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2018-07-21T18:36:57
THE ART OF SELFLESSNESS OF PURPOSE Three weeks ago, a thin built lady from a remote village in UP walked in with her sister and her nephew, who lived in Delhi. While they poured her story of being diagnosed with breast cancer, I could sense an underlying anger. The sister burst forth with the information that her elder sister’s husband is a farmer and had thrown her out on knowing the diagnosis. He refused to get her treated and had said that she was as good as dead to him. The sister was vehement and was certain that she would get her elder sister treated. That is exactly what she did. I operated upon the lady. On receiving the pathology report, I shared with her that her sister would require both chemotherapy and radiation. The patient’s husband also came for that consult and asked me if he could take his wife home before she started chemotherapy, to which I said he could. Hardly had they left the room, that the younger sister returned to my room, furious. She said, ‘ How did you even suggest that he could take her back home? He will not spare her. How could you undo the effort that I am putting in, to treat her?’ I was stumped!She went on to say that she would look after her and make sure she had her complete treatment. She told me that she was a person of modest means with a one room flat but she would arrange accommodation for her sister and get one of her nieces to look after her while she underwent treatment. There was that intense look of determination in her eyes when she said, ’ Doctor, no way am I going to let her go- I take her full responsibility!’ How many times do you come across such unsung heroes in your life? This young lady is a hero, championing the cause of her older sister who has no voice. Her sister has a husband who has only used her but refuses to stand by her as she readies herself for her biggest battle, yet. She has found an unlikely knight in shining armour in her younger sister, who, I am sure will brave the storms lying in store for her. It is not the money in your pocket that makes the world go round but it is the desire and the will to help that makes the world go round. I love the spunk of this lady and have loads to learn from her. Selflessness of purpose is what makes her so inspiring and restores my faith in humanity!!
2018-07-16T11:28:56
ANOTHER STEP IN AN EXCITING JOURNEY!! It has been an exciting journey as a surgeon spanning over 21 years.... from an unsure, rebellious senior resident to a muted mature version... Director, Surgical Oncology- Breast Cancer.The journey has been anything but easy but I look back with lot of pride. I chose to take up surgery for my post graduation, a decision certainly emerging from the heart. To step into a male dominated world could only be a prompt from the heart. The brain would have screamed, “Harakiri”! I soon found that out as my immediate senior with my being in residency for a week declared with impunity, ”You will never make a surgeon”!I was discouraged but was not one to give up. I was labelled ‘The Rebel’! I carry that tag still. I am never one to back away from voicing my opinion, which may be uncomfortable but many a times the truth. I will agree that one art that I am yet to master from my male counterparts is their innate ability to be at their diplomatic best in the worst of situations. I have been promoted to Director, Surgical Oncology! I must have done something right to get here but I have been fortunate in several ways as well. The good fortune of having an amazing mentor in Dr Harit Chaturvedi and his confidence in my abilities, a supportive family and the ‘bug’ in my head which keeps pushing me to do more, have got me here.For me, this is an opportunity to lead, to mentor and to leave a legacy.It is also time now to shift gears from not just treatment of breast cancer but to prevention and early detection. I have taken baby steps in that direction but there are miles and miles to go before I sleep.... and the rebel in me is still alive and kicking. All that I can say is that the landing punches are just that much softer!
