Shutterbug's Blog

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

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Lock-Down Dairies – 13 May 20 : Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Birthday, back to work from 18 May 20 ,Heart attacks /fear of COVID / frustration because of Lock-Down

13 May is Guruji’s Birthday. I heard about Art of Living in 2001 . Very soon came across a course being conducted by Art of living close to where I lived. I immediately jumped at the idea of attending this course. The 6 day ,3 hour sessions were excellent and definitely transformed me internally. I soon bought a lot of books which were all about the knowledge sessions including several question answer sessions . I enjoyed reading these books which helped me deal with day to day situations and also satisfied my spiritual quest to some extent. I also learnt Pranayama and Meditation which I had always been curious about.

All the knowledge, pranayama and Meditation helped me extensively during my diagnosis and treatment of Multiple Myeloma and continue to help me.

I am extremely grateful to Guruji for showing that spirituality is the solution for all problems in this world , for making me a strong person and giving me the courage to fight for my life.

Happy Birthday, Guruji !!

Received a circular from our HR department today regarding starting of operations for all employees from 18 May 20. Called my Driver and told him to come back from his village. Hardly any checks/restrictions by police these days. Namesake Lockdown. Mentally getting prepared for resuming work. Though there is an exception for those with health issues to work from home, I am planning to resume work.

A lot of cases of heart attacks these days. People who are hypertensive or have had heart surgeries/ angioplasty seem to be affected a lot by the media propaganda that they are in the high risk population ,resulting in heart attacks. Can’t really pin point but surely the scare is definitely having an impact is my guess. A lot of men are unable to stay idle at home and would be frustrated, unlike women who have become busier during the lockdown.

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Lock-Down Dairies – 30 Apr 20 : Vaccine ready !? , Starting of operations by our Company, Live Meditation with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, getting rid of Ants in my garden , hand pollination of Ridge gourd

Read some good news about the vaccine being developed by Oxford University these days.

Also saw some news about how India is going to manufacture these vaccines.

Appears good.

Some of the branches of our company in other parts of the company have started operations. We are a manufacturing company and hence very important that employees are physically present in the factory so as to produce goods.

There is some news that we might start operations from 4th May 20 which is just a few days away.

There are other similar companies in Hyderabad who are processing passes for their employees so that they are permitted to go to work by the police.

There is a live Meditation session with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar everyday at 12 PM and 12.30 PM. He also answers a few questions and is interviews by celebrities everyday.

I am unable to participate everyday , but whenever I do I am having a great experience. Each meditation is for around 20-25 minutes but everytime it feels like 5 minutes only. Superb !!

Time to try another method to get rid of ants on my garden..Boric powder. Told hubby about it and to try in the Pharmacy…and he got it..I was thrilled. Saw a few videos on YouTube and zeroed in one one particular method.Add one spoonful of Boric powder and 4 spoonfuls of sugar to 2 spoons of water. Mix well and make into a thick paste or slurry. Poured this paste into old diyas and placed them in a few hotspots in the garden.

Hope the trick works. My little ridge gourds are being sucked on by the ants and killing them 🙁 .

I recently learnt about hand pollination of plants. The best way to increase the yield of vegetables. I was watching one small ridge gourd grow and finally the flower on it tip bloomed today. It was dark when it bloomed and I finally completed the activity. Hopefully the Boric powder and the hand pollination will bear fruits ,I mean vegetables 🙂

My first Brinjal crop 🙂

And last but not the least , today’s harvest consisted of 3 long brinjals. Feels nice..hoping for more produce in the future 🙂

~Annam parabrahma swaroopam ~

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Brahma Muhurtham, the Divine hours

I really don’t know how it happened but I suddenly started waking up at around 4.30 am since last two weeks. During one such day while going through my Youtube subscriptions ,  a video popped up about ‘Brahma Muhurtam’ . I do know that this is an auspicious period which is sometime during the early hours of the morning but didn’t know the exact timings or anything more about it.

I got curious about this video and started watching it. I learnt about a Ghadiya , a Muhurtam , number of Ghadiyas in a Day and how the exact time period of this Brahma Muhurtam is calculated on any particular day.

It is understood that the period from 3 am to 5.15 am approximately is Brahma Muhurtam and that it is good to meditate or do puja/prayer or exercise during this period.

I continued to automatically wake up at around 4.15 to 4.30 everyday. I started doing meditation followed by pranayama . I then go for a walk for 30 mins.

Meanwhile, I started watching more videos about this and learnt that waking up during these hours is beneficial to us.

  • This is the calmest period of the night when the mind is still,
  • everyone is asleep, no noise whatsoever
  • the air has the maximum amount of oxygen during this time
  • this is the best time for students to study because there is no distraction and memory power too is greater
  • this is the best time to Meditate which helps in reducing stress
  • you get solutions to  your problems , your thoughts and Intentions are clear , it is possible to manifest your desires
  • one can do puja or prayer
  • is also good to do yoga or exercises.

