Thursday, December 30, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR, CANCER

B.RAMAN

It is 15 months now since I started peacefully co-existing with my metastatic cancer of prostate origin which manifested itself on September 30,2009, in the form of blood in the urine.

It had started in the prostate five years earlier and then slowly spread to the urinary bladder, a nearby bone and a lymph node. Everyone in the family was depressed on seeing the PET scan report, which showed the extent of the spread of the cancer.

It showed that the cancer had affected about 15 per cent of the body. I cheered myself up from the fact that 85 per cent of my body still remained non-cancerous and healthy. I decided to motivate the healthy 85 per cent to fight the cancerous 15 .

That’s what I have been doing for the last 14 months---- through hormonal treatment which in crude language means chemical castration ( they call it total androgen blocade), undiminished mental activity, regular physical activity, but slightly reduced as compared to what I was doing before the cancer was detected, extensive reading and research on cancer in order to decide myself how to cope with it and so on.

My doctor gave me a humorous book on the prostate written by an American specialist. It said that post-mortems after traffic accidents showed that many people had been leading an active life without being aware that they had a cancer inside the body. His conclusion: Many people do not die of cancer, they die along with it without ever becoming aware that they had a cancerous growth inside.

Before I agreed to undergo the hormonal therapy, I asked a 70-year-old doctor from a well-known Chennai family of cancer specialists: Do I have the option of not undergoing any treatment?

“Yes, you have”, he said. “ I know cases where people decided not to undergo any treatment and managed to survive. No doctor or medical literature can explain how they managed to survive. But my own advice to you will be to undergo the treatment.”

I have been doing so since November 11,2009. A painless injection with no side-effects once a quarter and a tablet with some side effects every day to stop the production of the male sex hormone in the body.

My doctor said that the male sex hormone acts as a fertilizer for the cancer which has its origin in the prostate. Once you deny that fertilizer to the cancer, it stops growing and, if you are lucky, may even shrivel up.

My quarterly blood tests show a steep drop in the PSA level. My urine tests show the absence of cancerous cells in the urine.

My weight remains constant. So does my mental energy level, but my physical energy level is lower than what it was a year ago---due to cancer or my old age (74)? I do not know. Probably both.

I pick up advice on what to do---here, there and everywhere.

Take six to eight walnuts every day.

I do.

Drink a glass of anar juice every day.

I do.

Take a teaspoonful of turmeric powder in an empty stomach every morning.

I do.

Do acupressure exercises for 10 minutes thrice a day.

I do.

Be a social drinker drinking occasionally two large pegs of Scotch & soda, but avoid drinking daily.

Done---with pleasure.

Cut down the intake of sweets, which may provide nourishment to the cancerous cells.

No difficulty in following this advice.

Emulate Morarji Desai.

Sorry, that I can’t.

“ But, look how healthy he was till his 90s. He never even went to a dentist.”

Nothing doing. I am not Morarji.

For one month after the treatment started I suspended all my travels---domestic as well as foreign---for seminaring. I have gradually resumed my domestic travels----- four times to Hyderabad, thrice to New Delhi, six times to Bangalore, once to Manipal, twice to Mumbai, once to Kolkutta and once to Mhow.

My doctor has been encouraging me to resume my foreign travels too. I have not yet. I feel nervous at the thought of the pain----which has not yet started---starting when I am abroad.

That’s the awful thing about cancer. You do not necessarily have pain, but the fear of the pain starting one day affects you psychologically.

Every night before I go to sleep---I tell myself---thank God, there was no pain today. How many days more of painless existence? I do not know. I keep my fingers crossed.

There are many web sites of well-known hospitals which help cancer patients to cope with their cancer. I visit them regularly. One of them assesses what are your chances of survival on the basis of your medical reports.

In November 2009, after I had started the therapy I visited the website and typed my medical report readings. “ You can hope to live for a maximum of three years more”, it said.

I have already lived for 15 months since then.

Let me see who has the last laugh----me or my cancer?

In my intelligence profession, I was looked upon as the man who always had the last laugh.

Will I be able to keep up this reputation? (31-12-10)

40 comments:

Who Nose said...

Mr Raman
I don't believe I have been daunted and inspired by any other man, as I have been by you.
Stick around man, this nation needs you.
When you sip your scotch today, remember I will be sipping mine with a thought for you.

nri2008 said...

