It was in the evening. We were asked to stay calm in the house. Mother said she was no longer alive. I remember crying, begging her to take me to Kathmandu. I wanted to be a part of that sadness; I did not want my father to leave, I wanted to accompany him. I can never imagine any situation as emotionally painful as this. It brings tears even when I decided to finally write about it.
She was in her mid fifties. I remember her smiling face and the love that she showered. They tried everything. I remember her baldness and the fake hair that she had to use. Other memories about her are mostly derived from my parents who share it over the years.
This is a case of Ovarian Carcinoma, that’s what they diagnosed. In order to get the best treatment that was available, she was brought to China to start a treatment protocol. Little did I know she was going through all that? When people ask if I have empathy for any patients? I reply with a high note saying, I do.
Ovarian Tumor is the most complex tumor that the human body can produce. Due to the wide variety of cells that are present, tumors can originate from any layer. It’s virtually a silent tumor. Women seldom complain of lower abdominal pain and because women hardly face any menstrual abnormalities, the diagnosis becomes delayed. Only when the tumor has substantially enlarged, and pressure symptoms caused by the tumor produces urinary disturbances and mild dull ache in the lower abdominal area.
There are three kinds of women in Nepal .The first: the educated, financial sound, ready to undergo regular gynecological assessment and the second : The uneducated, the financial sound and who are so entangled in house hold politics that they don’t making regular check up. The third, that hardly can offer any meals and is in search of free medical treatment despite getting a diagnosis.
Ovarian tumors have seen to occur in women aging between 40-60 years. A familial distribution is seen. If two first degree relatives have been affected by ovarian tumors then the risk is increased by fifty percentages and if only one first degree relative is affected the risk is increased by 2-4 fold. A first degree relative could be a parent, sibling or offspring. Abdominal distention seems to be the most common symptom noticed at first.
Education about this disease is only useful if people make time to get checked up. Certain markers like CA-125 have shown to be useful to clinically diagnose and confirm the tumor, but false positive results can also occur. Make time to feel your body, that’s the best advice for any tumor. Detecting a lump anywhere in the body? Get checked! The early you get diagnosed the better chances of survival.
When she left us, it made a difference. I will always support Cancer awareness campaigns in Nepal and so shall Health Nepal Foundation do in the future. Cancer just happens to be the worst disease that the human mankind has to endure.