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


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Summer brings its own set of woes and sweet pleasures each year.

Rather than crib about the heat , one should enjoy the yummy stuff that nature provides during this season . Yes , its the fruits 🙂 .

Mangoes and Watermelons make a grand entry during the month of February and exit in June. These are the Summer months.

During Summer , in Hyderabad,  Jackfruit , Seema Chintakaaya / Jungle Jilebi , Figs and Palmyra fruit also make an entry. Unlike Mangoes and watermelons which are sold in almost every street corner , these are usually spotted only at the bigger farmer’s markets.

I make it a point to regularly visit the farmers markets , locally known as ‘Rythu bazaar’ , to get my fix 🙂

There was a time when the city dwellers could lay their hands on the Palmyra fruit when they visited their parents / grandparents who lived in villages and towns , far from the city. That’s where the Palmyra trees grow. These trees almost grow wild. They are hardy and don’t require any special care. I too would get to eat this Palmyra fruit when I visited my Grandparents village during peak summer.

There were times when I used to spot a hawker selling these in the city, but they would be the more mature ones which are hard ,rubbery and bland  instead of the tender , sweet and juicy ones. The hard ones  can upset the tummy.

This tender ,jelly like fruit has a cooling effect on the body , does some good for the digestive system and has several vitamins and minerals.

Since past few years I have been coming across vendors selling whole bunches of the fruit. We can pick the fruit of our choice and they would cut it for us. One can buy the whole fruit or get the pods removed.

These are whole bunches of the fruits.

This is how the fruit appears when the top part is carefully removed using a sharp sickle.

Each fruit has three pods.

The pods have a creamy brownish layer.

Remove the outer creamy brownish layer to reveal the translucent fleshy fruit.

Trying to remove the pods out of the fruit is tricky and not advisable as the fruit is easily bruised and the sweet juice is lost.

Hence it is preferable to  eat these directly from the whole fruit by using the thumb and digging into the tender juicy fruit .This is an art :))

This method ensures that the juice is intact.

I have fond memories of eating these sitting under the Palmyra trees in Granny’s village . We would reach the fields by 5pm, a guy nimbly glides up the tree along with a sickle and cuts off a few Bunches. They fall from a height of 15-20m with a thud.

He then expertly cuts them open revealing the white translucent fleshy pods.

Time to hold the fruit in the left hand and dig into the pulp using the thumb of the right hand and squeeze out the jelly along with the juice and quickly suck the juicy pulp with the mouth :)) . I know , it does sound gross :))

There is an easier method to dig into the tender fruit. Using a spoon to scoop out the pulp and the juice is quite simple and requires no mastery 🙂

Grab these if and when you come across them and enjoy the delicious fruit !!

 


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My latest Obsession : Organic food

Reading and discussing about Organic food is the first half of a story whereas actually buying , tasting , appreciating and getting addicted to Organic food is the second and most exciting part of the story.

I came across Organic food some 7 years ago and accidentally came across a store selling Organic food  in Hyderabad about 4 yrs ago, for the first time in the form of ‘Natures  Basket’.

Having read about the benefits of  Organic food , I walk into the store and find that all the veggies and fruits were shrivelled and the quantity was very less. I was excited about buying a lot of stuff  but was disappointed . Bought some other groceries like dals .The store was far from home and hence was conveniently forgotten .

Come 2016 and I suddenly start searching the net for other Organic food stores in Hyderabad. Was glad to see that a lot of stores were open. Read about Organic Bazaars at Saptaparni , Lamakaan, Hyderabad Goes Green, Sristi Naturals, Sacred space  etc.

Visited the Monthly bazaar at Saptaparni, Banjara Hills and loved the atmosphere and variety of products. Veggies, fruits, Dals, cold pressed oils, mud vessels, honey, millets, handicrafts, hand made jewelry, jute bags, soaps (vegan), shampoos and many other items are available.They do appear fresh and look good too. I was happy but then the doubting mind starts questioning whether the products are genuine . They are expensive too, almost double the price of the regular stuff.

I did buy a few veggies hesitantly and found that they did taste good .

I continued reading about the other stores.

Landed at Lamakaan , Banjara Hills on anothet Sunday. They had similar stuff like in Saptaparni. Saw lots of people buying stuff and carrying big bags full of groceries. My confidence levels on the authenticity of the wares increased. I bought many more veggies during this visit. I also bought a few varieties of dals , tamarind and a hair shampoo bar.

I usually end up throwing away a few veggies in the refrigerator once in a while but this time I made sure not a single vegetable was wasted. I wouldn’t allow my cook to do the cooking and I would prepare the curries myself 🙂 . I wanted to wash , cut , smell and taste the expensive veggies myself .

