Shutterbug's Blog

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


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Appetizer : Cucumber bites

This sunday I wanted to make a quick snack using readymade Canapes. I had bought Monita canapes from the supermarket a few days ago.

I remember my Mom making a yummy recipe using the same Monita canapes when I was a kid. Mom had learnt the recipe from a cookery class that she attended about 30 yrs ago . I did not want to ask Mom right away.

I started checking out some youtube videos for Canapes. I did not find any recipe that appeared similar to what Mom used to make.

Meanwhile I ended up watching canapes made with salted biscuits , toast, crackers , cucumber etc.

I liked one simple recipe and I had all the ingredients at home.

However, this recipe is more of an appetizer rather than a snack.

Here it is –

Ingredients :-

-Cucumber peeled and sliced into half centimeter thick pieces.

-Greek yogurt

-Salt

-Pepper

-Tomatoes sliced

-Cut cheese slices into squares or use grated cheese

-Mint / coriander leaves / parsley for garnish

 

Procedure :-

Curd/Yoghurt is usually watery and hence cannot be used , it has to be thick.

Place the regular curd in a strainer and let all the excess water drain.

Add salt n pepper to the thick curd.

Slice the tomatoes.

Place a little Yoghurt on top of each of the cucumber slices.

Place a slice of tomato and a couple of pieces of cheese on the yoghurt.

You can also use grated cheese instead of cheese slices.

Garnish with a mint leaf or coriander leaf .

 

You can also add chopped jalapenos and olives to the yogurt mixture .

A bright , colorful and healthy appetizer is ready.

This is my first canape recipe and I am definitely fascinated by Canapes. There are loads of recipes on the Internet. Numerous varieties of canapes can be made in a jiffy to treat your near and dear ones 🙂 .

Get creative !


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My Kitchen Garden

Rains are finally here and I am excited to do some serious gardening. I do not have a lot of space for plants ,but I hope to make maximum use of the available space and will be using containers too. I will also be using home made compost and pesticides. Basically trying to grow the organic way 🙂 .

I got a few Chilli saplings from an Organic Store that I visit often. I was surprised to see a few chilli saplings sprouting on their own in my little patch. A few dried/ripe chillies from my chilli plants in the previous season must have got into the soil and were hiding there till the right moment 🙂

Removed the whole Mint patch that I had and planted fresh stems from a bunch of Mint that I got from the store. The previous patch was getting sparse and started drying up. I harvested the leaves several times during Summer.

My Malabar Spinach is growing well. I grew them from the seeds of a lone plant that I had. I have already harvested the leaves twice and is ready for harvesting again.

I successfully made my first batch of Organic Compost during the recent summer months. I have started using this compost for my plants. Feeling good .

Thankfully my plants are not infected with any pests as of now.

I also put a few pieces of ginger and Turmeric in the soil. Got to wait and see how well they do.

I am also experimenting with Coriander cuttings. Replanted a few root cuttings from a coriander bunch that I got from the store. Growing coriander from seeds is a long and slow process. Hope this trick works though I am not confident it will work. Will probably sow the seeds directly in a couple of days.

I sowed seeds of Bitter gourd , Ridge gourd , Snake gourd and cluster beans . I see that a few seeds of cluster beans have sprouted , the rest haven’t . Don’t really know the reason. Either the seeds are not good or I watered a lot. Will continue to sow them again and again until I succeed.

Also sowed a few seeds of Khatta palak (Hindi) or Chukka Koora (Telugu) .

Will also sow Fenugreek/Methi seeds in a day or two . These seeds sprout real fast.

Watching a seed sprout,  the first leaves , the budding , the flowering , the fruits/veggies growing bigger and finally the harvesting , all the activity makes me more energetic . I feel like I am absorbing Energy from nature. I look forward to the next morning to see how they are growing. There is an underlying hope when you are into Gardening . No wonder my Doctor told me to do some Gardening way back in 2012 🙂 . 

That’s it for now. Will post pics of how these babies are doing , in a few weeks.

 


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To Reveal or not to Reveal

Having been diagnosed with MM in Oct 2011 and come a long way ,  a thought often arises in my mind as to whether I should reveal/discuss my condition with whom I spend a considerable amount of time.

