Sunday, April 27, 2014

Caregiver - The unsung Hero of every Cancer Batttle

Nobody should fight cancer alone. Everyone deserves a loving caregiver. In the midst of ones life’s biggest battle, one needs an advocate, a rock, and a safe harbor. 

Caregiver (Hindi - देख रेख करने वाला)
(definition on wiki) :- Is an unpaid or paid relative or friend of a disabled individual who helps that individual with his or her activities of daily living. Though in India it simply becomes the closest relative.  

People often talk about the fighter fighting the disease but the caregiver goes through much more as he / she needs to be the strongest at all times. He/she truely is the Unsung Hero of every Cancer battle.

Caregiving is not just hand-holding, it is hard work and it’s okay to cry, being sad is fine at times. But on the other hand let yourself be happy, look into a support group via the cancer center. Connect here on our site and discuss with other caregivers what they are doing. 

Cancer and its treatments are havoc upon the human body. Your cancer warrior needs every bit of your attention as he or she would have mood swings, pains, restlessness, loneliness etc. You must focus on the task to complete the mission and get the fighter to fight and sail through.

You’ll be scared, a lot. You will be in doctors’ offices and clinics and hospitals. You’ll see too many very sick people. Do not let negative thought come in your mind. You need to remain calm  and firm. You need to learn to ask a lot of questions. If you don’t understand something, ask again and again if need be. You and your loved one need and deserve to know exactly what the team has in mind. 

Knowledge is the antidote to fear. You as the caregiver are the key link between what your loved one feels and thinks, but may not be able to say at the time to the doctor’s and the team. Also you would be expected to almost become half doctor. You would be expected to have an understating of the medicines etc.

You are surrounded by people who want to help, but have no idea, none, of what needs to be done, so ask for help when required. No one set of caregiver guidelines is correct. You know your own circumstances better than anyone. When in doubt, listen to yourself, give yourself permission to trust in your judgment. You are smart and capable and worthy of this great thing.

Most importantly, when you are with your loved one, listen with all your heart. Your cancer warrior needs you, needs you weak, strong, your wisdom and your touch. Regardless of how this cancer journey turns out, you exit at the other end a person of greater wisdom, compassion, and heart. 

Do not lose hope at any point of time and don’t let any negative thought weaken you and people around you. You must have faith at all times. Remember, there will be days that will bring bad news, you must be ready to handle it well for yourself and your warrior and keep the smiles on, always..

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Meeting a Cancer Patient - Some points to keep in mind.

There's a lot of talk of cancer these days. What if your friend or a relative is going through this dreaded ordeal. At some point in your life, you will want to visit a friend or loved one with cancer. It is scary as Hell.
What to say? What to do? How do I help? You want to help, but we don’t know how. What are the rules for a visit with a cancer warrior? Are there any ?

So I have put down some basic points for Calling on the Cancer Warrior:-

1.)  No Denying - It is a little odd.

Its natural to not be sure as to what to say or do when meeting a Cancer patient for the first time. So firstly try and meet the person normally. Dont be looking for horns on his head. Or look down upon him to figure out, as to how bad is his health. Somehow a cancer patent figures out whats in your mind. And for God sake, remove that feeling of Pity from your face. You are there to meet him. He is the same person that you know, Just be normal. 

Just to be clear, I not asking you to be pretty cool and act as if all is well and keep it super light. Sorry but that also is not the case here. So start normal, and gauge the scene. Let the patient talk. Ask basic questions.

2.) Make absolutely, positively, 100% certain you are healthy.

Whether from the chemo, the stress of the illness, or their cancer itself, many cancer patients have compromised immune systems. A little cold  that you have could have serious repercussions for the health of a cancer patient. Also avoid taking your kids to him because they generally have some cold or infections going on. 

Remeber a Cancer patient and his family takes utmost care to keep the house neat and clean and you could have just used a public toilet. So respect the others weakened immunity and act accordingly. So Wash your hands as you reach the house. Ensure you dust your shoes a little. 

3)  Make contact in advance- Fix it up.
Check if he is in good health to meet. Also, the patient is no VIP but trust me, he is going to make his plans as per yours. To take that nap as per your visit time. So respect the other persons time. It anyways good manners. Cancer, and cancer treatment, are exhausting beyond words. How exhausting? Picture yourself as you lie on the couch with your face turned towards the seat cushions. You hear something interesting on the TV, like IPL match. Now, try and imagine that you lack the energy to turn your head towards the TV to see what is on. Yep. That bad. Sometimes worse.

