For decades, Haridwar-resident Suman Mishra’s (64) day has been beginning with a morning dip in the Ganges before her morning prayers. She then settles down with her household chores that includes teaching mathematics to her children, and later, grandchildren.
Her life, however, took a turn for the worse a year ago when she was diagnosed with cancer — for the third time in 12 years.
She was first diagnosed with a cancer of the uterus, which saw her uterus being removed in 1991. In 2010, she was found to have breast cancer, which was closely followed by oesophageal (food pipe or gullet) cancer in 2012. The third instance, however, turned out to be the most complicated and critical one.
“I could not swallow easily and would vomit a lot. Now there’s a bit of weakness, but otherwise I am absolutely fine. I have no problems in eating either,” Mishra highlighted her ordeal.
According to statistics, about 5 to 7% people who fight cancer, develop a different cancer later in their lives.
But three cancers are rare.
To successfully undergo three cancer surgeries requires a lot of physical and mental preparedness, said Dr Shoib Zaidi, senior oncology consultant of Indraprashtha Apollo Hospitals.
“She was a borderline candidate for surgery. The patient was also reluctant to undergo any kind of treatment as she was a bit disturbed. Finally, we advised chemotherapy and radiation for five weeks, which she opted to undergo,” said Dr Zaidi.
“Subsequently, we convinced her for a surgery after chemotherapy and radiation, but that was only when she looked fit enough. Though she was a bit weak, her attitude was positive,” he added. During the surgery, around 95% of the food pipe was removed to be replaced with a tube, which was carved out of a bag like stomach in the abdomen.
“I am leading a normal life now. I spend time with my grandchildren and play indoor games with them when they are not studying,” Mishra signed off.