A lot of people around me , at work , friends and relatives already know to some extent. They may not know exactly what I have been through. However my observation is that no one ever asks me any direct questions. Many of them come to know through various channels but prefer not to talk about it. 

Either they dread talking about this topic or they feel they shouldn’t cross a certain limit as health is supposed be a private matter or they don’t start the topic because I don’t encourage such a discussion or people are engrossed with their own stuff.

Whatever be the reason , I am quite comfortable with the way things are happening around me….ignorance is bliss 🙂

I myself have been through similar situations in the past , much before I was diagnosed, when I came across people who were diagnosed with Cancer and I would be terrified to even look at them. So , here I am , having survived Multiple Myeloma and writing from the other side :).

hmmm , what goes around comes around !!  

When someone asks me how I am doing , I give a big smile and tell them ‘I am doing well, thank you’. There are a few confidantes at work, with whom I share information about my tests, my medications etc . I also update my Boss who has a lot of interest in matters related to health / Alternative treatments and gives me some advise too.

There are a few online friends from school and college with whom I feel happy to share the status of my health.

Apart from my parents, brother and sister I do not discuss with any others in the extended family. Of course , hubby is a constant support 🙂

There are times when I feel tempted to share the link to my Blog with everyone at work, extended family and with all my classmates  from school and college. I guess I am not yet ready to openly declare…maybe some other time. I can already sense that a few are staying away from me and it is ok. 

I shouldn’t be thinking too much about who knows and who doesn’t and concentrate more on enjoying the present moment. 

The best part of this blog is I can let out all my feelings and share my MM journey and other random events in my life.

So glad I am finally stable. 

A few readers (MM patients/caregivers) of my Blog get in touch with me and I am more than willing to listen and encourage them. Gives me immense happiness to know that I have made a difference to them. I hope to get more opportunities to do my bit to humanity.

 

Life seems much more meaningful now.

 


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Update on my Bone Marrow Biopsy – M Band not seen !! 23 June 2018

It is one year since I got a Bone Marrow test done.

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I was diagnosed with MM in Oct 2011 and underwent Stem Cell Transplant in Jan 2012. Since then I have been doing the  Bone Marrow Test every six months. In June last year ie June 2017 ,  my Oncologist told me to come back for the test after a year !!. Once a patient crosses five years after a Stem Cell Transplant , the Bone Marrow Test is done once a year. That was the second best thing that happened to me. The best thing to have happened was in Feb 2016 when my Oncologist said I could stop taking Chemo Medications 🙂 .

I have been taking Ayurvedic medications since more than three years and the results are good.

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The Bone marrow sample was taken last week. Reports usually take around 5-6 days . I had been a little nervous while I was waiting for the Reports , though I was confident that all will be fine.

While I was in touch with the Hospital to check if the BMA Reports were ready , I was surprised to see a whatsapp message from my Oncologist after 5 days.

He sent me the Report via whatsapp !! There was no comment from him.

I opened the pdf document and quickly scanned for the words ” M Band ” or ” M Spike”, while my heart was racing. I did find the words ” M Band not seen ” .

Yayyy !!

There was a BIG smile on my face and I immediately called Dr Suresh.

He said ‘Everything is OK’ .

I said ‘Thank You Doctor , when can I meet you’.

He said ” what for ?”

I said ‘I would like to meet you’ 🙂

I then shared the Report via whatsapp with Dr Nitin , Ayurveda . He immediately called me.

He was very happy with what the Reports said.

Met Dr Suresh this morning .

He said ‘we don’t need to do the Bone Marrow Test from now on’. 

That is the greatest thing anyone like me would love to hear 🙂

I blurted ‘What Doctor, how can we stop?!!’

He said ‘just do the Electrophoresis test once every six months. As long as there is no M Band , there is no need to do a Bone Marrow Test’

I was happy with that advise.

Wow , no more piercing of my Sternum. 🙂

He then asked me if I had any other problems.

I asked him if Neuropathy is permanent and was happy to hear that it is reversible and no where it is written that it is permanent.

