Friday, January 25, 2019

I am a Survivor- Dr. Vijay Anand Reddy

I bought this book more than a year ago perhaps thinking it might help a friend of mine who was dealing with cancer. I flipped through a few pages and somehow didn't connect to it and kept it away. Now after all this time I decided to flip through a few pages and ended up reading the entire book.

Dr. Vijay Anand Reddy is a world-renowned oncologist and the Director of the Apollo Cancer Institute, Hyderabad. He has also started the CURE Foundation to create awareness on cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and rehabilitation.

Apart from the celebrity endorsements from Yuvraj Singh, Manisha Koirala, Gautami and others, we noticed that the name of our friend Ajanta Sircar who survived cancer and was treated by Dr. Reddy featured on the back cover. On page 292 I also found a patient mentioning my friend Dr. Prabhu Dheer, a fabulous person and a wonderful ortho surgeon.

The book has 108 stories of cancer survivors who went through the ordeal of suddenly finding a symptom, hoping its nothing serious, getting a check-up done, finding it hard to deal with the C word and then slowly making peace with it. Dr. Reddy seems to have been a great help with his positive outlook and his clear instructions to his patients to 'decide' to live, to follow medical advise, hydrate, eat well, stop smoking, go to work - just get back to life. Their accounts sound so happy and optimistic.

Right up front D. Reddy gives us the seven warning signs of cancer - CAUTION - C for Change in bowel or bladder habits, A for A sore that does not heal, U for Unusual bleeding or discharge, T for Thickening or lump in the breast, testicles or elsewhere, I for Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing, O for Obvious change in size, color, shape or thickness of a wart or mole, or mouth sore and N for Nagging cough and hoarseness.

108 stories of breast, ovarian, throat, larynx, colon, tonsil, tongue, eye, nose, vocal chords, throat,  and all sorts of cancers. All cured of the disease and even more so, the fear. And I liked the fact that most of them look at their reviews as something like going back to meet old friends in the hospital. It does appear that Dr. Reddy has created a fine culture in his workspace. Couple of incidents of people who found courage after they saw some four-year-old kids going for their radiation and stuff like that.

It is hard but I guess what Dr. Reddy has managed to convey is that cancer is not the end. It is curable. Decide. Stay strong, Live life. Don't indulge in self-pity. Indulge yourself instead. Get family support. And you will be able to live a long and happy life.

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