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Journalists see plenty of disease, despair and death in the line of duty. Even if we do not entertain prospects of immortality, our near-constant exposure to the dark and grim side of life somewhat inures us to its only certainty. But what when it hits home? Krishna Vattamfor 40 years the Mysore correspondent of the Bangalore-based bbc world service business report Deccan Herald and Praja Vanihas been there, done that—and survived to tell the tale.
In a new book, Joy of Conquering Cancer: A Spiritual Dimension, to mark the silver jubilee of his triumph, cancer-survivor Vattam describes how he heard the bad news 25 years ago, and what happened thereafter.
A professional errand to a cancer detection camp, a chance stroke of luck, which brought unexpected and ever unsuspected developments, led me and my family to live through nearby a three-year period of agony, trauma, anxiety and uncertainty. When I stepped out of my house on that sunny morning in the first week of April to attend the cancer detection camp, I least suspected that I was going there with the disease in my being.
The Bangalore—based Kidwai Memorial Cancer Hospital, in an outreach programme, had organized the camp in Mysore in the expansive Nanjaraja Bahadur Choultry and it was the first of its kind in this city.
Bharath Cancer Hospital, which owes its existence to the vision of B. The local Jain community had sponsored the medical camp and medical practitioner Dr. Prasanna Kumar, an assistant professor at the JSS Medical College, who was a leading member of the community and my close friend, came to my residence and invited me to give the inaugural function of the camp.
He requested me to give a good coverage of it in the Deccan Herald, the leading English daily in Karnataka, which I was privileged to represent as its Mysore Correspondent. A good number of people from the city and surrounding villages had registered their names at the Camp for getting examined, and it turned out to be that the ailments many of them were suffering from were unrelated to cancer.
There was a formal inaugural function of the Camp for about 45 minutes and after that the doctors dispersed to examine the registered camp attendees. I do not call them patients, as in the strict sense of the word they were not. They had come to consult, since such free health check camps were rare in those days.
It mattered little to them, whether the consultants they were seeing were oncologists or general practitioners, but, in their opinion, they were all doctors who could attend to any kind of ailment. I spent some time in the examination rooms.
I saw my friend Nissar Ahmed Shariff, a very good footballer, coming out with his mother from one such room, looking very depressed.
As he saw me, he could not control his emotions and with tears rolling down his cheeks, he told me that the doctors suspected that his mother had cancer. A big printed pamphlet hung around the huge column of the Choultry building, caught my attention.African politics, African business, African sports, health and technology on, also available on VOD barnweddingvt.com so that the viewers can form their own opinions on world events.
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