I clicked this picture a year and a half back and this one moment is associated with a lot of life teachings.
This juvenile tailor bird, while learning how to fly, landed in my balcony. Being an avid bird photographer, I immediately took out my camera and quietly started observing (and clicking) the little one’s repeated attempts to make it over the railing.
In between, the mother kept coming and encouraging the young one but after 30-40 mins of struggle, the little one gave up and found shelter besides a huge pot.
Minutes later, the mother appeared with a treat for the young one and after feeding him, she started coaxing the young one to try once more.
Finally, with the help of the mother, the young one flew from one balcony to the other.
The entire saga lasted for about 1.5 hours (and I skipped my meal) to click at least 200 pictures but this is the one which made my day.
Lessons which I learnt from this moment
You need to be patient to achieve big results and never be scared of failure during this path to success
If you don’t want something badly, you will give up without a fight. So have a burning desire to achieve your goal
Every now and then you need somebody to mentor you/ give you a push. Identify the right person and have full faith in them.
At present, almost half the world is in lock-down due to the corona virus outbreak and it is difficult to predict for how long this situation might remain the same. In India, it is almost certain that the lock-down due to COVID 19 will be extended till at least end of April. Even though we are in a state of lock-down but our body is still functioning and that means diseases like cancer might still be growing inside our system. So how does one deal with a problem like breast cancer/ breast lump during this period.
Tips for existing breast cancer patients
Remain in touch with your treating breast cancer surgeon/ breast cancer oncologist. They will outline the treatment protocol during this period
If you have an early stage breast cancer which is curable, you should not defer your treatment during this period, as it can lead to progression of the cancer.
If you are suffering from cancer which has spread to the body (metastatic breast cancer), then discuss with your doctor if the chemotherapy frequency can be reduced or if you can be shifted to hormonal therapy/ oral treatment for the time being.
Corona virus infection is usually severe in patients who are suffering from pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes, hypertension. So, please take all precautions to prevent infections
Eat a healthy/ balanced diet. Avoid outside food.
Make sure you take your daily dose of vitamin C. This can either be in the form of a supplement or just a glass of lemonade
If you are undergoing chemotherapy (which can lead to reduced immunity and white blood count), please monitor the blood counts and if they are low, consult your breast cancer doctor immediately
Wear a mask whenever you are venturing out of your home, especially, when you are going to the hospital
Maintain strict hand hygiene. Wash your hands multiple times a day and use a hand sanitizer liberally
Recently detected a breast lump – what should you do during this period?
During the lock-down, lot of ladies are taking out time to carry out breast self examination and they are picking up new breast lumps. If you are one of them, I would advise that you consult a breast lump surgeon immediately. This consultation can either be an online consultation or a physical visit to the hospital. In an online consultation, if the doctor feels the need to carry out a physical examination, he/she would call you to the hospital.
A breast lump should not be ignored because if it is cancerous, it can increase in size during this period. A mammography or an ultrasound should be done after physical examination and if the lump is suspicious, a biopsy/ needle test should be done to confirm the diagnosis. If the breast lump turns out to be non cancerous (benign), then the treatment can be deferred till the time COVI19 situation improves. Your doctor can provide you medicines during this period to deal with the problem/ breast pain associated with the lump.
If the lump turns out to be breast cancer, as I have highlighted above, please consult your doctor and make a treatment plan which is suitable to you.
These are testing times for everyone, including patients. One has to be cautious about not getting infected by the virus as well as make sure that their breast cancer/ breast lump treatment doesn’t suffer. If you follow the tips which I have highlighted above, you can tide over this phase without compromising your health.
I was in my 2nd year of post-graduation during the 2009 swine flu pandemic. 4-5 days after an emergency 24 hour duty, I developed symptoms of flu along with high fever. As per the guidelines issued, I got my test done and was detected with swine flu. Fortunately, I just had mild infection but i was forced to undergo a 12 day quarantine.
Being a second year surgery PG, when the surgical opportunities in the emergency duties are plenty, I was initially a bit frustrated but within a day or two, I decided to utilize that time wisely. I set aside 3 tasks for myself during that period and made sure that I finished them before going back to the hospital.
1) I planned to revise bailey and maheshwari for my upcoming MRCS exam
2) Submit two scientific papers in pubmed indexed journals
3) Segregate my wildlife pictures into various folders for handy use
I realized that doing just one thing the entire day wouldn’t be possible, so I allocated 4-5 hours to studies and 1 hour each to the other two tasks. This left me with enough time to exercise, watch TV for 1-2 hours a day.
At the end of the 12 days, I had accomplished all the three tasks and felt extremely happy while returning to work.
