Shutterbug's Blog

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

Leave a comment

Back to 30 Dec 2011

30 Dec 2011

While in the BMT room, after I was given the medication to kill all my blood cells , on 24 Dec 2011, I was parallely given blood and platelets through IV after two days.

My dad and hubby were busy arranging for blood and platelets. No visitors were permitted to meet me.They would wait all day outside the BMT Main door . All they saw was that a plate full of food went inside, and almost all of it came out.

My mouth was beginning to get dry and sore, and I had no appetite to eat. A lot of good food was being sent, but there was no way I could eat. I was given an ointment to apply inside my mouth before eating. In spite of the ointment I was unable to eat.

Each day, several doctors would see me ,check a few reports, and ask me how I felt and left.

My feet were beginning to get numb, and I found it very difficult to sleep because of a tingling sensation. I would request the nurse to massage my feet as it felt better and was able to sleep for a while.

All these symptoms were because of the medication. I was not aware that I would have these symptoms. I found it strange when duty doctors would ask about these symptoms much before I actually started experiencing them.

Every morning, at around 6am, a blood sample was taken ,to check my blood counts.

I was told that the blood counts would gradually decrease and become zero in a week. Later the counts would increase.

I was a bit worried ,what if the counts do not increase even after a week? After observing my reports for a few days ,my oncologist told me that my counts may take a little longer time.

I used to pray most of the time. I would watch spiritual channels on the TV. I also watched a few TV serials at specific times.

Everyday routine would be the same.

…to be cont’d

Leave a comment

10 years ago, recalling Christmas celebrations by nurses in the BMT wing.

24 Dec 2011

I was welcomed by pretty nurses inside the BMT wing with beautiful smiles..

The whole place was spic and span and looked great. 

I changed into the clothes given by the nurses in the changing room before I was shown my room.

Passed by the nursing station before I entered my room . All the patient rooms were around the nursing station.

The room was bright and spacious with a huge window , a TV screen on the wall in front of the bed ,  a chair ,a side table, and other paraphernalia required for a patient. The room had an attached washroom.

After all the formalities , I settled down and  wondered how I would spend  the next 15 days in this room. Long way to go. I spent the day watching my favorite channels on TV.

I had no clue as to what was in store for me the next couple of weeks. Just went with the flow.

Had good food and slept well.

25 Dec 2011

After breakfast and a nice bath, I was given a medication through IV. I didn’t question what was being given, but my oncologist had told me that this medication would destroy all the bad cells in my blood. I had some vague idea about the process of a stem cell transplant as informed by my oncologist.  I didn’t want to read anything on the Internet when I was advised to do a BMT.

Realized it was Christmas when the duty nurses came and wished me. I returned their greetings . All the nurses had  celebrated by cutting a cake, and one of the nurses gave me a piece of cake, but I was afraid to eat it as I was worried about any kind of contamination.

Every year since my BMT , I recall that day on Christmas.

While chatting with the nurses, I soon learned that almost all the nurses are from kerala.  They all missed their families on Christmas.

By EOD ,I was bored and requested the nurse to stay with me and sleep in the room. We chatted for a while about our families and slept.

I understood how the duty doctors take turns to be with the patients. There was one other patient in another room. The BMT wing had a capacity to handle 8 patients.

I quickly learned that there are 6 nurses in all, and 2 nurses are on an 8-hour shift daily.

It has been just 2 days since I was in the BMT ward. Long way to go, and I already started the countdown.

My Oncologist assured me that I would be home for Sankranti, which is on 13 Jan.

That’s all folks!!

Take care and stay safe.

Leave a comment

Lot of gardening works and harvesting some root vegetables

I had a busy day in the garden today.

As usual ,Srinu, our car driver, helped me with all the activities in the garden.

I started by transplanting two hibiscus plants from small containers to the ground.

Also transplanted a white Butterfly pea plant in the ground. This plant was given by my sister long ago, and I had been mulling over as to where to plant it. A place receiving good sunlight is always best for flowering plants, and I planted this next to the hibiscus plant  in a sunny spot.

I saw a few Taro plants that had stopped growing. I don’t remember when I had planted them. So I decided to remove them. When I uprooted, I was surprised by what I saw. There were several well developed taro bulbs . I  Harvested almost 1kg of Taro bulbs.

