Shutterbug's Blog

Living with Multiple Myeloma in Hyderabad , India . Random musings .


Leave a comment

Resistance to Antibiotics and Ayurveda to my rescue.

I had been resistant to Antibiotics much before I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2011. My frequent bouts of sore throat would not go away in spite of using Antibiotics prescribed by the ENT Doctor. He would often tell me to meet him and give feedback after using Antibiotics. At times there would be an improvement and at times I would not get any relief. When there was no relief he would give me another set of medications which I would promptly gulp down . The pain and symptoms were so bad that I would not think twice about what I was gulping.

I was diagnosed with MM in Oct 2011, underwent a Stem Cell Transplant in Jan 2012.

I continued getting these attacks and as usual I was taking Antibiotics. These attacks are always triggered due to any kind of dust. I reduced my visits to Malls, Supermarkets , clothes stores, theaters, exhibitions and other public places . But dust finds its way into my body some way or the other 😦 . There is no way I can completely isolate myself from all kinds of dust. Another trigger for an attack is eating/drinking cold foods like ice cream or any cold drink which I stopped having anyway.

Had another attack recently and this time I consulted my Ayurvedic Doctor about my condition and whether I should take this new set of Allopathic medication. He said that I should not be taking Antibiotics as they affect the Bone Marrow and that the new set of medications were Steroids which are an absolute No-No.

What do I do now ??! , I was very sick …I had a very irritating wet cough , a runny nose , had fever that went up to 102 deg and my bronchitis was also severe. I continued the nebulisation with Levolin and Budecort. I was afraid I would end up with Pneumonia. Meanwhile my Ayurvedic Doctor recommended that I do a Sinus X-ray, Chest x-ray, LDH Serum and Urine Culture . Had to wait for two days before all the reports were out. Was glad that all the reports were negative :).

Meanwhile he recommended a herbal tablet for the runny nose and Kantakari Lehyam for my Bronchitis. This Lehyam is like a paste ..a sweet , pungent paste similar to Chyawanprash. My symptoms slowly reduced. A lot of patience was required as each painful hour went by very slowly. Took 5 days off from work . Felt like a dead person during those days and finally when I was ready to go to work I felt as if I was reborn and like a bird that just got out of a cage 🙂 .

So glad I was able to escape from using Steroids, for the first time.

Meanwhile my Ayurvedic Doctor also sent a Mishran which I am supposed to take with Warm water.

The meaning of the word Mishran is ‘a mix’ , a mix of several herbs in a powdered form, for improving immunity.

Am almost normal now but continuing the new Ayurvedic medications along with Curcumin, Ashwagandha , Satavari etc.

I am envious of people who are able to dig into ice creams and soft drinks and are able to withstand any kind of pollution/dusty environments.

Looking forward to a day when I can move around without fear of another attack. A day when I can eat an ice-cream and have a cold drink 🙂 … hmmm , I know I am asking for too much 🙂 .


Leave a comment

Random Musings Feb 2018

A long drive:

Time for another loong drive a little away from the city.

This time we chose to drive towards Vikarabad.

So glad that our Driver agreed to come on a Sunday. A cool guy who almost always  agrees to come even on a Sunday, whenever I am in the mood to go out. Went with Mom and dragged my brother too.

We drove via chevella , reached Vikarabad … continued to drive towards kotpally reservoir/dam. We didn’t go close to the dam but got a glimpse of the reservoir. Very beautiful serene place. It is unbelievable that such a beautiful lake exists on the outskirts of the city. A few folks from the city seem to get away from the hustle bustle of the city to spend a day here. Do take a lot of food and water when you plan to visit this place. Don’t expect to find any food or water anywhere near the reservoir. Came across groups of bikers who seemed to enjoy an early morning ride to the reservoir.

All through the route we noticed that it was mostly forest like area with hardly any cultivation. Came across very few villages and hardly saw people in these villages except for a few shepherds with their flock.

Not much greenery during this time of the year.

img_20180204_142639563-1649388560.jpg

img_20180204_150006955_hdr-11675321368.jpg

I liked the way the houses were built in some of the villages around this area. They were built in the shape of an L or U or a square with a central courtyard. All the houses were creamy/white in colour as they use the famous Tandur stones to build the walls and roofs of the houses. This place named Tandur is very close from Kotpally. Tandur tiles are very popular in constrcution of houses in Urban area s too. These stones are mined around this town.

