In this post I will talk about our first week in cancer hospital after my mum was diagnosed with stomach cancer. You can find the previous post here.
When we reached Delhi, we already had living arrangements so it was a little easier for us. I will use the name Cancer Hospital for Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital and Research Center as I do not intend to advertise any non-charity organization in particular. I am sure there are other hospitals in India and elsewhere as good as the one where we treated my mum.
We took mom to the hospital on the second day of our arrival in Delhi.
TIP:Usually, if we take a morning flight from Kathmandu and go directly to the hospital, we can get an appointment with the doctor on the same day as well.
FACT:It will reduce the cost and save time as early appointment means early access to treatment.
Since there are many patients from different geographical locations getting treatment at the Cancer Hospital, your accommodation can either be arranged by the hospital(if the Hospital accommodation is still available), if not you can always talk with the family of fellow patients getting treatment at the hospital, they will give you phone numbers of the local agencies that arrange for accommodations around the hospital area.
On the first day we visited the doctor at Cancer Hospital, we showed him the old reports from Kathmandu. As soon as he saw the reports, he recommended some tests and advised us that a surgery would be the best treatment option to begin with in my mom’s case. But the doctor would not perform surgery unless the biopsy results confirm that its definitely cancerous tumor/lesion as seen in the endoscopy report. In some cases, the biopsy results are negative several times but this does not necessarily mean that the tumor in not cancerous. There are hundreds of cancerous tumors that have been identified in the world and the biological structure of cancer cells are diverse and unique, due to this reason, the ink used in the biopsy test may sometimes not trace the cancer cells. So, in case the biopsy tests shows negative for cancer, do not hesitate to ask for repeated biopsy tests so that you can be 100% sure that the tumor is not malignant(cancerous).
On our first visit, we asked the doctor many questions and we were very impatient and worried. But we have to understand that being diagnosed with cancer is not the end of the world and it does not mean there is no treatment available. With proper treatment and care, one can outlive the prognosis and in some cases can even be cured! So being patient is the first lesson we learned, but it does not mean that we stop looking out for the treatment. It is always better to be well informed about the condition of our loved ones and explore every available opportunity for getting the right treatment. The doctor asked us to get our mom admitted the next day and asked us to arrange for accommodation around the hospital as we would have to spend some time at the hospital. At this point we had no clue for how long we would be at Delhi.
TIP: Book an open ticket from kathmandu rather than a two way ticket since the actual number of days required to stay in the hospital can be uncertain.
FACT: SpiceJet is the cheapest option for KTM-DEL-KTM, besides SpiceJet, RA can be another economical choice.
The next day, my mum went through another round of endoscopy, as we did not bring the slides from Kathmandu.
TIP: Always take the slides of your tests when you plan to change the hospital.
FACT:This will reduce the cost of new tests as well and also will spare the patient from going through the painful tests(my mom hated, still hates endoscopy test).
We had to wait for one more day before we got the endoscopy reports, in the meantime, our doctor arranged for surgery as there was definitive appearance of tumor in my mum’s city scan reports. The next day, biopsy report was out and it showed negative(suggesting there was no cancer). But the doctor was not convinced, so he asked for another endoscopy. Again in the second endoscopy also the results were negative. This only gave us hope that may be she didn’t have cancer, may be she would be ok soon and may be the treatment wouldn’t be so harsh, but rather than clinging to false hope, we encouraged the doctor to recommend as many tests as required. Then, the doctor asked us to go to the more advanced laboratory in Delhi and to get samples for biopsy from a more experienced surgeon. Only after this third test in a more advanced lab, my mom’s cancer was diagnosed. It was a vigorous kind of cancer cells called Signet Ring Cell Adenocarcinoma, diffuse type.
You can learn more about stomach cancer here, here and Mayo Clinic.
TIP: Regularly visit the website for Mayo’s clinic to keep yourself up to date about all the available treatments.
FACT: Visit Mayo Clinic website to cross check the course of treatment recommended by the doctor, drugs being used in Chemotherapy and so on to avoid any false method of treatments to be discovered in future.
I will try to write more about our other experiences in the posts to follow.