Freshly harvested Taro bulbs

Replanted a few taro plants in the same place, and I am hoping for a good harvest next season.

I noticed that my Ivy gourd is not growing well. So, the soil around the plant was loosened, and I added cow manure. Hopefully, I will see some improvements in the growth soon . Also added Ghana jeevamrutham to the soil.

I like the light green color of ferns. Ferns are very delicate plants and cannot tolerate too much light and heat. I have only one plant that is healthy . I wanted to propagate more of these and checked if there were any runners. I found two and carefully uprooted them and replanted in another pot.

I have a pink Adenium, which is still in the same plastic cover since I bought it . The plastic cover was also torn. It’s been 3 years now. Finally, transplanted it into another plastic container.

Last but not least ,I also harvested some ginger. The first time I had planted ginger, and it’s been a long time. The leaves started drying, which is a sign that it is time to harvest. I had planted three small pieces, and the result is not bad at all.

Freshly harvested ginger

I had a satisfying day.

That’s all folks !!

Take care and stay safe.

Leave a comment

This day, 10 years ago, the collection of stem cells from my blood

This day, every year, I recall being admitted to Apollo Hospital Hyderabad for my BMT.

22 Dec 2011 –

In the operation theatre, a port was placed on the upper part of the thigh to draw my blood. The insertion is made in one of the bigger arteries that carries blood from the heart to the legs. Hence, the pressure of blood is very high.

After the insertion, a nurse was told to put a lot of pressure with her hands on this part, so the blood clots and heals.

After a while, the pressure was removed, and I was sent to my room. There was some discomfort, and I had to sleep without moving all night.

This was 10 years ago. I am not aware if the procedures have changed now.

23 Dec 2011 –

The next morning , I was moved into a different room. I saw a huge box that appeared like a huge xerox machine. A tube from this machine was connected to the port in my thigh.

There was another port in my arm that was connected a few months ago through which I was given chemo.

Another tube from the machine was connected to this port .

The process began, and slowly, my blood was being drawn into the machine. This blood was sent to a centrifuge inside the machine, and stem cells were retrieved and stored away. The remaining blood was given back to me via the port in my arm.

The process went on for 8 hours when my oncologist said that the stem cells collected were sufficient.

There was no feeling whatsoever while the process was on. Just that I should not move and had to be lying down all the time.

The process was completely successfully.

I would be shifted to the main BMT on 24 Dec 2011.

Leave a comment

My video on Farmizen , Bottle gourd halwa , easy Sankranti muggu/kolam

I have been a customer of Farmizen since 4 years. That’s definitely a loyal customer isn’t it 😀. Farmizen delivers fresh organic veggies every week ,directly from the farm.

So,I thought it’s time to share my experiences with Farmizen and also explain the Farmizen model vs the traditional retail model.

Here is the link to the video –

Mom sent a nice tender bottle gourd from her garden. It was so tender that there was no need to peel the skin nor remove the core of the gourd. I grated the whole gourd as it is and made halwa using jaggery and milk. The result was yummy but I wish I had cooked the grated pieces for some more time before I added the milk

Spoke to  mom and gave her the feedback. Mom tells me that rice powder can also be used to replace milk. Will try this recipe next time. Milk or rice powder helps in thickening the dish.

Here is the final result –

Bottle gourd is a healthy vegetable and can be consumed by anyone irrespective of their health condition. Prefer to buy a tender one and after cleaning it well use the skin too for cooking. Do not peel the skin as it contains several vitamins and minerals and fiber too. So, include it in your diet.

In South India , most homes draw Muggu/kolam in front of the Main gate or Main door of their homes. There are several dimensions as to why these are drawn. One basic requirement before drawing a muggu/kolam is that the area should be cleaned well. Muggu/kolam designs vary from simple to complex, small to big , with or without dots. images of birds, flowers ,animals and other geometric patterns are drawn using a powder made of limestone mixed with rice powder. We don’t get limestone these days, and hence stone powder is used.

I will write another detailed post on muggu/kolam some other day.

The month of December is special for drawing muggu/kolam using lines and no dots. Here is a small muggu/kolam that I drew yesterday using a plus symbol as the template..