Several health benefits can be experienced when people wake up regularly during this period.. The production of Melatonin hormone by the pineal gland is the highest during this period. The pineal gland is located in the center of the brain. This hormone is a powerful antioxidant , it reduces the production of cortisol (by the Adrenal Glands) which in turn reduces stress and anxiety , reduces Blood Pressure, heart burn etc etc.

It is said that one should wake up during this period without any external help from an alarm or someone else waking you up. One video also mentions that if you can wake up automatically it is a sign of being blessed by the Almighty 🙂

All living beings are supposed to follow the rhythms of nature . Dinner to be done by 6pm ( before sunset ) and to sleep as early as possible….latest by 9pm . It would then be easy to wake up comfortably at 4am , much before sunrise .

Our body functions are actually designed to be in sync with the rhythm of nature whereas we have upset these functions by staying up late and waking late . This is resulting in several mental and physical issues.

Am glad I am finally able to tune into this rhythm. Hope to reap all the benefits.

It is almost 2 weeks since I started meditating during this period and I can confidently say that I am not as anxious as I used to be…I feel very calm and in control throughout the day. Overall it is a great feeling… I try to sleep as early as possible …around 10ish …my internal alarm clock is now set to wake me up between 4 to 4.30am.

~~Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi~~



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Deceived by thoughts

When a thought arises, it brings another with it, and then another, in an endless sequence. It is this chain which has deceived us from beginning-less time, and if we do not break it, it will continue to deceive us in the future.

~ Dudjom Rinpoche

Never saw it this way. Simply superb. There is no way a normal person can ever think in this angle 🙂 . While the trick has always been about ways to stop the thoughts ,  the deception part is something new to me. Just a little twist in the perspective. But surely a revelation.

space between your thoughts

The Omnipotent, Omniscient , Omnipresent creator of this creation is hiding just behind our thoughts. In the silence between two consecutive thoughts . The only way to reach this field is to Meditate.


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A Success Story : A Fighter who Conquered Multiple Myeloma !!

Here is the success story of Dr Gayatri , who has beat Multiple Myeloma with grit and determination.She has been my mentor for almost two years and has inspired me and guided me to take on the fight with courage and hope.She counsels many patients and advises them about the hospitals and Doctors in the country for getting treatment for MM.

Hopefully , this story will inspire many more just the way she has inspired me.

This write-up is by Dr Gayatri herself.



(My fight against cancer, written in October2002)

There is a very special reason why I would like to share my story with all of you who would be reading this .The word Cancer still evokes a lot of fear and despair and people are still petrified of being identified with cancer. Even in today’s modern times, you will be surprised as to how ignorant most of us are about cancer. Most lay people associate cancer with death, a painful end. And it is for these and many others who would read this book that I as a cancer survivor would like to share my experience with.

In this era of modern medicine, there are so many who have bravely and courageously fought their personal battle with cancer and many have been successful at getting rid of it. There are those who continue to fight, never wanting to give up. Don’t you think their efforts need to be appreciated? Life is a wonderful gift to each one of us and many of us take it for granted. But when one is struck with a life threatening condition like cancer, every moment of life suddenly becomes so precious that you want to savour every moment spent with near and dear ones. There is a hidden strength in each one of us that may have not surfaced otherwise but when a calamity strikes, you will be surprised at your own display of courage and fortitude.

When I was first diagnosed as having cancer in November2001, I was surprised as to how little I as a doctor knew about my cancer. Being a paediatrician my medical school knowledge about cancer was limited and my husband and me had to do a lot of reading and Internet surfing to help us understand my cancer. Also I was fortunate that we had many friends who would bring us articles and any information they could gather about cancer. About few years ago, it was thought best not to let a cancer patient know much about his or her condition. But I feel, it is very important for each and every cancer patient to understand his cancer, the available modalities of treatment and try and avail the best that is available to you. If one decides to nothing is impossible. The idea is to never give up. 

So here, I share my experience with cancer. 

It all began in the autumn of 2001. There was no warning, for my life was to change forever.

I am a doctor by profession, married to an Air Force pilot for the last 12yrs. It was oct2001 and I was reflecting on the joys of life, thanking God for a loving husband and two beautiful daughters aged eight and six years. I had a career that I enjoyed. Life was good, quite fulfilling.  I was so much at peace with myself. Little did I know that a while from now my life was going to change in a major way.

In the month of dec 2002 I was diagnosed as a case of Multifocal plasmacytomas, a variant of multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells. In myeloma, a single defective plasma cell (myeloma cell) gives rise to the much larger number of myeloma cells which build up in the bone marrow .

