying quickly.

 

Turmeric powder is Mixed in milk and consumed in order to treat coughs and colds.

Turmeric is supposed to be good for the Liver and digestion.

Turmeric is applied to bruises as it is an antiseptic.

Small balls are made with wet Turmeric powder. A few of these are consumed in order to reduce menstrual cramps .

Turmeric is a blood thinner and reduces cholesterol. Helps in controlling Blood Pressure.

It is anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is the major reason for most of the chronic diseases including Diabetes , Cardiovascular diseases , Arthritis , Cancer etc.

Curcumin induces apoptosis in tumours . It induces cell death in cancerous cells thereby stopping the multiplication of these cells.  A lot of research is being carried out and there is sufficient proof that this property of Curcumin can treat almost all types of Cancers.

Beauty Treatments :

Many South Indian women apply turmeric paste to their feet every Friday and during festivals and other religious events. Being an antiseptic it protects the feet from infections and cracked feet.

Turmeric paste mixed with other items like milk, chickpea flour etc is applied as a face mask to get rid of acne, pimples and other skin problems . It is also an excellent exfoliant and gives a glow to the skin.

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No wonder Turmeric has always been given a lot of importance in Hindu customs, traditions and rituals since a long time and is treated with piety and respect.

It is highly recommended that everyone include more Turmeric in their diet. It is also advised to prepare your own Turmeric powder instead of using the store-bought powder which is usually adulterated.

I have been using Curcumin every day since Jan 2014 , to fight Multiple Myeloma. Currently not using any other drug. Hope to manage my condition as long as I can.

~Yad Bhaavam Tad Bhavathi  : You become what you think ~


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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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Vegetable Kichdi , my style !!

I go on a 24 hour fast once a week and end my fast by eating a bowl of hot Vegetable Kichdi.This is light on the tummy.A fast should never end with heavy food. This dish is made with Rice, Moong dal ,Veggies and is easily digested . I look forward to this treat at the end of the day. Here is the simple recipe.

Ingredients for one serving :

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Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp

Cumin 1/4 tsp

Urad dal 1/4 tsp

Black pepper as per the spiciness that you can bear 🙂

It is OK if one of the above is missing in your spice rack. But pepper is a must.

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Rice : 2 tbsp

Quinoa (optional): 2 tbsp

Moong Dal ( Split Green gram ): 2 tbsp

Wash and soak Rice and Quinoa in water and keep aside.

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Ginger :  1 inch piece chopped into small pieces

Curry leaves : one or two sprigs

Veggies : you can use capsicum,  carrot, beans, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, corn or any other veggies. Any two veggies are good enough. I am using Capsicum and Carrot today.

One chilli

Ghee 1 tsp

Asafoetida : a small pinch

Salt : As per your taste

Water : 4 times the volume of rice , quinoa and moong Dal.

Place all of them in a bowl. You will need water 4 times this volume.

Preparation : Use a pressure cooker

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Roast the moong dal in the dry pan till you smell the flavour of nicely fried moong dal. It should change into a very light brown colour. Empty the moong dal into another bowl.

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Add oil in the same pan. Add mustard seeds, cumin, urad dal and black pepper to the oil. Let them splutter.

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Add ginger pieces , chilli and curry leaves. Fry for 30 secs . Add all the cut veggies and stir for a minute.

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Now , drain the soaked rice, quinoa and add  to the pan. Also add moong dal . Add water. Add salt . Close the pan with the lid and put the pressure weight. Let it cook on medium heat till you hear 5 to 6 whistles. Let the pressure reduce before you open the cooker.

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Add the ghee and mix it well so all the contents get mashed up and the flavors combine well. Hot and yummy Vegetable Kichdi is ready !! You can eat with a little pickle or chutney on the side, if you wish. Your tummy will thank you 🙂