I Survived7 mins 480 7 mins 480
‘OMG,’ said the young doctor to be when I showed her my CT scan file. She looked at me in pity, horror, and unbelief. My CT scan showed a 4x3x4 shadow at the base of my head, in my medulla oblongata. It was deeply embedded, and the excruciating headaches had made me go to specialists who had advised the scan.
This happened a quarter of years back. It had all begun just before my husband left for an extended business trip of the just bifurcated Russia, UK, Austria, USA, and Italy. I was a working journalist. And even before he left for his trip my headaches began. My children were young, in school and I had to take them with me to the doctors.
The headaches were bad, and I was feeling depressed. My colleagues laughed and said that I was behaving like a newlywed girl whose husband had been separated from her due to his work. My husband was very often on tours but when this trip was planned, I had a deep feeling that something terrible was going to happen.
And it did. In Austria, he was mugged and lost all his business papers which had to be faxed again from India. When he went to Russia, there was no contact for four days. We did not even know the new code or the number so we could not contact him. And when he was in New York JFK airport the previous flight (just a minute earlier) had crashed with no survivors because of bad weather.
My headaches continued, worsened. I did not tell my husband as he had enough problems on his plate.
When he returned after about three weeks, my headaches persisted. My BP had risen, and I was on strong medications. He took me to a specialist even though it was a Sunday, so bad was I. And the CT scan was done. The reports were told to him the next day in secrecy. He came to my office and broke down under my questioning and revealed it to me. I was horrified. No surgical intervention could be done as it was sure death if this part of the brain was opened.
We had a sad lunch together and a couple of hours later I got the shocking news that he had a very bad accident, that the car he was driving had smashed beyond repair and that a speeding lorry had crashed into the driver’s seat. He was going to his office and this happened in front of a police station. The time was such that it was a change in the shift of industrial workers and most knew him and our car.
By the time I reached the hospital, he was wearing fresh pajamas and kurta (his dress had to be cut open as he was badly hurt), cleaned (he had cuts and wounds all over) but he was conscious and talking. Stitches were put wherever necessary and his left wrist was badly damaged, swelling and very painful. The Managing Director of another company who had recognized him had literally pulled him out of the car as he was unconscious, and immediately taken to the hospital. Hundreds of people lined to meet him and see him (we were quite well known in Nagpur where we were living, and this happened). So many visitors, phone calls later, the doctor advised we shift him to another secret hospital where his wrist could be operated in peace.
I was in a state of shock, but my children were brave and rallied round. They were having their annual exams and neighbors looked after them.
The operation took place from 9 pm to nearly one am. The bones on his wrist had been damaged and he was given deep anesthesia for the operation.
Till 3 am he had not regained consciousness and I was alone except for a colleague of his. I could not sleep, I was tense and worried. And I had no time to even think of my headaches.
The next day he was home and again a nonstop steady stream of visitors kept me on my toes.
He was recuperating and I resumed my work after four days. While I was returning on my two-wheeler, suddenly everything doubled. I was having double vision. Both my eyes were looking differently from different angles and I could not make out which was the real image and which virtual. Somehow, I reached home and immediately went to the ophthalmologist. He checked my eyes, said they were fine, but something was pressing the optic nerve from inside.
Gosh, I was so scared and so nervous. I couldn’t share this with anyone, least of all my husband who was just recovering from his shock. The ophthalmologist had a conference call with my other doctors, and they suggested an MRI in Mumbai (Nagpur did not have the facility at that time). The doctors were all friends and they did not hesitate to call a spade a spade. So, I was fully aware that my time was almost up.
I came alone to Mumbai where my family lived and immediately went to Bombay hospital for the test. My double vision continued and as it was a weekend, I had to remain at home, not going out. I was miserable but put a brave front when I spoke to my husband. (I had not even carried the keys of my house since I did not expect to return alive).
While the MRI was going on (it consists of going into a machine, closing your eyes and ears tightly for twenty minutes or so. The grating noise despite the ear mask is awful and irritating though not at all painful). During those twenty minutes, I relived my life. I had been a good daughter, a good wife and a good mother. My children were too young to look after themselves and my husband needed me.
I decided to LIVE. I told myself I could not die; I HAD to LIVE for my family.
Two days later when I got my reports, I was shocked. The shadow of the lump at the base of my brain had broken into six or seven pieces and was floating in my brain. One of them was pressing on my optic nerve.
Dr. Bhagwati, the Head and the most renowned neurologist was also puzzled. There was a huge difference between the CT Scan and the MRI reports. He said that one of the methods was to bore a hole in my cranium and scoop one of the pieces, analyze it and treat it. The other method was to immediately start on a broad-spectrum dose of medicines which covered all diseases right from tuberculosis to every conceivable.
My mother and brother advised me to go in for the medicines rather than the brain boring. The doctor told me it would be tough on my system as there were six tablets in the morning, four in the afternoon and another four in the evening. And whether they impacted or not, I had to continue the medicines for the full course of six months to nine months.
I had to agree, there was no other way.
I started immediately and my stomach felt as if it was being bombarded. MY urine color changed (due to the medicines), my periods faltered, and I was feeling sick.
I returned to Nagpur and within ten days, one fine morning my vision became normal!!! Within a week I resumed office and my social activities. By this time my husband was much better though his wrist was in a sling; my children’s exams were over.
The doctors who had treated me did a double-take when they saw me. One of them took my reports and scans and presented them all over the country (with my permission, of course) calling me a miracle lady.
I had to continue with the medicines and the tests (the pieces could have been part of a tumor, malignant or otherwise, somewhere in my body). In fact, I got so tired of scans, blood samples, D&C and others, that I hoped something would be revealed in the tests. But everything was normal.
I could not have imagined the headaches; I had proof of the tests. And no one could tell why the headaches were there, in the first place. Was it because of a premonition that something would happen to my husband? And I became a normal feeling that whatever had to happen had happened in the car accident and that my husband was now normal and healthy.
The only result was that I put on too much weight which I have not been able to shed even after so many years.
Because of the medicines, I had to eat something. My BP prevented me from salty stuff, my stomach became so delicate that I could not tolerate spice. But there was no restriction on sugar which was not a problem. I love sweets so I went ahead and gorged them, resulting in twenty kg overweight.
When the second MRI was done after eight months, my brain was like a clean slate! I am happy that my positive thinking made me survive and I live to tell the tale.