Friday, December 11, 2009

The Year That Was - A Health Issue!

Godavarikhani market - fresh as it can get!What an year! It began with much uncertainty due to a health condition and continued through the year. I guess I started noticing the changes in myself - the sudden increase in weight and several other factors such as blood pressure shooting up (I could feel it) etc but what pushed me to see the doctor was a huge swelling in my right foot. I was all set to drive off to Pune after a nice little two-day visit to Bellampally with Satish when I checked about the swelling with Vardha - it was rather huge and I was having difficulty wearing my shoes and sandals. He asked me for a BP reading and it was absurdly high.
Vardha suggested a series of tests and asked me to cancel the drive. I got the tests done next morning, collected the reports. All the readings - cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides - were all absurdly high. Thankfully the ECG was normal. We took the flight to Pune the next day. I was kicking myself for neglecting my health, and saw the good Dr. Sethia, Anu's doctor in Pune. She came with me for her own medication and was much support. He ran a series of tests himself and concluded that I needed to get my act together on the BP, cholesterol, thyroid and some other issues and precribed many medicines. I decided to follow all that he said and returned after a quiet, worrisome trip post-New Year.
The swelling persisted, which needed more tests. Ram was concerned. He fixed up a meeting with Dr. Gopichand. Visits to the cardiologist, scans of the abdomen and then an exploration of my varicose veins, led my doctors, now Dr. Prabhudheer, my good friend and a wonderful soul, to conclude that there was a grade 4 leak in my valves at the thigh which was good enough for a swelling. Another problem! I met Dr. P.C.Gupta, a true professional if there was one, and he said it involved a surgical procedure and that he would shut these veins off and start off new veins and all should be fine. However he wanted to rule out one possibility and asked me to do a creatinine-protein test.
And then all hell broke loose.
Turns out I was losing large amounts of protein through the kidney. There was a hush at the reading 5.42. Normal level is 0.2! He advised me to see the nephrologist. My thoughts were a bit hazy - kidneys, why me, why now, what is this. I waited a while at the CARE Hospital nephrology department and while waiting called Dr. Prabhudheer. Do you know a good nephro I asked? He said there was one at Sai Vani, Dr. M.V.Rao. I rushed there with the gang in tow- Ram was driving my entire show now. Another series of tests and scans and one look at the reports and Dr. Rao said, 'This is adult nephrotic syndrome'. I looked on in a daze not understanding what it was. Sounded complicated. 'But the good news is that the kidney function is perfect - your creatinine levels are normal. However you are losing protein. We need a kidney biopsy and we can start off on medication. Get the biopsy done at Apollo.'
Things were spinning out of control. Kidney, biopsy - whoa, these were big words. The fear of death started looming. I was already watching the state Rajan Bala was in, with his kidney failure condition and wondered what it was all about. These doctors seemed quite casual about the way they spoke of it all but my world was turning topsy turvy. No stop salt intake, non-vegetarian, low protein diet, only one litre of fluid etc etc. Life jerked to a stop. Why, why?
Anyway, with long faces, we returned home, Ram and I, and fixed up with Vardha, who stood like a rock all through, (he always does, good old Don, despite all the ribbing we give him) to meet the Apollo chaps and get the biopsy done.
We met Dr. Ravi Andrews at Apollo, who told me that the biopsy was safer than crossing the road, that I could live with this syndrome a full life or take the risk of not getting treated and going into kidney failure, and we did everything including a test run of how the biopsy procedure works, some pre-biopsy tests. The admission slip was issued and only room availability was to be checked. We decided to do it after the Sankranti festival, two days later. There was much uncertainty, each test showed something new, this entire nephro area seemed a bit hazy not just to laymen but to doctors as well. I was really keyed up.
That evening Koni dropped in and we were talking about the condition. He started talking of how homeopathy helped his daughter Sagarika over the long run. It suddenly hit me that when I was young, Mom had used homeopathy from Sivananda Murthy garu in Warangal to cure me of adenoids (I was scheduled for a small surgery just as in this case). The adenoids had vanished in a week. No trace of them ever after! Hey, I said, not a bad idea. It worked once so it will work again. Ram, who was there, also agreed, which was pretty uncharacteristic. I thought he might rubbish the idea (normally he does with such ideas) but he felt that this biopsy business sounded rather aggressive and we could try the homeo route. That gave me some more time to find my feet (pun intended).
I met the good Dr. Mohan, my regular homeo doctor and a pretty good one at the job, at Musheerabad the next day. The normally composed Dr. Mohan gave me some medicine but he looked a bit flustered and gave me the number of Dr. Krishnan, a nephrologist at Apollo, Vikrampuri, and asked me to meet him. He was not too sure it appeared. While going home, again wondering what to do, with my homeo doctor sounding uncertain, I dropped in at Mythily's house for dinner, and out of the blue, Harsha started telling us of this high profile, miracle homeo cure doctor from Tirupati whom he had met a few weeks ago. He treats high profile patients and had treated Harsha out of a condtiion which needed surgery. Could we see him I asked? He called him. Yes. But at Tirupati. Tomorrow first thing in the morning. It was nine in the evening. We booked our flight tickets. And flew.
And the the journey began! Into homeopaths, naturopaths, ayurveda, spiritual healers, kriya yoga experts, energy healers, healing correction healers, a regression, affirmations, radical forgiveness healers, alcolohic anonymous methods to heal, sujok and so on.
It was a fascinating path and I met several incredible people. More on them later!

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