Diagnoses was’nt easy, I had  a surgery for a lytic bone lesion(initially diagnosed as osteoclastoma) on my left leg (tibia) on 8thNov 2001 and biopsy reported it as “Non Hodgkins Lymphoma” at Base hospital Delhi. A sample sent to Tata Memorial reported the tumour as Plasmacytoma. Further investigations confirmed diagnoses as Multiple Plasmacytomas. Over a period of 5 months I received 6 cycles of chemotherapy. I was immobile because after surgery my leg bone had not healed ( Non United Fracture). I was still not in remission after chemotherapy and so I went through an autologous bone marrow transplant on the 3rd of sept 2002 at Army Hospital( R&R),N- Delhi. I was admitted for a total of 20days and kept in isolation in a BMT centre. This transplant according to my doctors was a chance to buy time for me to fight this cancer, which has no cure.  The key thing here is the marrow you get is your own so there is no problem of graft-versus-host disease. The experience of a transplant was very painful for me. I could’nt swallow, my throat hurt, I had no saliva and I was bone tired. I was nauseous and vomited every sip of water I tried to swallow. For about a week I  totally gave up trying to even swallow liquids. I felt lousy and had no strength to talk. I used to watch a little bit of TV  but used to tire easily. I felt I would never get out of that room. My husband kept telling me I was going to make it and kept encouraging me. My family, my parents and in-laws have been a source of immense strength to me, I could never have got through this ordeal without them.

Today 3 months after my transplant I am in remission and will have to go through another transplant,( mini allogenic transplant) very soon at CMCH Vellore, maybe in the next one month. This transplant will be my chance for a cure and I am going for it! It is so strange that there was a time when I was worried about how I would fair during one transplant and here I am going for another!

The last one year has been a real testing time for me and my family. I have been through  series of misdiagnosis and long period of immobility.  We have gone through so much. I say “we” because I believe, as much as I have suffered, my family has endured much more. It is true, love can endure all things, that marriage and commitment go beyond the good days of youth and good health. It is love alone which has helped me to understand that the vows of marriage, promising to stand by each other “in sickness, in health, in good times and in bad”, is for keeps. My sickness also showed me the spiritual path and I gathered a lot of strength and courage in meditation and in the readings of Sri Sri Paramahans  Yogananda. His teachings gave me an inner calmness and the belief that I was going to survive. Come what may, I was going to fight this cancer till the very end.  From the day that I knew I had cancer, a strange calm came over me. Of course I was very distressed in the beginning but not once have I ever questioned God as to why me?

I believe, God knew I could take this pain and I was brave enough to go through this ordeal, and also I had a very caring family, which is why he gave this to me. I have no complaints, if I was destined to suffer this pain then so be it! God knew I was strong and wanted to show great things through me. And I know He has many more great things in store for me, so I like to look positively at that.

( The following extract is a summary of the period post my allogenic BMT at CMC vellore in Jan 2003 , till 2010)

There have been setbacks after setback, relapses which never seemed to leave me. I had an allogenic transplant soon after my autologous, at CMC Vellore under one of the best doctors in the country. But I relapsed six mnths later and a DLI was done( donor lymphocyte infusion). Thereafter I developed acute GVHD and was followed few mnths later by chronic GVHD, in the form of scleroderma and hypothyroidism. Scleroderma was another testing time, that landed me with ILD(interstitial lung disease). Pranayam helped me along with Rajyoga, a healing meditation technique by the Brahmakumaris, to come out of the effects of scleroderma.It took three years to counter these effects, and in the midst of all this I also had osteomyelitis of left tibial lesion. I was advised above knee amputation but somehow I felt, my leg could be saved. So started another round of trips to TMH Mumbai and a series of surgeries after which the oncosurgeon told me he would do an amputation if i agreed. He gave me one last option of trying to get the bone united and clear it of osteomyelitis by using the illizarov technique.So Iwent for it and after two years of repeated surgeries for debridement I could save my leg, though with shortening. The period post my allogenic transplant till 2009, Oct , I used to walk with help of a walker.

After the DLI, I still did not go into remission and had a bad relapse in 2007. It was a near death experience for me then, but my trust in the Almighty saw  me through this phase too , leaving behind peripheral neuropathy as a reminder.  

My message to the many who will hopefully read this piece is, Cancer is something, which any of us can be afflicted with, but that is not the end of life. Today medical science is so advanced and a lot of research is on to find better modalities of treatment.

By strong will power we can overcome disease, but the will vibration must be stronger than the vibration of physical or mental disease. More severe the disease, more stronger should our will be to fight it. Remember, beyond every cloud there is a silver lining….I have finally reached mine….and so will you!


Dr Gayatri Bhat  (MBBS, DCH)


Dr Gayatri’s experience is one of the most complicated cases one could ever come across.

If she can then we all can.

Lets prove to the world that nothing can beat Will Power.

Thanks to her , I got the courage to chronicle my experiences too via this blog.

Thank you Ma’am .