Was tempted to go and knock on one of these houses but didn’t 🙂 . There is always another time.

We decided to drive back home via Mominpet and Sadashivpet.

One doesn’t have to go very far out of the city for taking a break once in a while , to breathe in some fresh air and to soothe the soul.

My Garden :

I was lucky this time with growing ‘Chukka koora’.

img_20180122_174008645506498888.jpgimg_20180122_173531731-11436611988.jpg

 

A green leafy veggie which is also called ‘khatta palak’ in Hindi. I harvested the leaves three times so far. This leaf is used for preparing dals , chutneys and other recipes.

I also got a few Petunias, Pansies and Dianthus for my Sunny balcony. Love these flowers . They bid farewell in the morning and welcome me back home in the evening.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

I lost a few of the Petunia plants due to over watering. The roots of these plants  rot due to water logging . Learnt my lesson 🙂

Fell sick :

Was down with  runny nose , Sore throat, Bronchitis again. Had to take Antibiotics  😦 . I have been avoiding supermarkets,Malls etc. This time the reason for the attack is a visit to one of the manufacturing shops in our factory. The meeting was in the Conference room inside the shop floor but there was no escape from the dust.  

 

 


Leave a comment

Status update on my MM : 23 Jan 2018

Been a while since I updated my status wrt MM.

Got the CBP , LFT and RFT tests done a couple of days ago.

All renal parameters are fine. Potassium , Glucose , TLC are also within normal ranges.

ESR : 51 ( This is expected , 0-20 is the normal range)

Hb : 10.6 (was 11 in November 2017 )

Globulin Serum : 4.0 (increased from 3.8 in November, normal values are between 1.8 and 3.6 )

This is a cause of concern.

Spoke to my Ayurvedic Doctor who felt there is nothing to be worried about. However I am not comfortable and asked him if I can increase the dosage to 3 capsules three times a day. He actually wants to reduce my dosage if possible. But I am not yet comfortable reducing the dosage right now.

I have been observing a little dip in my energy levels and was also feeling cranky during the last one month.

I had been taking 3 caps of Curcumin for almost 2 and half years since May 2015. All was well during this period and hence a few months back I was put on Turmeric. But the tests in November 2017 revealed that Globulin Serum increased to 3.8 . I was back on Curcumin 500mg 2 Capsules three times a day in December 2017. With the latest reports I feel the dosage of Curcumin has to be further increased .

Glad he agreed and I am back to my original dosage of 3 capsules of Curcumin 500mg three times a day. I will continue to take Ashwagandha , Tinospora Cordifolia , Satavari along with Curcumin . I am hopefull that my counts will jump back to normal very soon.

I shared the reports of my results with a confidante at work. She knows a lot about me and my style of working and feels that I have been exerting myself at work and it is better that I slow down a bit 🙂 . Will do something about this .

In my next set of tests after a month I will be including tests for Vit D , B12 , Uric acid and Calcium levels.

That’s all for now.

Time to take loong deeep breaths and relax :))


Leave a comment

My new possessions : Traditional Indian cookware

Time to display a few cute things from my kitchen…..my new Possessions….I find them cute and beautiful … these are the Traditional Indian Cookware that I have been collecting since a year .

After a lot of googling on the Internet as to why to use Traditional cookware , where to buy, what to look for and how to use them , I finally decided to buy some stuff and experiment. I bought a few online . I purchased one from a local Organic Market and also bought another one from a local potter too. The micro nutrients from the materials used in making these cookware, make the food tasty and these nutrients are also required for a healthy body. Food gets cooked faster in these cookware.

Here they are:

My Cast Iron cuties :

Appa Chatti This is the cutest one. Quite heavy .

img_20171107_212445857168290699.jpg

This one is actually used for making Appams but I cook everything except Appams in this :). I use it to cook a small quantity of veggies for making chutneys (roti pachchadi). It also comes in very handy for preparing Tadka . I stir fry some soaked beans/lentils for a quick evening snack. I sometimes use it for making a small quantity of Aloo fry , Okra fry brinjal fry  etc as the size is small.