2018-06-30T02:09:25
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Bliss Foundation launches its unique ‘Touch Feel and Do’ Workshop to create breast and cervical cancer awareness! All things, big and small, begin with an idea. Touch Feel and Do workshop was conceived as we sat across a table. It started with the questions Are we doing enough? Are we doing right? Do the ladies we talk to understand what we are trying to tell them? Do they know what to look for? What should alert them? And then the realisation dawned, that when we talked to them, they absorbed a few things here and there. They surely could not piece it together. We had do something different to create a lasting impression....while the thoughts flew back and forth, the idea of a dummy with all possible presentations of breast cancer came up. The dummy was acquired by the tireless efforts of Reva and what started as a thought began to take shape.We wanted the ladies to touch the dummy breasts, to feel what cancer may be like and to do it on their own selves. A pre lecture questionnaire followed by the lecture, a post lecture questionnaire and then a Touch Feel demo completed the workshop The results quite amazing... from ignorance to empowerment in a matter of an hour and a half- the duration of the workshop. We are on a roll after the stupendous success of yesterday’s program where the Touch Feel and Do Workshop was formally launched with the blessings of BK Sister Shivani. We have done 10 and with more doctors and volunteers joining us, we hope to complete 30 this year. With the kind of love and support we are receiving, there is no stopping us now! A big hug to the Crusaders who made this happen- Nidhi Agarwal, Reva Kumar, Meenu Madan, Dr Swasti, Dr Neerja Gupta, Dr Mallika Agarwal, Dr Smriti Neha, Ms Payal, Vijayaji, Ruby, Saloni, Anju, Kalpana, Shivani, Smita, and the young Turks Navya, Ansh and all the volunteers .....you have every reason to be proud of yourself!💖 Jaadoo ki jhappi for the unsung heroes who work selflessly for the cause- Karuna, Esther, Deepta, Rituparna, Archanaji and Mrs Solanki. You help us dream bigger!💖 A big thank you to all those who attended the program and believed in us!
2018-06-25T17:42:31
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LETTING GO During my years in medical school, it was always tough to lay your hands on the best books available. They were outrageously expensive for a middle class student like me. My dad would still want me to have the best. He would put aside his needs and my mother would spend less on the essentials so that I could have expensive reference books in medicine and surgery. I devoured on Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine and Schwartz’s Surgical textbook. They were hard to reproduce in the exams but were succinct in their explanations of the various diseases that plagued the amazing human body. The last I read from these books is more than 20 years. They occupied a corner on my bookshelf and gathered dust. They would catch the corner of my eye, occasionally and I would clear the dust as a sweeping sense of nostalgia overcame me. With my daughter’s books jostling for space, I decided to make space for her while the house was being painted. I brought these old books down, turned a few pages with a lump catching my throat. I realised, there time was past.All the information I ever wanted was just a click of a button away. A lot has changed since the time they were the only prized possessions I ever had. They had to go... the new had to make space for the old. Their life had come one full circle!
2018-06-09T02:52:12
RISING TO THE OCCASION Yesterday, this beautiful young lady of 33 walked into my room. I could see she had had chemotherapy as a smart bandana adorned her bald head. She was accompanied by her mother and her husband. Her dazzling smile and her confidence as she took me through the journey of nursing a 6 month old baby, of discovering a lump which was labelled benign at first, of the lump growing in a month and she, of her own volition going for a biopsy and discovering she had breast cancer, shook me! She had visited 3 or 4 hospitals for various reasons and is on the verge of completing chemotherapy. She had come to meet me to discuss the surgical options and the implications. She told me that she was scared of needles and pain but her composed demeanour conveyed something else. I could see, I was having the privilege of interacting with a woman of utmost strength, resilience, poise and maturity way beyond her years. Her smile never left her face. Her mother contributed positively in equal measure but the sadness in her eyes of seeing her little girl suffer did not escape my notice. She required to have an injection to up her white cell count. She went to the nurse in the treatment room for the same and showed her a prescription for the same on her mobile, from a different hub of the same centre as ours. She refused without thinking what she could have done to help her-a cardinal mistake! The nurse was following a process, which said no medication without prescription, which was fine. What she did not do, was figure out a method to solve the problem. She could have got a print out, on our institute’s letter head and cross checked with the prescribing doctor and administered the medication. What happened next was no surprise. The mother was outraged. She had accompanied her daughter across half of Delhi for a consult and this Nay from the sister, truly rocked her frail boat. She truly took the nurse to task for being unhelpful and uncaring. The situation was brought to my notice.The matter was sorted out, a printout of the prescription was taken and the injection was done. However, the bitter taste in the mouth remained! I know for a certainty, that the only people who go to hospital, happily, are doctors and the staff at work. The ailing come, as they don’t have an option. They entrust us with the job of sending them back, cured or relieved of their ailment. We, as caregivers, should never forget to look beyond and see the footprints that they have left behind, as they walk the difficult path to meet us. There is a story, sometimes, most heart rending, that we need to know- a story that should only raise our level of empathy. Each one of us has to walk that extra mile, go beyond our call of duty to ensure that we do our best for the person sitting across the table, entrusting us with making some of the toughest decisions of their lives. We, as professionals, have to really rise to the occasion, every single time!
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