It feels good when the entrance to the home has a nice and neat muggu/kolam. The time spent on drawing is like meditation.

That’s all for now folks .

Take care and stay safe !!

Leave a comment

December musings-2021

At the fag end of this October, I dug out my sweaters ,washed them, and kept them ready for the upcoming winter.

The winter months here in Hyderabad start in November and last till February.

In Hyderabad,  we begin to feel the change in temperatures during Diwali; the date is usually at the end of October or early November. The weather suddenly changes from being wet to cold. During the past years ,I have also noticed that around Diwali,  the rainy season comes to an end with a light drizzle, and the evenings begin to get cooler.

This year , during Diwali and for several weeks after Diwali too, the weather was cloudy most of the time. However, there was no drizzle. And when the sky is cloudy , the weather is not  cold. The clouds trap the warmth from the earth, and so it was warm even when winter season had officially begun.

The ceiling fans in our home continue to be ON even today, whereas during the previous years ,I used to have the heater ON during the nights in December. This year, until now ,I didn’t feel the need to bring out the heater. We have a small portable heater that keeps the room warm all night when it gets cold. The day temperature here in Hyderabad usually hovers around 20 degrees Celsius, and at night, the minimum is around 12 degrees Celsius . These temperatures are actually quite comforting compared to the colder countries, where central heating is a must.

It is past mid-december now, and the temperatures are slowly dropping.

Winter is the only season during which I really enjoy cooking in the mornings. Nice to feel warm around the stove while cooking  breakfast and lunch 😀.

We ensure all the doors and windows are tightly shut all the time to keep the house warm. One problem due to this is that the smells from all the cooking get trapped inside the house, in spite of the chimney and exhaust fan being ON.

I spend at least an hour in our Balcony during the mornings and enjoy the warmth from the sun while sipping hot herbal tea. Our balcony faces east, and so the morning sun helps in getting some vitamin D.

Here is the view I get to see while I warm up in the morning.

I noticed a strange astral phenomenon during the winter months. The sun seems to rise in the East and seems to set in the South. This is a practical demonstration of the Earth being tilted at an angle from the north. India is in the Northern hemisphere .During winter months, the southern hemisphere is closer to the Sun, and the Northern hemisphere is away from the Sun. When the Earth rotates around itself in this position, the places in the Northern hemisphere experience this phenomenon where the Sun seems to rise in the East and sets in the South. Surely, our ancestors keenly observed this phenomena and concluded that the Earth is slightly tilted and also observed the differences in weather is due to the rotation and revolution of the Earth. Very interesting.

No wonder our ancestors were able to observe nature closely and discovered a lot about nature and the stars, they lived and worked closely with nature ;there were no tall buildings that blocked the view of the sky.

Hyderabadi winters are cold and dry, causing chapped skin . As a result, the skin cracks up and results in an itching sensation. It is important to keep the skin moist by using a moisturizer or by applying oil on the skin before taking a shower.

Winter also disturbs the immune system and causes coughs and colds. Nature bestows us with fruits that are high in vitamin C during the winter season and wants us to eat more of these.I love fruits and enjoy oranges, custard apples, strawberries , and Amla that I order on Farmizen. These are organically grown and are delicious.

Every December ,my memories take me back to December  2011, when I was admitted to Apollo hospital in Hyderabad for my BMT. Those memories are painful, and so I don’t like December.

It’s 10 years since, but the memories are still fresh.

I will pen down my thoughts and memories in my next post.

Till then, take care and stay safe !!

Leave a comment

Cap/crown fixed , making a video for YouTube,  watering plants in the garden, phone call from a school friend

Fixing my  cap/crown, finally !!

Finally, the cap/crown has been fixed, and I need not visit the dental clinic again. I had to visit 5 times for one root canal treatment. The dentist is known to us since 4 decades, and they do a great job. It is one of the best clinics in Hyderabad and a favorite of several celebrities in our city.

I heard a Naturopathy doctor saying that only human beings have cavities, and no other animal has this problem. This is a clear indication that we are not eating the right food. While animals eat what they are meant to eat as per their instinct.

Cavities are so painful. I can’t imagine what we would do if there are no dentists :).