3)  Carrying flowers - Sorry but no need. 

Before you bring anything with you, contact the patient’s caregiver to figure out if the gift would be of any use to the patient. Radiation and chemotherapy play havoc with the senses. What to you is a lovely scented bouquet of flowers might kick off three hours of retching and vomiting for your friend. In addition, many people become highly sensitive to pollen during treatment. A plant might be nice. But ask.
We Indians love to gift food. Dont get something the patient may love to eat but cant. I hated it when my friends got me a box Mitai. Ask if there is anything special you could bring, and anything specific you should avoid. Because for eg An Apple (i-pads etc are welcome anytime) may be a perfect gift to any person recovering from any ailment but due to low immunity my doctor has told me not to have Apples. My brother brought me some x-box CDs once. Trust me, it was the most useful gift at that time.
4)  "Be Positive" - Yes. But dont go overboard. Avoid forced optimism.
Don’t be a cheerleader. “You’re going to be fine. I just know it.”
“Bullshit,” says the patient. “I might freakin’ die. That’s why they’re bolting my head to that goddam table and irradiating my skull. That’s why my body is slowly being carved to pieces. That’s why I get bags of ugly chemicals pumped into my body. You don’t know shit about my illness. I’m laying here, feeling like if I blink 2% too hard, my eyeball is going to fall out of my face, and if I swallow without thinking on it first, I’m going to be curled up in a ball in the bathroom for the next two hours heaving my guts out, 'You’re going to be fine. I just know it?’ ” - No Thank you.
Ok the above was a little uncalled for. Well these mood swings could really be a bitch sometimes. Please forgive a patient if you see him go through a rant. Its the meds and not you. Sudden mood swings are known side effects of chemotherapy. We can be Dolly Bindra at times.
Also don’t play the pity card. Don’t tell a story about your distant cousin's best friend's Aunt who’s a cancer survivor. Fact is, in the midst of my cancer, I don’t care. I’ve got my own problems right here, thankyouverymuch. As cancer fighters and survivors, we’re good at finding our own inspiration. Hang out with me, that’s all I ask.

5)  Physical contact. Ask first.

Cancer hurts. Sometimes, the pain cannot be imagined. Sometimes, a hug can be agony. Sometimes, you need a hug, a bit of human warmth and contact to remind you that you’re not alone. 
For example, some times I go ahead with the handshake and some times I avoid it, depending on how far I am from Monday (my regular chemos days) So dont feel odd and simply ask.

6)  Dont become that all GYAN and Advice giving Guru.

You must do Yoga, Pranayam, Dancing, Skating, Power Yoga, Some tree worship, meditate entire day, stop every thing and just do Yoga, like just right now or maybe hang on a tree upside down. Well thanks but again no thanks. Do feel free to provide your advice but please dont go about pushing it. I am sure the patient (who does want to get well) is doing all that he can do to get well. Which includes the non medical things. Just dont push him too much.

6)  Be there now.
If your friend wants to talk; then talk.See what kind of mood he is in. He maybe in a great mood or maybe just in middle of a long week of being low. Listen, really listen, to what they’re saying. They’re talking with their eyes, and body language, as well as their words. Pay some attention. 
They like/love your company. Trust me. The fact that you took out time and came to meet, means a lot. And they know it. All they need is your support.
You do realize, don’t you, that you too, are stressed? You do realize that your angst fills the room? It is hard to watch someone suffer, someone in fear, someone in pain. Let your heart fill with compassion, not pity, and join with them in your heart for a few moments. Don’t share your heartache. Let go of your pain and watch them relax along with you.
“He who attends on the sick attends on me.” - Buddha
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Yoddhas - What are we

This is a blog site to the support group called - Yoddhas.

This group is a support group for cancer patients in India. We would be posting health related articles here. 

Lets support the brave Indians fighting Against Cancer. 

Join-in. Lets spread awareness and support each other.


This is a promotional page for the group below for patients etc
Facebook page Yoddhas

If you know anybody dealing with Cancer (directly or indirectly), help them by suggesting them there. Visit our website


To be the trusted source of information and support for anybody dealing with Cancer in India.