A lot of undergraduate students are going through the same phase during this lock-down and I would highly recommend that you follow these simple steps to make the most of this period
1) Make a realistic study plan for yourself : Don’t be over ambitious, otherwise you will feel disappointed at the end of 21 days. At the same time, don’t set yourself a very simple goal because that would lead to you wasting a lot of time on social media or watching netflix
2) Use this free time to work on your hobby : You might not get such a period for a long time after this. Don’t forget to read that book which has been lying on your shelf since a long time or pick up the canvas and re-juvinate your passion for drawing. These hobbies would be your stress-busters for the rest of your life and they will also allow you to break the monotony during this lock-down period
3) Each day spend quality time with your family members: Watch a movie together or play some board/ card game. You will treasure these memories life long.
4) Exercise/ meditate for at least one hour daily: I’m sure your mother’s would be pampering you with delicacies but you don’t want to end up gaining 2-3 kg’s during this period. Also, this would help you in staying sane during this phase when all you are hearing is gloomy/ depressing news regarding COIVD19
5) Try to learn some new skill – there are a lot of free courses on internet. You can probably learn a new language or hone your photography skills by doing these courses.
I have also set a few goals for myself during this period and I would like to share them with you. Will update you at the end of this period regarding the progress which I have made regarding these.
• Apply for Fellow of American College of Surgeons (FACS)
• Publish two articles regarding my breast cancer patients
• Me and Dr. Ila have sighted and clicked more than 120 Indian birds over the last 10 years. I want to print a book with all these images for our reference
• Do a online course to improve my photography skills
I hope this posts helps the undergraduate students plan these days better. Do reach out to me if you are able to make a list for yourself and keep sharing your progress with me. It will motivate me to achieve my targets as well.
PS – attaching a pic of me and Dr. Ila Jain Khandelwal which we clicked during our swine flu quarantine period.
Healthcare workers across the world are fighting an unprecedented battle against coronavirus. The least we can do is to support them and appreciate their efforts.
Imagine a soldier returning from battle – he would be welcomed with open arms and would be pampered by friends/ family members. Is that the same happening with doctors who are risking their lives daily and working in sup-optimal conditions for 24-48 hours at a stretch. No!! Not at all. Resident doctors and PG’s are being asked to vacate their hostel/ PG accommodations because the landlords are scared that they might bring infection into the house. Their rooms are not being cleaned, they are not being served proper food. Would we do the same thing with a soldier as well??
All healthcare workers appreciated the public display of support on Sunday but is a single time act of kindness enough to support these brave souls who are risking their lives everyday? As a doctor, it is my humble request to the general public to please support all healthcare workers on a regular basis during these tough times.
– Say a simple ‘thank you’ to these people. It will help in keeping their spirits high
– Don’t ask them to vacate their rooms. They are well aware of the risks and none of them would want to infect their friends/ family members
– Stop hoarding masks/ hand sanitizers/ essential medicines. You would be surprised to know that a lot of doctors don’t have access to proper PPE’s. They are having to do with cloth masks which offer little or no protection while treating patients. Hydrochloroquine has disappeared of shelves and it is unavailable to a lot of health care workers.
– Listen to the precautions they are highlighting on a regular basis. That is the only way to reduce the spread of this condition.
These are tough times for everyone. Least we can do is to support our #COVIDwarriors at this time.
Breast Cancer is now the most common cancer amongst Indian women. Approximately 1 in 22 Indian women suffer from this disease during their lifetime. A high incidence has also been noticed in parts of North India like Gurgaon, Delhi NCR, Punjab.
Breast cancer is curable if defected early. If breast cancer is detected at an early stage, another advantage is that mastectomy or full removal of the breast might not be required.
In this patient education video, Dr. Rohan Khandelwal (Breast Cancer Surgeon in Delhi NCR) talks about some common facts and figures regarding Breast cancer in India. In this Hindi video, he talks in detail about the risk factors and the best way to detect this disease at an early stage.
It is important to realise that the most common presentation of breast cancer is in the form of a painless lump in the breast (not painful).
If you have any further queries regarding breast cancer, please reach out to
Nipple discharge is a common problem with which ladies present to our Breast Clinic. Nipple discharge can be of many types ranging from clear fluid to frank blood.
Greenish nipple discharge is commonly seen in ladies between the ages of 40-55 years. It is common in ladies who smoke and those are suffering from diabetes.
Breast Cancer should be ruled out in all these patients by doing a triple assessment, i.e. clinical examination, imaging & biopsy. Once cancer has been ruled out, patient should be re-assured and if there is any inflammation, antibiotics can be given. In case of persistent discharge and a lump, the implicated ducts can be surgically removed.