Making a YouTube video on Farmizen –

I have started making a video on Farmizen. As a subscriber of Farmizen for four years and quite happy with their services . I was able to get my organic veggies ,directly from the farm, delivered to our home even during Covid lockdowns. I am sure there are many customer’s out there who have a wish to buy organic veggies but have no clue where to get them. I was in a similar situation four years ago, so I wanted to do my bit and share my experience with Farmizen with  others , too .

Collected all the video clips , photos and screen recordings that I will be using for the final video. Started doing a voice over for the video. I will definitely share a link to the video here once I publish it on YouTube.

Garden update –

I spent around 30 minutes this morning watering all the plants in my tiny garden. There are not a lot of plants now, but I am seriously planning to sow a few seeds soon. I harvested a few green chillies and ivy gourds and made a chutney with them for lunch. My Ivy gourd plant is unable to grow well due to squirrels. They are eating the fresh and tender stems, due to which the plant is unable to grow. I don’t really know how to ward off the squirrels.

I have seen doves eating tender shoots of plants.I have seen snails eating plants. They eat as per their instinct. We humans eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. There are many others too that we don’t eat. So how did we know what to eat and what not to eat? Did we learn from the other animals and birds and insects by watching them ??

Phone call from a school friend –

I received a call from my school friend this morning.  She lives in Chennai and is in Hyderabad to meet her parents.  We may plan to meet during the next few days if possible .

Would have met many friends from school and college , during the last two years, if there was no COVID.

That’s all folks !!

Take care and stay safe !!

Leave a comment

Gardening works all day

Having recovered from an episode of Sore throat and Bronchitis ,recently, here I am , in the garden. Before I fell sick , I had plans to remove a lot of plants which were either unhealthy ( suffering from pests and virus) or had reached the end of their life .

Now that I am feeling good , I took help of Srinu, our car driver, in carrying out all the tasks in the garden.

Cut down a Papaya tree as all the fruits were dropping off due to some unknown reason. The shade from this tree was also affecting other plants nearby and were not growing well. Sunlight is an essential requirement for plants to grow healthy.

Also removed a lot of weeds and cut the branches of many flowering plants which were growing like wild in all directions. Trimmed the stems of bougainvillea, jasmine and other plants and tied them with strings too.

Removed a broad beans creeper. I harvested several kilos of beans and felt so happy for the bounty. It had stopped growing fresh leaves as it is the end of season.

Also removed a Malabar spinach creeper which occupied a lot of place and began flowering. Once it starts flowering the leaves stop growing. Usually the leaves are used in recipes . The flowers of this plant are also used in some recipes . I made one recipe using these flowers last year but hubby and son were not happy with the outcome. So ,had no other option but to remove the plant.

Transplanted a few tomato saplings from a small container to a bigger one .These saplings sprung up in a container in which I had sown spinach seeds. Must have got mixed up with the spinach seeds.

The bamboo trellis that we installed for the ivy gourd creeper loosened and lowered a little and had to be pushed up and tied again.

My sister gave me a few lemongrass plants and I planted them. I love the lemony flavours of lemon grass and I hope these will grow well. Earlier, I had planted the stems that I bought from online grocery stores ,but they didn’t survive as they had no roots.

My tiny garden now looks clutter free, airy and brighter. There are fewer plants now and I have plans to sow different seeds and plant new saplings.

That was a nice hectic day with some good exercise for the body and mind.

Leave a comment

Pedicure at home, Visit to the Dentist, Terrazo Art

Here are a few of my activities today –

Pedicure at home :

After being sick for a few days ,I felt like pampering myself. I had this feeling that I was ignoring my feet these days. Our body is the biggest miracle and so we have to be thankful to every part of our body ,internal and external. Our feet bear our weight and help us move around and travel to any part of of world.

I started the pedicure by cutting the nails on my feet and then soaked my feet in a plastic tub filled with Luke warm water. After 10 minutes I applied some liquid soap and scrubbed the feet with a plastic brush and pumice stone. Cleaned up with fresh water and wiped them dry. Applied moisturizer to the feet.