  1. To connect and help :- patients/caregivers/ doctors/ people who want to help and live healthy. 
  2. Explore and discuss the best hospitals/ treatment regimes/ food / exercises/ alternatives etc for Indians.
  3. To promote awareness about Stem Cell Donorship (its basically donating blood only). Lot of Indians die because they could not find a suitable donor.


Actually there a lot of sites, NGOs in India and doing a great job but whats missing is the support community. Outside India one has a great deal of groups like this but this is missing here. We need to help each other. In India the fight against Cancer is a battle fought alone. Lets change that. The awareness is still very  low.


1. This initiate is purely NON PROFIT.

2. Do not try and sell anything here.

3. All we need is support and not pity.

Healthy Eating for the Desi's

Whether you are a mast Desi Babydoll or a stud Yo Yo boay living a masti filled life, beware sometimes life knocks us down, and brings you down with health issues. Say you have a history of cancer in your family, or are currently battling any disease, lifestyle factors, including your diet, can make a huge difference in helping you fight off any ailment. Some foods actually increase your risk of cancer, while others support your body and strengthen your immune system. By making smart food choices, you can protect your health, feel better, and boost your ability fight any disease. Also the Indian food by nature is full of natural ingredients which are good and helpful in fighting of diseases. For eg. Turmeric (haldi) is an excellent anti-cancer food.

What you need to know about yourr diet.

Not all health problems are avoidable, but you have more control over your health than you may think. Avoiding cigarettes, limiting alcohol, and getting regular exercise are a great start to a healthy lifestyle. 
But to best support your health, you also need to look at your eating habits.What you eat—and don’t eat—has a powerful effect on your health, including your risk of cancer. Without knowing it, you may be eating many foods that fuel cancer, while neglecting the powerful foods and nutrients that can protect you. If you change your diet and behaviors, you can minimize your risk of any disease.

 Your diet should predominantly be a plant-based diet that includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. A plant-based diet means eating mostly foods that come from plants: vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, and beans. The less processed these foods are—the less they’ve been cooked, peeled, mixed with other ingredients, stripped of their nutrients, or otherwise altered from the way they came out of the ground—the better. Keep in mind that you don’t need to go completely vegetarian. Instead, focus on adding “whole” foods, which are foods close to their original form. Just as important, try to minimize or reduce the amount of processed foods you eat. Eat an apple instead of drinking a glass of apple juice, for example. Or enjoy a bowl of oatmeal with raisins instead of an oatmeal raisin cookie.

Simple tips:-

Add fruit and a few seeds or nuts to your whole grain breakfast cereal (such as oatmeal). Go smart. Not all Indian breakfast is good. That Aloo Paratha (Indian stuffed bread) is NOT an health option specially when served with chucks of butter. But say a Idli is a great light steamed option. Again avoid the processed stuff. Yes that old saying still hold true. and I wont get into why its still the way to go. 

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.

Eat a big salad filled with your favorite beans and peas or other combo of veggies. Always order lettuce and tomato (plus any other veggies you can) on your sandwiches. Order whole grain bread for your sandwiches. Have a side of veggies like cut up carrots, sauerkraut, or a piece of fruit.


Fresh fruit and vegetables. Grab an apple or banana on your way out the door. Raw veggies such as carrots, celery, cucumbers, peppers, etc. are great with a low-fat dip such as hummus or any other spread (low fat please). Keep trail mix made with nuts, seeds, and a little dried fruit on hand. Do NOT go for those Haliram mix namkeens, chips etc. You will just kill the effort. Or simply get a few Coconuts (get them half cut) home and have  it any time you feel low and tired. Instant Nirvana..

Add fresh veggies to your  dinner. Try to go low on the number of Rotis or the quantity of Rice to be low. Try baking - baked potato with broccoli and yogurt, sautéed veggies, or with mint chutney. Replace creamy pasta sauces, butter chicken curries with sautéed vegetables or tomato sauce made with healthy olive oil. Try more of grilled food than fried stuff. 

Try and kill that craving for a sweets post every meal. Its a stupid Indian house hold habit. Choose fruit instead of a richer dessert. Or a single square of dark chocolate. 