I liked the taste and flavors.

Lamakaan and Saptaparni are far from home and I wanted to visit more often but was unable to.

I had joined a group ‘Organic Meetup’ on FB, sometime ago.

A few days back I saw a post with the address of an Organic food store closer to where i live. It is named ‘Goodseeds’ . I wanted to go there the next minute. Went there directly from work and entered this neat little store with several packets and veggies placed on the shelves on the walls.I spent some time looking at each one of them.Though the atmosphere is incomparable to the lively atmosphere at  Saptaparni and Lamakaan , I was pleased with the items that are available here.There were a few veggies and I was told that new stock will arrive the next day.
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I pick up a few veggies , virgin coconut oil , millet ravva , chia seeds and apples.

I am back the next day and pick up cinnamon and more veggies.

I no longer want to buy groceries at the regular supermarkets. I am thoroughly enjoying the taste and flavor of Organic food.

I am now addicted to Organic food!!

The lady managing this store added my phone number to her whatsapp group and sent a msg as soon as new stock arrived.

I was her first customer to buy from the new stock :)))

This was the grocery haul.
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My experience till now with Organic food :

For the first time in three decades I tasted original  Shimla apples which crispy and have a sweet fragrance unlike other imported ones that have flooded the market.

For the first time in decades I was able to taste authentic cinnamon that is sweet. Memories flashed from childhood days when I would love to chew a small piece of cinnamon while mom was cooking and had placed a few pieces on the kitchen counter. These were very neat and clean too.

My morning ginger + cinnamon tea now tastes very sweet and I need not add honey to it .

Been ages since I smelled the typical sour flavour of dosakaaya (cucumber) while it was being cooked.

I like the shampoo bar too. It is vegan and made of soap nuts and vegetable oils.

I finally started cooking with cold pressed coconut oil and the curries are yummy. I plan to prepare Avial one of these days 🙂 .

While I buy the groceries I have a nice chat with the lovely lady as to how and where they source the groceries, the quality checks , home delivery , organic manure etc


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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.

 

moringa

 

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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Summary of my Journey with Multiple Myeloma

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Here is the writeup that I sent to Dr Nitin, my Ayurvedic doctor for sharing with his students and others. It is a chronological summary of my journey with MM.

Age: 46

Gender: Female

Location: Hyderabad

Diagnosis: Diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in Oct 2011

Jan 2012: Underwent Autologous Stem Cell Transplant at Apollo Hospital, Hyderabad. Started taking Thalix 50mg initially and later increased to 100mg.

Dec 2014: There was a relapse and my Oncologist advised that I should go for another round of Stem cell transplant after three months i.e. in Apr 2015

He also changed my medication to Lenolidamide 10mg (Chemo drug)

After scouring the Internet I came across a blog by another MM patient , who was using Natural supplements to manage her condition successfully for a decade. I too started taking Haridra, Ashwagandha, Shigru, Punarnava from ‘Himalaya’ brand .Many other bloggers too recommended Curcumin but because I did not know where to get it I began using Turmeric in the form of Haridra from ‘Himalaya’.

I was experimenting with the above. I also informed my Oncologist that I was taking the above medications and he did not have any objection.

In fact he himself had advised me to take Tinaspora cordifolia ( a herb) , after my transplant for improving my immunity.

Apr 2015: Was lucky to get introduced to Dr Nitin Kochar , Mumbai by Dr Gayatri ,MM patient from Delhi when I told her that I was using Turmeric. Met her via a social networking group named ‘Yoddhas’. Started taking Curcumin and Punarnava and followed diet given by Dr Nitin Kochar along with Lenolidamide. Finally I was in professional hands and it was a great relief.

Bone marrow test was done at the end of May 2015 which revealed that MM was in Remission. There was no mention about second time transplant 🙂 . My Oncologist obviously was surprised was happy too.

Oct 2015: Continued taking Curcumin along with Lenolidamide. Bone marrow test was done and my M Spike was zero. Yayyy !!

Feb 2016: My TLC count, neutrophils became very low. The counts were decreasing gradually over the past few months. Started experiencing several infections simultaneously. My Oncologist advised me to stop Lenolidamide. I continued  taking Curcumin , Ashwagandha and other herbs and followed the diet as per Dr Nitin’s advise.

May 2016: Bone marrow test revealed MM in remission  . I have not been taking Lenolidamide for the last 3 months. No more Allopathy.

Currently taking Curcumin , Ashwagandha, Nimbodi, Bavchi during the last 3 months. Have been fasting once a week and taking diet as per Dr Nitins advice.

My Oncologist told me to take a break from medication for another 3 months.