I can now hear my feet thanking me 🙂

Visit to the Dentist Clinic :

I was looking forward to a call from the clinic telling me that my cap/crown is ready. Unfortunately , it was not ready :(. They wanted me to come to the clinic to take the mould of my teeth once again as the mould broke in the Lab.

So, went to the clinic and it was all over quickly. Taking the mould is just a few minutes activity.

I hope to get a call next week to fix the final cap/crown.

Terrazo Art:

I came across an advertisement regarding a course on Terrazo Art on Facebook this morning.

An online course was being conducted. As per the catalogue , they would teach how to make planters using Terrazo Art.

Heard abot Terrazo Art for the first time . Being a curious person I searched the net for further details. Checked out a few videos and learnt that an eco friendly powder called jesmonite is used to make a sludge using water , which is then poured into ready-made moulds. Takes just 10 minutes to cure and the planter is ready. Chips are also made in different colours using the same powder and added to the sludge before pouring into the moulds.

Have seen videos of people making planters, trays , coasters , jewellery etc.

Just wanted to check if Terrazo planters are being sold online and found that they are quite expensive compared to plastic or terracota planters. They look good too. Hmmm, some day , when I feel like getting my hands dirty , I will attend the course and will make a Terrazo planter for my garden :)). The raw materials like Jesmonite, acrylic colours , moulds are easily available online.

Thats all folks !! Take Care !!

Leave a comment

Recovery from Sore Throat and Bronchitis, Garden update, cap/crown replacement after Root canal

Recovery from Sore Throat and Bronchitis

Finally , recovered from another bout of sore throat and Bronchitis. It’s been a few years since I suffered from Sore Throat and Bronchitis of this severity wherein I required Nebulisation.

During this Pandemic , every sneeze or cough is looked upon with suspicion and the individual is treated as a potential COVID patient untill the symptoms subside or proved COVID negative after a test.

Thankfully, my symptoms have subsided after 3 days with medication using Allopathy as well as Alternative treatments.

If interested , you may check out my blog posts from the last three days on the details.

A herbal cough syrup , a herbal powder and nebulisation helped me recover in 3 days. I was able to avoid taking Antibiotics which is the default treatment for a sore throat.

I am now back to my normal diet since morning.
However, due to all the coughing , the muscles around my waist are hurting whenever I cough a little.

I was getting a phone call everyday ,during the last 3 days, from Mom and Dad. I told them about my condition on day one casually and since then they have been monitoring me. They are glad that I recovered quickly

Decided to take more precautions whenever any part of the house needs to be cleaned .

Update on my garden :

This is the best season to sow vegetable seeds. So, I planted a few Okra seeds in one container today. Checked the condition of all other plants and found that all of them are affected by ‘Powdery Mildew’ and the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. This is caused due to humid weather from the recent rains. Will wait for a couple of days , so all the leaves drop off and will then spray an Organic pesticide.

Why I avoid buying Country Eggs :

One guy selling eggs, on his modified bicycle, rang the doorbell to check if I wanted some eggs. My neighbours are his regular customers and so I began buying . I had bought a couple of times earlier . I took some eggs from him today and complained about the Country eggs that he delivered on his previous visit. Some of them were rotten. I then decided never ever to buy Country Eggs from anyone . I usually avoid, but this time I was tempted to take. I stopped taking meat or eggs but buy for the guys at home. Country Eggs are tastier and healthier compared to the ones that we get from chicken farms. Though some farms are rearing free range hens ,their freshness is doubtful. Such farms are located far from the cities and the delays in transportation can affect the freshness. So , no more country eggs till I find a reliable source closer home.

Cap/Crown replacement for my tooth :

Looking forward to a message from my Dentist. I am due for the final step in my Root canal treatment. They said they would message me when the cap/crown was ready.

If interested , you may check my previous posts on the Root canal Treatment .

Delivery of vegetables from Farmizen :

Every Tuesday , I receive a bag full of fresh naturally grown vegetables from Farmizen. My son soaked the vegetables in salt water , drying them under the fan, packing for them and storing them away in the refrigerator. This is his duty every Tuesday.

Glad that my sister finally subscribed to Farmizen and she too received her first delivery today. She is happy with the quantity and I am looking forward to her feedback on the taste of the veggies vis a vis the store bought veggies.

That’s all folks!!