Drinking :
Ok. Let talk about what got you here. The mis-leading picture. Not really. SO what about Drinking Let me not preach here. Well a man has to drink some times (Its called Social Maajburi).  Well make the smart choices again. Drink in moderation. Try and drink red wine (An excellent anti- oxidant). Understand your mixers. A cocktail is a trap of empty calories. Snacks (chakhna-makhna) with drinks are seldom healthy. Rather go simple and enjoy a good drink. You wont like me for this like. But drinking can be treated in the below fashion. 
Remember - Always go for Quality over Quantity

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cancer in India - Some Facts

Every year, 10 lakh Indians are diagnosed with cancer and another six to seven lakh die of it.
And it's feared that, by 2035, these numbers may almost double to 17 lakh new patients and 12 lakh deaths per year.

More cancer specialists, more hospitals and more money for research for India-specific affordable treatment are needed to change the cancer graph of India, said the paper, written mainly by researchers at King's College in London and Tata Memorial Hospital in Parel, Mumbai.

One of the authors, Dr C S Pramesh from Tata Memorial Hospital, said the worst aspect of India's cancer picture is poor life expectancy. Over 60% of cancer patients in the US enjoy an over five-year survival rate, but the corresponding figure for India is 30%. "It's worrying that between 60% and 70% of our patients die earlier mainly because they seek treatment only after their disease has reached an advanced stage,'' said Dr Pramesh. 

The latest Lancet Oncology issue, in fact, focuses on India, China and Russia, as they account for 46% of all new cancer cases worldwide and 52% of all cancer deaths globally. It found that over two-thirds (71%) of cancer deaths in India occur in patients aged 30 to 69, with a significant number of premature deaths of people in the prime of their lives.

We must, as Indians come together and spread the awareness and make our government have a more serious approach towards this.

Reference : Times of India (12 April 2014)
Data from : Research paper on Indian cancer published in Lancet Oncology journal.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wheatgrass - The Cancer Healer

Wheatgrass and wheatgrass juice are excellent ways to get dark greens in the diet. Pound for pound, wheatgrass is more than twenty times denser in nutrients than other choice vegetables. Nutritionally, wheatgrass is a complete food that contains 98 of the 102 earth elements.

1) Increases red blood-cell count and lowers blood pressure. It cleanses the blood, organs and gastrointestinal tract of debris. Wheatgrass also stimulates metabolism and the body’s enzyme systems by enriching the blood. It also aids in reducing blood pressure by dilating the blood pathways throughout the body.
2) Stimulates the thyroid gland, correcting obesity, indigestion, and a host of other complaints.
3) Restores alkalinity to the blood. The juice’s abundance of alkaline minerals helps reduce over-acidity in the blood. It can be used to relieve many internal pains, and has been used successfully to treat peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, constipation, diarrhea, and other complaints of the gastrointestinal tract.
4) Is a powerful detoxifier, and liver and blood protector. The enzymes and amino acids found in wheatgrass can protect us from carcinogens like no other food or medicine. It strengthens our cells, detoxifies the liver and bloodstream, and chemically neutralizes environmental pollutants.
5) Fights tumors and neutralizes toxins. Recent studies show that wheatgrass juice has a powerful ability to fight tumors without the usual toxicity of drugs that also inhibit cell-destroying agents. The many active compounds found in grass juice cleanse the blood and neutralize and digest toxins in our cells.
6) Contains beneficial enzymes. Whether you have a cut finger you want to heal or you desire to lose five pounds…enzymes must do the actual work. The life and abilities of the enzymes found naturally in our bodies can be extended if we help them from the outside by adding exogenous enzymes, like the ones found in wheatgrass juice. Don’t cook it. We can only get the benefits of the many enzymes found in grass by eating it uncooked. Cooking destroys 100 percent of the enzymes in food. It also is very high in vitamins A, B-Complex, C, E and K and a natural source of laetrile (B-17).
7) Has remarkable similarity to our own blood. The second important nutritional aspect of chlorophyll is its remarkable similarity to hemoglobin, the compound that carries oxygen in the blood. Dr. Yoshihide Hagiwara, president of the Hagiwara Institute of Health in Japan, is a leading advocate for the use of grass as food and medicine. He reasons that since chlorophyll is soluble in fat particles, and fat particles are absorbed directly into the blood via the lymphatic system, that chlorophyll can also be absorbed in this way. In other words, when the “blood” of plants is absorbed in humans it is transformed into human blood, which transports nutrients to every cell of the body.
8) When used as a rectal implant, reverses damage from inside the lower bowel. An implant is a small amount of juice held in the lower bowel for about 20 minutes. In the case of illness, wheatgrass implants stimulate a rapid cleansing of the lower bowel and draw out accumulations of debris.
9) Externally applied to the skin can help eliminate itching almost immediately.