Dosa Pan Love the pan . It now has a smooth finish just like a non-stick pan. Requires very less oil for making dosas. Dosas cook quite fast and are tasty too compared to those cooked in a non stick pan.

Skillet This one is also equally heavy  .

img_20170928_202728861-1761136825.jpg

Am yet to start using this one. I see myself preparing curries , vegetable fries and maybe chicken fry too. This is being seasoned right now.

All of these are very heavy and have to be handled like lil babies, so as not to drop them on the floor or on your feet 🙂 . Cast iron products are brittle and can break if dropped on hard surfaces and in turn break your floor too and also the bones in your feet :). Got to be very careful.

Clayware :

Clay Pot : I have been cooking almost everyday in this pot, on a gas stove top.

img_20170806_133006837~21303838647..jpg

Usually , in rural India , these pots are used for cooking using firewood as fuel. After reading several reviews about using them on a Gas stove top , I went ahead and bought this one at an Organic Farmers market in the City. Very useful for cooking Dals ,Sambhar and Pulusu. 

Kadai : Once I started using the Clay pot and got the confidence I started eyeing one potter by the road side, close to my place of work. This woman had a variety of clay utensils. Water Jugs , Curd pots, Pots for curries in different sizes,  a flat thick  pan with holes for making Phulkas , kadais . I bought this Kadai.

img_20171107_2127335681877492364.jpg

A kadai is much deeper than the Appa chatti . I have been cooking all varieties of  vegetable fries using this.

This type of Clayware is very light in weight and have to be handled carefully. They will break into pieces if dropped on a hard floor.

Stoneware: 

Kal chatti : 

img_20171105_110359925~2688526460..jpg

This is my latest possession. In the process of seasoning.

I have started bragging about my possessions and experiments with recipes to my family , friends and colleagues.

Cooking using Non-stickware , Ceramic ware,  Stainless Steel or Aluminium is no big deal. But when it comes to using traditional cookware one should first appreciate the benefits of cooking in these types of cookware and fall in love with them 🙂 . Next step is to learn how to season these types of cookware . Once the pots and pans are seasoned ,you are ready to start cooking . This is not the end of the story 🙂 . One should also know how to clean and store them so they last long and are ready for the next recipe. The only downside is that these have to be handled carefully.

I bought the appa chatti , the skillet and Kal chatti  online from villagefair.com and peacockcolours.com .

Go ahead and revive the traditional way of cooking. Eat tasty food and also stay healthy.

Happy cooking !!

 


Leave a comment

Raw Turmeric Vs Turmeric powder

I am in love with Turmeric, the Golden spice. A lot of research has been done on the health benefits of Turmeric and a lot of people the world over are experiencing positive results.

My being alive on this planet is primarily due to Turmeric.

Turmeric is widely being used to treat several illnesses from minor to major chronic illnesses of the body and the mind. There is a lot of information on the Internet.

Everyone is aware that prevention is better than cure but how many actually take the effort to be healthy.  We don’t even know what to do to prevent illnesses. With the kind of diet and pollution levels ,most people should be worried about ending up with some kind of illness, but are clueless as to how to prevent.

By consuming Turmeric we can greatly reduce and even delay the probability of occurrence of illnesses.

Almost all Indians consume Turmeric via their food . Turmeric powder is one of the key ingredients in most Indian recipes. However , the quantity and quality of the Turmeric powder that is used should be increased so as to get the maximum benefit.

Turmeric can be used in the form of a powder or as raw turmeric. It is preferable to use Raw Turmeric .

The store bought powders may be adulterated. It is best to prepare the powder at home using dried Turmeric root. First crush the root into smaller pieces and then grind it in your mixer grinder.

It is best if you can get hold of raw Turmeric root. You can also grow it in your garden.

Here is a link that tells you why –

https://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-queries/7-reasons-why-raw-turmeric-maybe-better-than-powder#rawturmeric

This website has a lot of information on the health benefits of Turmeric.

Hope you too will benefit from this Golden spice.


Leave a comment

Recalling Memories of Dec 2011

memories

It has been 6 years since I underwent Stem Cell Transplant for Multiple Myeloma. It was in Dec 2011 when I was ushered into an isolated , sterilised , spic and span room where I would spend 15 days all alone.