Dear Ramanji,

It is wonderful to see your optimistic and sunny outlook. I am confident that Almighty has definitely good plans for your given your dedication and love for the nation inspires thousands and thousands of Indians---------- More power to you and your pen!

I wish you and your family A Very Happy New Year.

Warm Regards

Ram & Family

Singapore
P.S.Look forward to meet you at least once on you next visit to Singapore.

RD said...

I think you already are having the last laugh! :) Totally appreciate the way you are handling this! Wish you all the very best!

A Fan,
Rohitesh.

RD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Esoteric said...

Dear Mr Raman,

Wish you and family a happy new year.

Im sure you will have a the last laugh.The last 15 months were an indication about how good the next 30 would be...and many more beyond that.

Cheers

Siva said...

Dear Mr. Raman,
After reading your post it is very clear that it is all in the mind and how one take up their life. You had done it excellently sir. Your optimistic attitude will take you through to more years, and we all are eager to read your posts as soon as it gets published. Prayers to almighty to give you more strength. Happy New year to you and your family.

Pranams

V N Sivakumar

Sandeep said...

Dear Sir,

May Shri Rama and Lakshmana ( Shri Rams Rakshastotram #21) always protect you and be with you.

Have a roaring and hearty laugh.

Kind Regards

Sandeep

BRS said...

Dear Sir,
I have been a fan of your writing ever since I read "The KAO boys of R&AW". Wish you a very happy new year and I am sure you will continue to wish new year to your readers (and fans!) for many more years to come.

cheers!

p.s: would like a chance to meet you, whenever you come to Bangalore.

Canary said...

Dear Sir,

Here's wishing you the last laugh and many more years of healthy life so that we can get the daily dose of your insightful posts.

Happy 2011.

aravind said...

hi ramanji

hats off to ur positive attitude..
u have set a gud example, to the rest of the world..
i was jus searching the web wen i accidently read ur blog,..wow u r definitely young at heart and mind..
with the blessings of god u will definitely live a happy painless life for several more n more years to come...i wish u and ur family a very happy new year..

thanks for being an idol of optimism

arvind
usa

Swati Parashar said...

Sir, this is such an inspirational write up and done with that touch of humour. There is no ways, anyone/anything can have the last laugh against you.I hope more people who complain about the mildest of ailments, read this and know what it is to live in the truest sense. I will always remain a devoted follower and an inspired pupil. May you have a wonderful new year and may we continue to be blessed by your presence in our lives. warmly Swati

Why is the Shin Bet trying to frame Pearlman? Pe said...

Dear Ram,

I am in awe of your strength, optimism and determination to live your life as you always have as an example to others of the importance of morality, positive values and creative thinking.

I wish you a very good 2011 and many more to follow.

Judith Nusbaum
Israel

openlight said...

Of course you will have the last laugh.

Its more than a year I have been reading your posts and find your posts way above my own thought (even though I am young on an age basis).

Positive thinking is the way ahead and will be reading your posts for rest of my life.

Lexi said...

Wonderful Ram, it looks as though you've figured this out remarkably well and got the upper hand. Not clear that there's anything coming at you but good news for a long time. I endorse, "Have a roaring and hearty laugh" from Sandeep. Your many admirers and supporters in the Americas send you bouquets of kind wishes, and cheers and applause.

G. said...

Dear Raman,

Many thanks. May God give you a long life with many more years of your selfless service to your fellow countrymen and others. Your fortitude, good humour and courage inspire us.

Wishing you a very happy new year and all joy and happiness in 2011 and the years to come.

With warm regards,

G Parthasarathy

Raghav said...

Dear Sir,

All I can say is that the best cure is to look to today and let the tomorrows look after themselves. I find myself focusing on doing all that I enjoy, work, hobbies, etc. and somehow the notion that there is something wrong inside tends to fade away.

Wishing you all strength and happiness and many years of prolific writing.

Warm regards and a very happy 2011.

Raghav

bruthya said...

Raman Sir,

First and foremost I acknowledge you as my Guru in so many respects.There is so much one has learnt by knowing you, reading you and interacting with you.

You have already beaten Cancer...for the rest ,my prescription is simple... Keep breathing and carry on doing what you have been enjoying for decades:-)

All the very best for decades to come,

Pranams,
Vasan

abhijeet said...

sir.. it's very emotional to read how candidly you wrote all this.. i will certainly recommend this to my friends..
wishing you best of the health .. and also enthusiast filled new year..