10) Will soothe sunburned skin and act as a disinfectant. Rubbed into the scalp before a shampoo, it will help mend damaged hair and alleviate itchy, scaly, scalp conditions.

Monday, April 7, 2014

A healthy eating guide

A healthy eating guide

Following a cancer diagnosis, many people want to make positive changes to their lives. Specially after we have spent most of our times relishing that butter chicken or that yummy chaat in the nearby market. Well food is like a crucial step in helping the treatment and recovery say from the disease and chemotherapy. Taking steps to live a healthier lifestyle is often a major part of these changes.
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Starchy foods and fibre
  • Protein
This information has been written for people living with or after cancer, who want to know more about a healthy diet. It explains why diet is important, and has tips on how to eat well and maintain a healthy body weight. It aims to help you think about what changes you may want to make, and help you put them into practice.
There are also answers to some commonly-asked questions about diet and cancer, and other sources of support and information, which we hope you’ll find useful.
For most people, a daily balanced diet includes:
  • Lots of fruit and vegetables. eg add more salads. But since immunity is on a low and specially some fruit in India may not be the best options like the Apples or Grapes which are easily adulterated or injected with chemicals to make then look better or ripen them faster. So do check with your doctor incase you need to avoid some particular fruits.
  • Plenty of starchy (carbohydrate) foods such as bread, rice, pasta, noodles, couscous and potatoes. Trust me this one doesnt sound like a good advice but for the crazy things the chemotherapy does to your body, one needs a lot of energy as well.
  • Some protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry, fish, nuts, eggs and pulses (beans and lentils). Infact being a chicken fan, I love the fact that my doctor told me to have a high dose of chicken or fish in my diet. But please do not do the typical mistake of cooking it the Indian style. say that oily gressy over cooked gravvy chicken. Its no good. Also am sure that the protiens are also lost by  the high time of cooking. So try and have simpler chicken reciepies. Like a grill chicken or maybe a boiled chicken pieces added in a soup. Experiment and see what you prefer
  • Some milk and dairy foods such as cheese, yoghurts and cream
  • Just a small amount of food high in fat, salt and sugar
  • Drinks should mainly be water, tea and coffee (without added sugar), or sugar-free drinks such as fizzy drinks, colas and squashes.

Fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables are a good source of many vitamins and minerals, and a great source of fibre. They should make up about a third of the food we eat every day. But most of us don’t eat enough of them.
Research suggests that people who eat diets high in fruit and vegetables may have a lower risk of heart disease. It also suggests that these diets may reduce the risk of developing some types of cancer (cancers of the mouth, gullet and bowel). Fruit and vegetables help food move quicker through the digestive system and prevent constipation. 
Try to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. A portion is 80g (3oz) of raw, cooked or tinned fruit and vegetables, and is roughly:
  • three heaped tablespoons of vegetables
  • a dessert bowl of salad
  • one average-sized fruit, like an apple, pear or banana
  • two smaller fruits, like apricots or plums
  • a slice of larger fruits, such as melon or mango
  • a handful of small fruits, like cherries or berries
  • a glass of fruit juice (150ml). Fruit juice only counts as one portion a day however much you drink.
Different coloured fruits and vegetables contain different nutrients. Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables of different colours will help make sure you’re getting a wide range of valuable nutrients.

Starchy foods and fibre

Starchy foods such as bread, chapatti, cereals, rice, pasta, yams and potatoes are a very important part of a healthy diet. They are a good source of energy and a major source of fibre, iron and B vitamins. Starchy foods should make up about a third of the food we eat each day.
Foods rich in fibre are a healthy option, but most people don’t eat enough. Try to include a variety of fibre-rich foods in your diet, such as wholegrain bread, brown rice, oats, beans, peas, lentils, grains, seeds, fruit and vegetables.
High-fibre foods are more bulky. They help us feel full, so we’re less likely to eat too much. Fibre helps keep bowels healthy and prevent constipation. Eating a diet with plenty of high-fibre foods may also help reduce the risk of bowel cancer. And the fibre found in foods such as oats, beans and lentils may help reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood.


The body needs protein to perform a wide range of functions, such as the repair and growth of body cells. Protein-rich foods are often also a good source of vitamins and minerals.