Sounds good but there has not been any improvement in my condition in all these years.

To alleviate my Neuropathy he recommended Pregabalin instead of Renerve which was advised by a Physician. Renerve does help but my B12 levels are exceeding the limits which not good either. Will try the Pregabalin tablets.

He then told me there are four new drugs for managing MM , with lesser side effects , one of them being Neuropathy. He also said that Bortizomib , the drug that I used , causes Neuropathy. This is good news . 

Its more than three years since I started taking Ayurvedic Medication from Dr Nitin and almost two and half years since I stopped taking Chemo medications. Dr Nitin now wants to reduce my curcumin dosage . However I don’t wish to hurry and plan to reduce gradually.

I also sent my report to Dr Gayatri, who was diagnosed with MM way back in 2002 . She has been a guiding and inspirational force for me since last three years. She had introduced Dr Nitin , Ayurveda to me. She hasn’t been taking Allopathy nor Ayurvedic medications since last several years and is doing well.

When I asked her how she Manages , she tells me that regular Pranayama , Yoga and Meditation do help in healing.

Felt so good talking to the Brave lady who oozes a lot of Energy. She is a God send.

Dr Nitin too had reiterated that Exercise, Pranayama, Yoga and Meditation can correct DNA problems. He insisted that I should be consistent with these practices.

Right now my highest priority is Pranayama, Yoga and Meditation along with Ayurvedic medication , proper diet and regular fasting.

Time to celebrate !!


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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 Antibiotics and Steroids, for the first time in my life.

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 🙂 .


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Treat Cancer – Yes, you can !

I had been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma ( a form of Blood Cancer) Five and half years ago.

I have come across many articles on how to ‘Manage’ the condition.

Here is nice compilation that I received from a WhatsApp group .

I do believe and have been practicing most of what is recommended in this compilation and hence wanted to share.

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AFTER YEARS OF TELLING PEOPLE CHEMOTHERAPY IS THE ONLY WAY TO TRY (‘TRY’, BEING THE KEY WORD) TO ELIMINATE CANCER, JOHNS HOPKINS IS FINALLY STARTING TO TELL YOU THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE WAY .. 
Cancer Update from Johns Hopkins: 

1. Every person has cancer cells in the body.. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size. 

2. Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person’s lifetime. 

3. When the person’s immune system is strong the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumors. 

4. When a person has cancer it indicates the person has nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, but also to environmental, food and lifestyle factors. 

5. To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing diet to eat more adequately and healthy, 4-5 times/day and by including supplements will strengthen the immune system. 

6. Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract etc., and can cause organ damage, like liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc. 

7. Radiation while destroying cancer cells also burns, scars and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs. 

8. Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often reduce tumor size.However prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumor destruction. 

9. When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb to various kinds of infections and complications. 

10. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites.

11. An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells by not feeding it with the foods it needs to multiply. 
*CANCER CELLS FEED ON: 
         a. Sugar substitutes like NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc. are made with Aspartame and it is harmful. A better natural substitute would be Manuka honey or molasses, but only in very small amounts. Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in color . Better alternative is Bragg’s aminos or sea salt. 

       b. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus.. By cutting off milk and substituting with unsweetened soy milk, cancer cells are being starved. 

        c. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based diet is acidic. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all harmful, especially to people with cancer. 

       d.. A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into an alkaline environment. About 20% can be from cooked food including beans. Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes to nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells. To obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice (most vegetables including bean sprouts) and eat some raw vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C).. 

       e. Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high caffeine. Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer fighting properties. Water-best to drink purified water, or filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water. Distilled water is acidic, avoid it. 

12. Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the intestines becomes putrefied and leads to more toxic buildup. 

13. Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body’s killer cells to destroy the cancer cells. 

14. Some supplements build up the immune system.

(IP6, Flor-essence , Essiac, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, EFAs etc.) to enable the body’s own killer cells to destroy cancer cells.. Other supplements like vitamin E are known to cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death, the body’s normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted, or unneeded cells. 

15. Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit.A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor.Anger, unforgiveness and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Be a forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.

16. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Exercising daily, and deep breathing help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells.

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Please share the above with those who can benefit.