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We the Keralites are celebrating September 4 th as Onam.The festival of harvest,happiness,equality,sharing,caring ,get- togethers,onam sadyas etc.
There can be several unlucky souls who could not enjoy Onam due to several reasons.
My onam of 2017 is so special that I cannot forget ever in life, that I could give back happiness in the life of Mr.Viyayan and family ,the happiness they lost 5 years ago with the villain "cancer".
Mr. Viyan wants his story to be shared,with the suggestion given to me " if any one gets benefitted by reading my plight ,I am happiest.Many a time people with cancer don't know where to go ,when ,expertise is needed".
5 years ago Vijayan, diagnosed with cancer over cheeck was treated in an apex cancer centre with radiation.His plight started since then,with loss of saliva and the appearance of a pus discharging hole that developed in the right mandible in 3 months time.The issue aggravated and in less than 6 months his mouth completely got shut down( in medical language Trismus) that he couldn't introduce even one finger into his mouth. Eating has become an issue that he could not eat solids and started living only on fluids,his speech became unclear,could not even brush the teeth,pain started aggravating and lost his job,and with constant pus discharging face he became unacceptable in social and family circles and got ostracized and got confined self imposed solitary confinement in the house.With vijayan as solitary bread winner,life has become a question mark to the family.
All through the past 5 years patient was taken to the same cancer centre for review ,but never his problems got addressed to.The cancer specialist used to say " if operation is attempted his lower jaw bone will break and nobody will operate him".
The truth was the pus discharging wound was a result of radiation injury to the bone,and the bone was already fractured with dead bone inside,we call it sequestrum. But he was never referred even for an opinion to a cancer surgeon.!!!
He met me exactly 2 weeks ago with these issues, in excruciating pain and with strong pain killers. Just an x-ray of the mandible showed dead bone in mandible and fracture.Several options existed including micro vascular bone regrafting.But for a person with no job and economic crisis all highfy options were meaningless.
What he wanted was a relief from the messy life and wanted to open the mouth ,After 5 years of closure ,wants to eat some food,wants to call the grand son his name who is 3 years old.He also wanted to get back to society.Simple wishes!!.All the tests showed he has no cancer now but only miseries.
It was a challenge for me.
I OFFERED HIM A PLASTIC SURGERY(RECONSTRUCTIVE) PROCEDURE WITH LEAST MORBIDITY AND FAST RECOVERY which I did 14 days ago ,To give back a normal face and a functioning mouth.
Also promised his family that,I will make sure he will join them for Onasadya on this 4 th and not just fluids like the past 5 years when other family members take Onasadya.
In 2 weeks time Vijayan is brought back to normal life,with ability to open the mouth and eat solid food,to speak legibly can call grandson his name , can brush his teeth now,and can mingle with society,without any more pus discharging wound,and no more pain killers!!!!
There are several questions to be answered most importantly,if the patient was offered surgery,wont he have had a better life.?Who can give back the life of 5 years which was lost with miseries.In head and cancers surgical oncology and reconstructive surgeries play a great role.
As we celebrate onam ,with bash ,sadyas,and materialistic buying spree,it may be a good idea to think of children of lesser God's too.
If we can Kindle the light in one person's life during this onam,that will be the best way to welcome MAHABALI.
Dr. Thomas Varughese
MS, FICS (Onco) FACS
Oncologist & Surgeon (Specialized in Reconstructive Surgery)
( Formerly: Surgeon & Senior Research Fellow, TATA Memmorial Cancer Hospital, Mumbai.
And Lakeshore Hospital Cochin 2002-2013 Feb )
Director Cancer Division.
Senior Consultant & Head of Department of
Surgical Oncology & Reconstructive Surgery.
Renai Medicity Hospital, Palarivattom,