Ganga Prem Hospice Patients
Rishikesh, March 3rd, 2012
Aarti Needs Your
Help to Live
Aarti has a loving family.
Her parents, although very poor, still want to
do all that they can so that their eldest daughter
old Aarti was a school teacher in Rishikesh until
she was diagnosed with rectum cancer. Growing
up, her father made sure that his daughter received
a good education even though his only source of
income was selling tea in Rishikesh. Aarti made
the most of her father's sacrifice and became
|Aarti and her
father at the GPH clinic in February
unfolding of what looked like a promising
life has now been brought to a standstill
by cancer. She urgently needs treatment if
her life is to be saved. Emaciated and anaemic,
Aarti learned at the Ganga Prem Hospice cancer
clinic in Rishikesh in February 2012 that
she had cancer. She tried to be brave and
hold her tears back when she found out. Her
father, Jagdish Prasad, would not lift his
eyes, as he could not bear to see his daughter
coming face to face with reality.
even with his modest income, has spent all that
he has on his daughter, getting her admitted to
one hospital after another and purchasing ayurvedic
medicines for her. Her cancer treatment is however
beyond his reach and the family has returned from
the cancer hospital disheartened as the diagnostic
test itself cost them four thousand rupees. "I
hope there is no danger to Aarti's life,"
says Aarti's mother. She has heard of cancer but
does not fully understand what it means. There
are three other children in the family to look
after, Aarti being the eldest.
Ganga Prem Hospice is helping
Aarti and her family to go to Delhi and have
the necessary tests including a colonoscopy. Aarti
is young and needs financial help to be able to
Update on Aarti (March 5th,
Aarti reached Delhi with
her parents on the 5th of March, 2012. She will
have her first consultation for a diagnostic test
at a well-established tertiary hospital, thanks
to arrangements made by Dr Pallavi Purwar. Manav
Ashraya, Delhi, has been kind enough to give Aarti
and her family free lodging for the duration of
their stay in Delhi. Manav Ashraya has also arranged
for a free pick up and drop off service to and
from the hospital for the patient.
Update on Aarti (March 18th,
days into her Delhi stay, Aarti's diagnostic tests
are over. The cancer has made some invasions into
the bone which means that Aarti will first require
therapy and treatment before surgery can be performed
to take out the tumour. This also means a prolonged
stay in Delhi of perhaps six months. Aarti and
her father and mother were counselled by Dr Pallavi
Purwar who laid all the facts in front of the
family to let them decide. The family decided
to go ahead with the treatment immediately.
Gastro-surgeon Dr Saluja
of GB Pant Hospital and general surgeon Dr Pallavi
Purwar are currently deciding in which hospital
Aarti should have her treatment before she is
fit for surgery.
Meanwhile, Manav Ashray facility
of Delhi has been exceptionally kind in allowing
Aarti and her parents to stay on for the long
duration of the Delhi treatment. "Manav Ashray
should not become a hurdle in Aarti's treatment,"
said Mr Sanjeev Shankar of Manav Ashray, without
whose support Aarti would have found it very difficult
to get her cancer treated.
Abhilasha Srivastava, a cancer
patient herself and a teacher at Allahabad University
is keeping in touch with Aarti so that her spirits
stay up. She will help Aarti with holistic tips
that helped her through her own cancer treatment
and also provide interesting reading material
to Aarti who might otherwise feel bored and lonely
in a city far from her home and friends.
Update on Aarti (March
Aarti's rectum cancer treatment
is now taking place at a Delhi public sector hospital
which specialises in cancer care. The hospital
has advanced technical facilities which gives
one the confidence that despite a huge rush of
patients at the hospital, Aarti will get good
treatment for her cancer.
On the 20th of March, Aarti went for a consultation
and had additional diagnostic tests done. She
then saw Ganga Prem Hospice medical director and
oncologist Dr AK Dewan at the Rajiv Gandhi Cancer
Institute to update him on on what treatment was
being planned for her. GPH coordinator Pooja Dogra
accompanied Aarti and her parents to both hospitals.
Ganga Prem Hospice has sent medicines and nutritional
supplements to Aarti. She has also received medicines
and protein supplements from another donor who
lives near to where she is staying in Delhi.
A day at a cancer hospital in
posh-looking building with swanky interiors, the
hospital where Aarti is now undergoing treatment
probably has the best atmosphere when it comes
to public-sector hospitals in the city.
Even though the weather has
taken a summer-like turn in Delhi, patients are
still wearing woollens, a sign that these are
patients whose immunity is severely compromised.
This hospital is not a place where the rich come-this
is clear when one sees some patients laying down
on the floor on worn-out rugs brought from home,
and others haltingly eating home-made food.
Aarti is also one of these patients. On arrival
she sat down on the floor. When a seat was vacated
she reluctantly sat on it. In the consultation
room, Aarti was nervous and tired. When the doctor
wanted to examine her, she asked if it would hurt.
In another section of the hospital, patients wait
in line for pathology tests. One youngish cancer
patient speaks to another about how she leaves
home at 4.30 in the morning to reach the hospital
from her hometown, more than sixty kilometres
away, "I have little children," she
explains, implying that she cannot afford to die.
