I still remember the moment when I told him about the disease. Like any other person, initially he was shocked. But, later the actor regained his natural humour and tempo which he never missed during the treatment period. I could feel that it was never a deliberate attempt to be happy but he was really pleasant and had a positive frame of mind.
Innocent was never a fussy patient and had total trust in medication and perfectly followed instructions during the treatment. It was this steely determination and resolve that helped him overcome the dreaded disease. Innocent was suffering from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphocytes.
Usually a celebrity or a top professional, who are at the peak of their achievement, would prefer to hide disease from public. This will eventually create unnecessary emotional trauma and side effects, badly affecting their physical health.
I felt, what made him different from other patients were four major qualities. He never wanted to hide disease from the public, due to his sense of humour and positive thinking he never had a depressive phase, his trust in treatment also helped him to overcome the struggling phase.
Most importantly, Innocent frequently talked to other patients and shared a very strong message on cancer prevention and treatment. In fact, he has become a brand ambassador of cancer prevention. The actor could bring relief for many patients through his words laced with humour. When a celebrity survivor shares his/her experience in battling the disease, it can greatly influence the patients.
Generally, cancer prevention and treatment policies in the state are in a wrong direction since major thrust is given to palliative care. When cancer cases are going up, we give more focus on palliative care while prevention and cure is neglected.
(As told to Smitha)
(The writer is a noted Oncologist )
Will to overcome beats medicines - DC Correspondent
Script writer and film critic Deedi Damodaran says her priorities in life have changed after 2008 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. When the disease was diagnosed I was in grade three stage of the cancer. As a survivor of the dreaded disease I feel our will to overcome is equally or more important than the medicines and other treatment. The disease affecting the body should not weaken our will. Looking back I can see it as a positive thing that happened to me because now I put more value for my life. I insist for a quality of life now. I am more committed and time-bound in my works. Every single moment I try to live to the fullest. I feel myself a better human being now.
Happy to give hope to patients - Eby N Joseph
My cancer journey started in October 2008 when I was detected with multiple myeloma. Initially, a doctor in Thalassery diagnosed the disease and referred to Dr. V.P Gangadharan.
The doctor told me that most of the patients would have an initial shock and a very depressive phase on being diagnosed with the disease. Interestingly, I was nonchalant, calm and rather happy on the diagnosis because I was quite worried about the recurring pain and its reasons. Fortunately, the disease didn’t influence me in a depressing way. I’ve been so blessed to have the love and support of my family and my close friends who supported me and helped overcome the tough times.
After a year of treatment, including six chemotherapies and a bone marrow transplant, I could restart my artistic pursuit in October 2009, though on regular medication. Now, being a long-time survivor, I am happy to offer hope and encouragement to patients struggling against cancer. It gave me immense satisfaction to guide and groom them for taking cancer care and treatment with courage and a positive frame of mind.
After coming back to normal life, I have been associating with cancer prevention movements and programmes. With the support of my friends I initiated an organisation named, ‘Art for Cancer Care’ to raise funds for the treatment of cancer patients and am also working for Indian Cancer Care Mission. The organisation also conducts regular awareness programmes.
My focus today is on taking care of abandoned cancer patients. My dream is to set up a rehabilitation centre for patients who have nobody to take care of and who are not in a situation to go for expert medical treatment. I hope I would be able to realise it within a few years.
I plan to launch a book titled, Oru Chithrakarante Cancer Jeevitham (An artist’s life during cancer) and a painting of the same title. The book will be an account of the physical, emotional, and practical challenges of living with cancer....