A room where I would be reborn 🙂 , where my healthy Stem cells would be put back into my bloodstream which in turn would produce fresh and pure blood cells.

I spent Christmas (2011) and the New year(2012) in this room . I had the company of Doctors , Nurses and housekeeping staff who were like family and I would look forward to meet them and chat with them.

Felt too weak to sit by the huge glass window which overlooked the front porch of the building . I had to take the help of a nurse to take a short walk around the room.

Spent my waking hours watching my favorite shows on TV. I kept switching between Cooking , Travel and Religious channels .

Each morning my blood samples were taken and I eagerly looked forward to the reports which would arrive in a couple of hours . The counts of various blood cells would reveal how well my Stem cells were functioning.

A lot of yummy food would be served but it was difficult for me to swallow as my digestive system went on a strike 🙂

I patiently waited for each day to pass. My doctor promised me that he will send me home for Sankranti (a Hindu harvest festival which is celebrated around Mid of January every year ).

Since then , each year around December/Jan , I become nostalgic .

I made a lot of resolutions during those days 🙂 , all that I would do and not do. I have been quite successful with most of the do’s and don’ts 🙂

Feeling very blessed and grateful as another memorable year is passing.

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Road trip from Hyderabad to Kavali

Time for my yearly sojourn to Granny’s village near Kavali. From 23 Dec 2017 to 27 Dec 2017.

Drove from Hyderabad to Kavali via Nalgonda-Narsaraopet-Chilakaluripet-Ongole.

 

hyd to kavali

Started at 7am and planned to have breakfast at Village Aharam , an organic restaurant which is around 20km after exiting the ORR. We saw huge crowds  and so decided to go to NGrill resto which is 50km from the ORR. This was equally crowded and had to wait for a table.

This stretch is a busy one , with lots of people driving between Hyderabad and Vijayawada and prefer to have breakfast in one of these places.

Stopped for lunch after crossing Narasaraopet . Found a kachcha road on the left and parked under a tree.

A pleasant drive with all the greenery and great weather. This time of the year is beautiful for travelling by road. Excellent roads especially the stretch from Chilakaluripet to Kavali which is part of the National Quadrilateral. It is an 8 lane express highway  , maintained beautifully and is as good as any interstate highway in the USA and other developed countries. Thanks to our erstwhile Prime Minister Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee , we are able to drive on such roads in India.

We drove through a variety of fields . It is the season for various crops like Chilli , Cotton , Tobacco and Paddy during this time of the year.

Reached Kavali by 4pm. A non-stop drive would take 7 hours.

Life in a village is like life on another planet . They have their own set of joys and challenges.

Here are a few sights along the drive :

A Marigold field.

The Krishna river near Miryalaguda. The left bank of the river is in Telangana and the right bank is in Andhra Pradesh.

There is a Restaurant above this Toll gate.

Following pics are from our village :

 

Paddy fields.

Spent a few days in our village which is 5km from the Bay of Bengal. The population in the village is around 500 . Each time I visit , I  see a few developments in the village . One of the road leading to the village is being widened as a small harbour is being developed around this part of the ocean . Lots of Autos in the village now . The erstwhile Bus has been stopped due to increase in the number of Autos. A water tanker supplies water to every house in the village for washing/cleaning  purposes. There are no water supply yet, though pipelines have been laid. Filtered drinking water is also supplied in 20 liter plastic drums from a water treatment plant for a decent price. The underground water in this area is salty and not fit for drinking. There is just one well on the outskirts of the village which has sweet water. One of them in the village has bought a Car and an Air Conditioner. The first signs of urbanisation in the village 🙂 Sign of prosperity .

Recently TTD has started construction of a Rama temple in the village.

IMG-20171004-WA0015Smartphones are being used to check weather conditions , levels of water in the surrounding lakes as the irrigiation is through canals . They also check information about government schemes.

Enjoyed fresh unpolluted air and fresh food. Started back on the 5th day at 9am and reached Hyderabad at 5pm. Had our packed lunch under a huge tamarind tree . Had Tea at Vivera restaurant near Narketpally. One can buy some fresh veggies too at this place.

Back to the hustle bustle of the city…as we enter the Financial district in Hyderabad …

Till my next visit…..