R.SRI KUMAR said...

Dear Sir,

Truly inspirational posting. I can relate to may of the things that you writ about, when I saw my father undergoing the pain.

Wish you a very Happy New Year. Hoping to see you on my next visit to Chennai or your next visit to Delhi

R.Sri Kumar

AjaiJose said...

Wishing you speedy recovery & good health

-AJ

Pundita said...

Dear Ramanji:
With gratitude for all your work to inform the public -- Happy New Year, and my prayers for your long life and improving health.

Voyage of Thoughts said...

Sir,

Wishing you a Happy New Year filled with health - may you continue to conquer the diseases within and without!

The country needs patriots and thought leaders like you!

My God bless you!

Maya Saraswathy said...

Positive attitude can create hormones, seratonin and melatonin, which fight against cancer, and will reduce pain. Take Food rich in beta carotene( carrot, beet root, tomato, all fresh)Acha...really shocking and painfull. Why posted on the new year??? But one hope.., cancer related with hormones will spread very slowly...

Broadway said...

Sir,
That is one of the mysteries of life. There is always something. Incidents and happenings crop up from nowhere and challenge you to discontinue living your life. You need to nurse your body well but to not live your life in the process is ridiculous.

My sincere regards to you and your family

Happy new year

shaan said...

Hi Mr.Raman, May the New Year bring you good health and happiness!

Ashok said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ashok said...

I hope 2011 finds you in good spirits and in good health.

Happy New Year,

Ashok

Sarang said...

Sir,

The sheer number of replies in this thread tell about the support that you have in the Indian youth of today. I have said this before, but I repeat: My every morning starts with your intelligence update about India! Even before the news, I read your blog...

Keep up this fight, Sir! India needs you! We youngsters need you! I am sure with an attitude as jovial and determined as yours, you will definitely have the last laugh :)

Jaggy said...

Wow, you really thought out the solution to the cancer problem.
Am inspired by you - these matches you perfectly - "You can't do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth. "

SK said...

Sir,

You have been an inspiration! Wishing you the very best!

Cheers,
-karthik

Dhenkanal said...

Dear Mr. Raman, You will have the last laugh. Everyone's best wishes are with you.

Best regards

http://www.theverdictindia.com said...

Respects Shri Ramanji,
It is an inspiring story for the youngesters as well as the old...
We at THE VERDICT and The Independent Media will definitely pray for your goodhealth and well being.

MEX said...

Dear Raman,

Sorry to hear about your cancer but I have no doubt that you will prevail in this battle too. I am sure God will give you many, many more years so that we continue to benefit from your analytical and insightful writings.

Wishing you a very happy and productive 2011.

Best,
mohan malik

Nagesh said...

Dear Raman Sir,

Nothing will stop you.. you can beat your cancer.. Nice to know that you are better now.. Keep your good health..

Anjaneya said...

Ramanji,

you da man! keep up the good fight dear sir.

walter said...

Hi Mr. Raman,

Here’s hoping that 2011 is a great year for you. Please continue writing your informative and insightful blog entries. Your blog is a treasure trove of information and is irreplaceable and a must-read for the youth in the country at a time when the conventional media has sold out to vested interests. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

Kalpana said...

Dear Mr. Raman,
You are an inspiration to many - in India and abroad. I am sure that if Guinness World Records was to carry out a verification, they would find that you are their holder for Strategic Analyst with largest number of articles to his credit (and superb analysis - I may add) and as the days go by, this record will only keep growing. With God's Grace and your positive attitude -you will have the last laugh and your life and attitude will be an inspiration to many on how to BEAT and deal with Cancer.
Wishing you many years of a productive and memorable life.
Kalpana Chittaranjan

Global Geopolitics Blog said...

Dear Mr. Raman:

I just read this account of your experience with cancer. I hope that the treatment plus your will power and perseverance will keep you with us for years to come.

For years I have been benefiting from your rational, ethical and fact based research and analysis of South Asian and world issues. The world greatly needs such clear, fair minded and well informed thinkers.

Happy New Year.

Kind Regards

Alan Fogelquist

Los Angeles

aamsvad said...

Hi Ramanji!
I hope the best of Health and speedy recovery to you. You are the final word on any intelligence analysis for the nation.Period.We pray for you.

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