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WHEN THE CHIPS ARE DOWN.... There are times when one feels trapped, not knowing which way to turn. All spaces close in on you as if to smother you. That is the kind of feeling which had crept into this young patient from Kenya. She had undergone two botched up surgeries on her leg for a tumour, which had now, returned with a vengeance. She is to have more surgery but her spirits are dwindling. She is away from home and only has her twin brother for company. The money is drying up quickly and she, an accomplished dancer, is confined mostly to the bed or the wheel chair as the leg fails to take her weight. Today, she was particularly distraught and her tears flowed freely. Our physiotherapist came to me and asked if we could cheer her up by bringing her to the Breast Support Group meeting, where a troupe of youngsters was coming to get our Champions to perform Zumba. I thought it was a great idea and she was carefully shifted on a wheelchair to the building next door where the program was to be held. And right in front of our eyes began the transformation. The girl could not stop clapping and moving to the beat on the chair while her brother kept pace beautifully with the trained Zumba troupe. The 25 odd Champions, doctors and support staff all got going, only stopping to catch their breath or a sip of water.This little girl got caught in a whirlwind of foot tapping music and an all pervading gush of positive energy. She laughed and spoke to the Champions and believed everyone when they said she would be fine. She left with the promise that when she recovers from surgery and is back on her feet, she will come back for a Theme party and she would lead the dance! So when the chips are down.... DANCE!!
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!
SURGERY FOR BREAST CANCER IS NOT ABOUT REMOVING BREASTS, ALWAYS… When 32 year old Neena, an HR consultant in an MNC, walked into my clinic, accompanied by her husband and parents, I could sense an air of hopelessness surrounding this good looking young lady. The papers that were laid in front of me carried a needle biopsy report, which confirmed the diagnosis of breast cancer. Fortunately, for her, the size of the lump was about 2cms and there were no lymph nodes that I could feel in the armpit. There was no evidence of spread to the other organs on imaging. I soon realized she had been through the discussion of surgery and she had come to me for a second opinion. I soon found out why she had decided to come for a second opinion. She had been advised a modified radical mastectomy (complete removal of the breast along with the lymph nodes in the armpit). She was a successful career woman with everything going for her till yesterday and today she was grappling with this tough predicament- losing an organ, an integral part of her feminity to cancer- it was almost cruel!.......... ....To be continued.....watch this space for more.......
How tough is the job of an oncologist? I am often asked this question and I have probably never admitted the whole truth. An oncologist is a strange amalgam of extremes of emotions....it is a never ending balancing act.While he or she has to create that environment of positivity to enable the patient to make the right choices for his/her treatment, without being overwhelmed by the side effects of treatment, he or she also has to ride the see saw of ups and downs that are likely to happen during the course of treatment with the patient. Being cheerful in the face of adversity yet remaining detached from the outcome of treatment is learnt painstakingly over years. The troubles don't end here. The oncologist is subject to scrutiny all the time....an innocuous expression could be read by the attendant or patient as despair or hopelessness, a phone call for another seriously ill patient could be extrapolated to one's own self by the patient across the table, a slight drop in the wattage of your smile could be interpreted as doomsday......and so on.It is a tough life but it becomes worth the effort when patients defy statistics, come back to meet you, year after year, treat you like a part of their extended family contributing to crucial personal decisions..... and threaten to outlive you! For more details, please contact Dr Geeta Kadayaprath, Head Breast Surgical Oncology, Max Cancer Centre, Patparganj, Delhi, India
Breast cancer can catch anyone by surprise. Why I say that is because the usual history is a lump felt in the breast over a few weeks to a month or two or more. Apparently innocent as it caused no pain or upset the rhythm of life. It was just there! I identify with this extremely unpleasant feeling of being caught out or cornered or ganged up against, when this innocuous lump is declared cancer, almost everyday. How could a lump which was just there till yesterday change life indelibly? The grief that accompanies the diagnosis is unfathomable in most. The denial that follows and the unfairness of the situation is quite hard hitting. I, as a Clinician, after so many years of being witness to this familiar response, still find it hard to say something sensible to console, especially if the affected is young. It is almost as if I am on their side, a part of their family, going through this heart- wrenching sequence. When I am at a loss, the best I do, is hold their hands and say everything will be alright. I want it that way and no other way, as every doctor would. And it works! I liken the situation to being in quicksand. If you struggle too much with the situation, you get pulled in, the brain gets clouded and wrong decisions are made. If you reach out to a helping hand, gently ease yourself out with coaxing and cajoling coming from your loved ones, you make it! How one handles the situation has a large part to play in what the final outcome would be. We do not choose situations in life and some situations do catch you unawares. What you can choose, is your response to the situation- accepting it, making light of it, taking it in your stride and going through treatment with the desire to heal and bounce back, is usually what winners do!!
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