Yayyyy !!

Hopefully this will be a permanent break 🙂

My experience with Fasting : I had never fasted all my life. I was nervous initially. I currently fast once a week. I am not supposed to eat anything till dinner time. I can take tea/coffee two or three times during the day. Only if my stomach rumbles and feel weak I am permitted to eat a fruit. I can manage with three servings of fruits . Only Luke warm water to be taken throughout the day. For dinner I am allowed to take vegetable soup and kichdi (single pot meal cooked with lentils, rice and veggies) . I eagerly look forward to eat the warm bowl of kichdi in the evening and feel grateful for the food. It is a great feeling . I am enjoying my days of fasting. Makes the body feel light. Makes the food during the rest of the days taste great.

I also did my own research on the Internet on the effect of fasting and read that Fasting makes the cells go into repair mode. This period of rest heals the cells and tissues in the body which is very important for a healthy body. I am convinced and surely we can give up food for one day in a week for improving our health. The side effect of Fasting is better health 🙂

On other days too , I follow the Diet given by Dr Nitin. I avoid Sugar, Maida , Milk , Wheat , tur dal and have more of millets , Moong dal , chana dal , veggies , nuts  .

Feeling good , happy and quite comfortable now. Wish to share my miracle with as many as I can so they too can benefit from Ayurveda , Fasting and proper diet.

~Sarve Janaha Sukhino Bhavanthu~


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Organic Bazaar in Hyderabad

Was checking out events in hyderabad on Allevents.in and came across an Organic Bazaar at Saptaparni that is held on the first Sunday of every month.

Was curious to see what is sold at the bazaar.
These pics are from Saptaparni , Banjara Hills.

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There are organic veggies, fruits, healthy bakery foods, soaps made from pure natural products, handlooms, handmade jewellery, bags ,cold pressed oils, mud vessels, organic mosquito repellent ,  beauty products,  free range poultry eggs etc

The items were getting sold like hot cakes.

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After a few days I learnt that an organic bazaar is held at Lamakaan , Banjara hills every Sunday.
Went there this morning .

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The veggies dont appear as fresh and as healthy as those on the shelves of a supermarket. They appear distorted.There are some veggies from original native seeds like tomatoes ,  ginger garlic etc. There have bananas which are ripened naturally .Many veggies are of hybrid variety but would have been grown without chemical  pesticides and chemical fertilisers. One has to be knowledgeable while buying stuff.

Here is the produce that I bought this morning .

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Tamarind, organic sugar, tur dal, moong dal, shampoo soap , ponnaganti koora ,papaya and honey (not seen in the pic)

There was this girl who was selling organic produce from her dad’s farm in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. Said that they use natural manure which makes the food tasty and  nutritious.
I checked the Facebook page mentioned on the packet and found that her father did receive awards .
UPR Organic farms is created by this girl for her father.
Got me thinking about the good stuff that the girl is doing for her dad and for popularising organic stuff.


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Alternative Treatments for Cancer

 

miracle ahead

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.


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Living with Multiple Myeloma since 4 years

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It’s been exactly 4 years since the stem cells in my bone marrow started producing fresh and healthy white blood cells and other cells in the blood , while I was undergoing ‘Stem Cell Transplant’

In the BMT ward , each morning the nurse would take a blood sample to check my blood counts.
All of us were eagerly looking forward to the day when my stem cells would start creating various cells in the blood. The blood test on 1 Jan 2012 revealed the first few white blood cells .
A rebirth for me !

Am here now writing this after 4 years of that event. I am just 4 yrs old now 😉

A lot has happened since then.
There was a relapse in Dec 2014.
But thanks to Ayurvedic medication, I am now free of MM .

I am grateful to Lord Dhanvantari , the father of Ayurveda , who I met in the form of my Ayurvedic doctor.

Yes ‘Hope is Real’ .This was the slogan at Apollo Cancer Hospital in Hyderabad.
I could never comprehend the meaning when I was doing rounds for my check ups .
Those days I was sure this was a fatal disease. I was in a denial mode for two years, in a state of shock and moving around like dead.
But one day I had the courage to type the word ‘cancer’ on the keyboard. To look for information.
Spent a lot of time researching on cure for cancers. Didn’t believe what people wrote  and said on youtube about getting cured.
But I did a U Turn when I relapsed.
I told myself that I have to believe what was being said . That’s when I began to search further and dig deeper for information.
I zeroed in on ayurvedic methods and here I am, free of the disease for the last one year and confident that I will be free forever.

I had the hope and now strongly believe that ‘Hope is indeed Real’ .Hope can do wonders. Hope will show a way. Hope heals and Hope is the cure.