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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7th year after my Stem Cell Transplant for Multiple Myeloma

The last six years have been the longest years in my life. Extremely grateful for being given a second chance to tread our lovely blue planet .

Been living each day with gratitude and lots of hope. Doing my best to share my experience with Alternative treatment via this blog. Have been able to manage my condition (Multiple Myeloma) successfully. It’s been 2 years since I stopped Chemo. So far so good. Was able to help and guide other patients with MM who came across my blog and got in touch with me . Gives me immense happiness.

Learnt a lot about the importance of diet , fasting etc for preventing and treating Cancer. Most importantly , I have experienced the Miraculous healing properties of Curcumin , for managing my condition. Curcumin has powerful healing properties which can treat several diseases.

Nothing else in this world is more important than being alive. Everything else is a bonus 🙂 . Yes, it does sound like I am selfish 🙂 . Take utmost care of your health and love yourself a lot. Be healthy so you don’t have to trouble your near and dear ones if you fall sick.

I am so thankful to my Doctors , family , friends , colleagues and other well wishers who have been supporting me throughout.

happy


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Herbal tea for prevention of Cold , Cough , Asthma

Here is the recipe for preparing Herbal Tea for preventing Cold , Cough and Asthma. The Tea can be taken every day.

Check out my previous post on how one can prevent/manage Cold , Cough and Asthma without having to take Antibiotics.

Cough , Cold , Allergy , Asthma : Ayurveda for Prevention and Treatment

Recipe for Herbal Tea

Ingredients:

  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp , Raw turmeric root can also be used (1/2 inch piece)
  • Cinnamon – one inch piece or 1/4tsp cinnamon powder
  • Cloves – 4
  • Peppercorns – 10 or use 2-3 pinches of pepper powder
  • Coriander seeds – 1/2tsp or Corainder powder 1/4tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp (optional)
  • Basil leaves (Tulsi)- 10 leaves
  • Ginger – one inch piece
  • Salt – one pinch
  • One glass of water

Not to worry if one or two of the above ingredients are not available at any point of time. Go ahead with whatever you have on hand.

Procedure:

Crush the ginger and raw Turmeric .

Add all the ingredients to the water and boil for 5-10 mins.

 

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Drink this tea on an empty stomach.

During Summer , reduce the quantity of Pepper and Ginger as these increase the body heat.


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Cough , Cold , Allergy , Asthma : Ayurveda for Prevention and Treatment

I am one of those  who are highly allergic to all kinds of dust and frequently end up with a Sore Throat followed by Bronchitis. A visit to the Doc , followed by Antibiotics and Nebulization … a ritual that was inevitable. 

I was able to successfully get over a recent episode with Ayurvedic Medication and no Antibiotics. I am extremely happy that I can now manage my problem without Antibiotics. Thanks to Dr Nithin, Ayurveda.

However, I still did not get an answer as to why only some people are affected by dust and pollution. Millions of people around us are unaffected and continue to live/work in highly polluted environments. How are they managing ?

Here is a beautiful article that explains  how and why a person ends up with Cough/Cold/Asthma. Understanding ‘Cockroach Theory’ will help in understanding how the Immune System works in our body .

https://www.practo.com/healthfeed/ayurveda-treatment-for-allergies-asthma-29041/post

This article is written by Dr Nithin ,Ayurveda .

I had to read this article a few times before I fully understood the how and why and what has to be done to prevent an occurrence of Sore Throat and Asthma.

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Here is a summary of what I learnt from that article –

Cockroach Theory : A panic reaction to a situation , whereas the solution is to respond in a calm and composed manner. An example : Customers in a restaurant get panicky and react clumsily on seeing a cockroach whereas the waiter , on whom the cockroach finally lands , stays still , is able to catch hold of the cockroach and throws it out.

The above theory will help us understand how the Immune cells in some bodies overreact instead of responding , when rogue viruses/bacteria enter our body. This overreaction results in excessive production of mucus which clogs the respiratory system. The body then tries to expel this mucus by coughing resulting in a Sore throat. The reason for this kind of reaction by the body is ‘Aggravated Pitta’ .

‘Pitta’ has to be reduced by the following methods (from the article):

  • Recipes like sesame seeds boiled in milk or pumpkin pulp roasted in homemade ghee or almond porridge, halwa etc can be taken.
  • Liberal use of turmeric either in milk or dal to be encouraged as Turmeric reduces inflammation and also breaks rigid bonds of thick mucus which can be expelled easily.
  • All asthmatic and allergic rhinitis patients should take herbal tea of ginger, black pepper, Tulsi leaves, clove, and coriander seeds.  
  • They should eat less of wheat and rice and should consume more of millet like Jwari or Bajri .
  • Once in a week all asthmatic should take Kulthi (Horse gram) dal.
  • Patients of allergic rashes can try having mixed powder of black pepper- 1 or 2 pills + ginger 1/4th teaspoon and candy sugar one teaspoon, once or twice a day.  
  • All of them should strictly avoid all kinds of fast or junk food, pickle, sauces, milkshakes .
  • They should not consume curd, non vegetarian food, heavy , fried food  at night time.
  • All asthma, allergic rhinitis and urticaria patients should religiously do pranayam, as deep breathing will reduce hyper activity and will relax smooth muscles of the air ways, thereby reducing spasms in the air ways and reduction in the episodes of Asthma. Plus deep breathing also helps in reducing inflammation in blood vessels thereby reducing allergic rashes. 

 

My Plan of Action :

I have started consuming Herbal Tea (ingredients mentioned above) . Will write a post on how I prepare this Herbal Tea.

I just bought Horse gram and looking for recipes on the Internet.

I have to further reduce intake of rice. I rarely consume wheat.

I include Turmeric in the Herbal Tea.

I avoid junk food and don’t consume curd/non-veg at night.

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ayur