One cannot help but wonder
if it is fair to treat these cancer patients the
same way as other patients, to make them wait,
to give them consultations which have to be mechanical
due to the sheer pressure of the hordes of patients
still waiting, to not put a hand on their shoulder
and tell them that it is alright. Yet, the doctors
are doing a good job considering that they see
a mind-numbing number of patients all day, every
day, and Aarti is being cared for along with all
on Aarti (April 16th, 2012)
Aarti had her first chemotherapy
session on April 16th. She was happy to find that
it did not hurt but after a few days she suffered
from severe side effects including vomiting, diarrhea
and fainting. GPH homeopathic practioner Dr Kanshiram
Rathore advised some medicine for symptom relief.
Update on Aarti (April 22nd,
GPH volunteer Priyanka Singhal
visited Aarti, taking her the homeopathic medicine
and some fruit. Aarti greatly enjoyed the visit
and the two girls decided they would go shopping
together next time. Aarti has found considerable
relief from the homeopathic medicine and is looking
forward to her next round of chemotherapy.
Update on Aarti (April 23rd,
Aarti was delighted today
when Manav Ashriya, the dharamsala where she and
her family are staying in Delhi, seeing her difficulties
with the chemotherapy symptoms, kindly gave her
a room on the upper floor of the building. Here,
Aarti is near the bathroom and has to share it
with far less people than when she was on the
Update on Aarti (June 5th, 2012)
has been undergoing chemotherapy at a Delhi hospital.
The side-effects of the treatment regime has made
Aarti weak but her reports have been good and
there is even chance that she may not have to
go through the full six rounds of chemotherapy
if her doctors so feel after evaluating her medical
reports. Presently, Aarti has undergone four chemotherapy
cycles. She may also undergo radiotherapy once
the present treatment is over.
The Manav Ashray facility,
where Aarti and her parents have been staying
free of charge, has been very kind in doubling
Aarti's milk portion so that she regains some
strength, and in providing her transportation
to the hospital even at odd hours. General Surgeon
Dr Pallavi Purwar has also been supporting the
patient and giving her advice over the phone.
Delhi-based volunteer Priyanka visits Aarti once
every week or so, to give her company and takes
fruits and medicines for her.
Aarti's father has
found some temporary work in Noida near Delhi,
so that he can earn some income for the family.
Update on Aarti (June 28th,
Aarti was informed
by the hospital that her chemotherapy regime was
now over and she would have some diagnostic tests
before surgery. Aarti was happy and relieved to
hear that she would have no more chemotherapy
now and not even radiotherapy. The patient has
been eagerly awaiting surgery for her cancer.
Aarti passed away peacefully
on August 31st, 2012
Despite Aarti's happiness
at returning home, her emaciated body deteriorated
quickly and it soon became apparent that she was
not going to live long. Ganga Prem Hospice volunteer
nurse Suzanne Hetherington visited Aarti every
day and she was kept comfortable with analgesics
and other symptom control medicines. Aarti's family
cared for her with great love following all of
At her own insistence, Aarti
was brought to the cancer clinic in the ambulance
on July 29th where she expressed her gratitude
for all that had been done for her. On Tuesday
the 31st, she breathed her last in the presence
of Suzanne and her family. Aarti was comfortable
and died with a sweet smile on her face after
calling out "Mummie, Mummie." Aarti's
body was cremated on the same day.
Click Here to
Tehri Garhwal, February 6th, 2012
Asadi Devi: In
Need of Palliative Care
Poor Asadi Devi's case came
to the attention of Ganga Prem Hospice through
a man from her village who happened to meet a
Hospice supporter on a visit to the city of Dehradun.
His phone number was given to the Rishikesh team
who managed to contact the patient's husband and
retrieve her medical history. A call was then
made to Dr Rajinder Kaur, a volunteer oncologist
who specialises in women's cancer. Asadi Devi's
husband was advised to bring his wife down to
Rishikesh before the clinic and have some tests
done so that the visiting oncologist could see
what could be done to help her.
Devi undertook the arduous nine hour bus journey
from her snowbound village in Chamoli near
the bank of the river Alaknanda to reach Rishikesh
two days before the Ganga Prem Hospice cancer
clinic on the 29th of January. With the help
of Divyae, the Hospice manager, she had her
tests done at a diagnostic centre giving free
tests for Ganga Prem's poor cancer patients.
|Asadi Devi and
her husband at the January clinic
Small, under-weight and with
her body afflicted with metastatic cancer, Asadi
Devi had to be lifted on a make-shift palanquin
to traverse the distance from her village to the
main road where she could catch a bus. Asadi was
diagnosed with cancer three years ago and had
undergone surgery to have her uterus removed in
a hospital in Pauri Garhwal, but the cancer then
returned to her breasts and since then she has
had no treatment.
"Ghar khaali hai,"
says Dalip Singh, Asadi Devi's husband, pointing
to the fact that they have nothing left in their
home now. When asked what he does for a living,
Dalip shows his calloused palms and says that
he was a daily wager but has no job now. One of
the couple's two daughters is married, while their
son works in Haridwar to earn a living. Asadi
Devi's cancer treatment was the last thing they
There is nothing that can be done for Asadi other
than give her palliative treatment at a hospital,
said the Ganga Prem Hospice oncologist who saw
the patient. At the clinic in Rishikesh, Asadi
was very quiet and her steps were very slow owing
to her body being devoid of any energy. Coming
from a very impoverished economic background,
perhaps it had never occurred to her that she
could be any other way, that she could choose
to reject something or ask for something for her
own self. If she was asked to sit, she would sit
down, and if she had pain, which she did, she
did not tell.