by The Welthi Bureau
“I AM A SURVIVOR”, a compendium of real life and awe inspiring stories of courageous cancer survivors, authored by renowned Oncologist and Director, Apollo Cancer Hospital, Dr Vijay Anand Reddy, and published by Penguin, was formally released, on Thursday. Member of Parliament Ms K Kavitha, released the book, at a program attended by the who's who of the city and graced by Dr GN Rao, Founder & Chair, LV Prasad Eye Institute; Cricketer Mr VVS Laxman; Ms Sangita Reddy, Jt. Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals and the author Dr Vijay Anand Reddy.
Dr Vijay Anand Reddy, a cancer specialist with immense faith in his ability to provide succor to cancer patients, had the daunting task of conveying the bad word 'cancer' to patients and their near and dear. This pronouncement invariably led the patients to a sense of deep remorse, depression and a feeling of distraught with life. This desperate state of the patients seemed to haunt him to no end. He knew that most cancers are treatable with the advances in medicine and what was needed from the patient was the ability to be remain unfazed as far as possible from the impending agony and to bravely combat it. His experience in treating such patients dictated that a positive frame of mind could mitigate the trauma and help conquer cancer.
He had no readymade solutions on how to impress upon the patients in their moment of immense despair, the need to maintain composure and battle it out with a tough frame of mind. He also realised that no amount of counselling, consoling and attempts to boost their spirit, by the doctor, helps to allay their pain beyond a point. It was during such attempts to counsel patients that he realised the need to pen the experiences of some of the warriors of cancer, who could successfully decimate the disease and are a true inspiration to every cancer patient. It took Dr Vijay Anand Reddy, aided by his wife Dr Sashi, over 3 years of toil, sparing most evenings and late nights, after a busy practice through the day, to compile “I AM A SURVIVOR.” Dr Reddy, dedicates the book to his brave patients and his mother Mrs Damayanthi Devi, whom he lost recently.
Speaking on the occasion Ms Kavitha said these cancer survivors are a true inspiration, they bucked up all the courage to battle out the dangerous disease cancer. Here we are, who get perturbed with the minutest problem we encounter, lose our temper, lose cool over it and these people combated the biggest problem of their life and have successfully come out. Even a decade ago being afflicted of cancer portrayed an image of a person who lost hair with a weak and remorse look, no more is that the case, see the dashing cricketer Yuvraj Singh, the stunning Manisha Koirala, amazing Lisa Ray, all of them battled cancer and all are full of life. It was Dr Vijay Anand Reddy and Ms Sangita Reddy who opened my eyes to the high prevalence of cancer and with their help got cancer screening done in my constituency Nizamabad, to my utter surprise found several with cancer and got them treated. Cancer one of the three leading causes of death can actually be avoided or treated with early diagnosis and detection. This evening what I have seen and heard from these brave cancer survivors is unforgettable and will make me work towards cancer eradication. I will also apprise our Chief Minister and work towards policy changes in healthcare sector. He has been toiling for improving our healthcare system, which is much better than what it is in many other states, but there is scope for improvement and much needs to be done. While commending Dr Vijay Anand Reddy for his work, she said, you made a difference to many people and in future too will make a difference to the lives of several more.
Mr VVS Laxman said, Dr Vijay Anand Reedy is a human being with a difference, he not only has sympathy, but empathy and lot of patience for his patients. The cancer survivors mentioned in the book are an inspiration for cancer patients and are role models for them. When we heard about Yuvraj Singh being afflicted of cancer, it was a rude shock to all of us, but he being mentally tough, went about finding a solution to the problem rather than worrying about it. Yuvi overcame the problem, worked on his fitness, came back with equal vigor to play for the country. This book can help cancer patients to get inspired. Early detection is key to keeping cancer at bay.
Ms Sangita Reddy said, incidence of cancer in our country is huge, 7 lakh patients are detected with cancer every year, 14 lakh cancer patients at any point of time are in their active stage of life, therefore there is much to be done. We all have to do whatever possible for early detection of cancer, we all must work for it. The survival rate is as high as 80% if cancer is detected in stage 1 or 2. Nationwide screening for non-communicable diseases is essential to prevent and detect ailments like cancer. We have several women falling prey to cervical cancer in India, in the West not a single women is a victim of cervical cancer, the difference is screening. Apollo will be bringing Asia's first PROTON machine to India, which will be a significant step in the treatment of cancer.
Dr GN Rao said, its apt that the message on combating cancer goes from a cancer survivor to the patient. The more we spread the message about cancer and early detection, the more we save lives.
“I AM A SURVIVOR” shares powerful voices and stories of hope and inspiration of 108 cancer survivors. The book gives the readers a rare insight into the courageous and heartfelt voyage of these patients, the initial helplessness and a despondent state of mind, how they recover from the jolt they experience on hearing the dreaded word cancer, pick up the pieces of their lives from scratch and gradually transform into incredibly strong cancer survivors.
The book is replete with the stories of several brave hearts who proved without doubt that cancer which is thought to be invincible, can be vanquished with sheer will power. Here is the gist of a few stories, which transformed from heart wrenching saga to a happy outcome.
An young lady walks into my clinic with fear and despair and pleads Doctor garu, please cure my disease and make me live till my children education is done! Not only her children education is done but her children are married and she is joyfully playing with her grandchildren.
An young 25 yr old man walks in and says Doctor uncle I just started my job! I have so many aspirations to fulfill and take care of parents. Please do something I want to live! I do not want to die! He is happily living with his wife and children and also taking care of his parents.
An young 14 year girl walks into my clinic along with her mother. Doctor uncle everyone in the family are crying! Am I going to die? Am I going to lose my leg? There is no treatment to make me come out this? She has gone through the treatment and emerged victorious! Also She has her legs intact! She is now pursuing her Fashion designer dream!
A 33 year lady diagnosed of breast cancer was unstoppable crying and crying and says I thought of commuting suicide yesterday doctor. I do not want to undergo this horrifying and torturing cancer treatment Any way I am going to die!!
Narrating his experiences and what went into compiling this book, Dr Vijay Anand Reddy said,
There are several such emotional touching and powerful stories seen and felt throughout my career. They start losing the battle before they actually begin to fight. I thought there should be some way to deal with this fear from cancer diagnosis, treatment and fear of not getting cured!
When a doctor says to a patient that everything will be fine. It doesn't appeal to the patient so much. When it comes from a patient who has gone through this journey successfully, it will make wonders!! certainly make a significant impact on the newly diagnosed patient.
Keeping this in mind I started talking to patients who come to my office even after they are cured for many years - will they be okay sharing their journey. Normally, the answer is so often no! But most of my patients were kind and brave enough to share their stories!! I also started a club called freedom from cancer club where in cured patients are made members. These members are already helping our patients on treatment on regular basis.
In conclusion Dr Vijay Anand Reddy added “What Cancer Cannot Do - It cannot cripple love, It cannot shatter hope, It cannot corrode faith, It cannot silence courage, It cannot invade the soul, It cannot steal eternal life, It cannot conquer the spirit.”
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