In September 2018, my life, my wife Kusum had severe cancer progression when her medicine got resistance on her cancer. It took me around two months to arrange next research medicine for her in India from US on compassionate grounds (as it was neither approved in India and nor commercially available). Meanwhile cancer has spread so much into her lungs and reached first time into bones, abdomen, in addition to already many tumors in brain, adnexa, ovaries etc. She was having constant cough, day and night.
On 2nd December 2018, Kusum took first dose of this research medicine (which is her 5th research medicine in her 7 year long fight with stage 4 lung cancer) and luckily she got surprising almost complete relief within a week. It was Hope, It was Life, It was Happiness all over with us and our wonderful family.
However, things turned down again only in next 10 days when her hands and legs were started to chock. Her veins of hands and legs got blue, rock solid hard, even no one was able to take sample for blood tests. There were severe thrombophlebitis. Even if she was trying to move, the pain was unbearable. Treatment started and one suggestion also came from our Doctor that things might improve quickly if she can walk little bit but also recognized that with this pain walking seems not possible until situation improved. She became wheelchair-bound.
Within couple of days, this brave girl told me that she wants to fight and support treatment and she wants to try to walk. To help her efforts, Dr has put her on morphine to help to bear the pain while she will take this challenge. Still the pain was horrible and hard to see Kusum struggling.
But this girl did it…. she started with efforts to try to stand up and then walk with help of walking sticks….short walk multiple times a day…Kusum’s lovely father-in-law became fully dedicated partner to support Kusum in this mission while I was away managing medical support and bread earning. I also gifted her a activity tracker watch to help her to remain motivate in this challenging situation……By mid January (only in around 3 weeks time), kusum was not only walking but was running on treadmill. (The collage pic as below in this blog, in anticlock wise, is actual presentation of that journey of Kusum)
It was unbelievable to all of us including Doctors. She continued with her walk and exercise until she got admitted to hospital on 23rd Jan 2019 because of other newly arisen life threating complications of cancer and then she passed away on 5th Feb 2019 while still spreading smile and hope.
Post her demise, one day, when it was so hard to breath without her, I looked at her items to feel her. One item was her activity tracker watch and when I look at it, I was shocked and surprised to read that in this only one month duration from wheelchair to treadmill before getting admitted in hospital on 23rd Jan, Kusum had walked 193 Km. How many healthy persons among us walk this much, what she did from this one month journey of wheelchair to treadmill.
Yes, it was great example of Kusum’ s extraordinary courage but it is also an example of how exercise helped to fight, even with dreadful disease like Cancer. If it was not this efforts , walk and exercise she would have succumbed to situation month back and may not have survived that last month / those weeks when she was walking running like normal and enjoying with family so beautifully.
And this was not the first time, when Kusum fight with her Cancer and poor situation with help of exercise:
Daily Vomiting and Diarrhea Vs The famous pink cycle – You may remember The Pink cycle, who got famous in Kusum’s interview with Zee news in 2015, when she was having 4-5 daily vomiting, Diarrhea & bleeding due to Cancer treatment side effects and became very week with hard to walk. She asked my father Mr. Satya Prakash Arya who was her amazing friend in addition to her father-in-law to purchase a bicycle for her. And that bicycle helped her to build required stamina to live quality life and fight back strongly with Cancer during that time.
Semi paralysis Vs Aerobics at ISTA and The inspirational run in Pinkathon – By the end of 2016 Kusum had progression in brain with multiple tumors on that time medicine which leads to many seizures and even horrifying semi paralysis. By Jan 2017, she got her 3rd research medicine which controlled her cancer progression remarkably however her physical health and stamina was still very poor. To fight with this situation and disease, she joined an aerobic fitness center ‘Ista by Rashmi’. After 9 months of efforts and excercise, in September 2017, Kusum was running In Pinkathan Delhi, India’s biggest women’s run. That run has inspired thousands globally and her run was covered by leading national news agency ‘The Hindu’.
Message to all Cancer patients out there (and I think to everyone not only Cancer patients) –
Exercise do help in so many ways in your fight both physically and mentally. It helped significantly to fight with disease including Cancer. It helped with mental health including depression by secreting hormones which makes you positive. I know personally that especially in Cancer it is so hard and many times not feasible and possible to do exercise but dear cancer fighters then please WALK…..walk which could be few meters and minutes to one day, kilometers and hours…..It can help you in a way, you can’t imagine.
In love, memory and honor of Kusum,
#Cancer #Walk #Excercise # Losing is not an option