It was 26 February 2015. We were anxiously waiting for the lab report of my son-in-law Anupam. He had a deep ulcerous wound in the base of his tongue. The cut was inflamed and was not healing despite taking antibiotics and herbal medicines. The doctor asked him to do a biopsy of the infected tissue surrounding the ulcer. Reluctantly he got the biopsy done and when the report came on 26th evening the diagnosis was squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue. When my daughter read the word carcinoma she was in emotional turmoil. She informed all the family members not knowing what else to do. She was crying inconsolably while breaking the news to us. All her siblings, living in different cities could not be by her side in such an emergency. After absorbing the bad news, the only way forward was to find the best head and neck cancer doctor and start the treatment immediately.
Anupam went through tongue surgery to remove the cancerous cells. Since the tongue is vital for speech and for eating and drinking the doctor did not pursue with radiation and chemotherapy which could disrupt his daily life tremendously. About six months later my daughter noticed some symptoms in Anupam such as bad smell in the mouth, constant constipation etc. She started fearing recurrence. During the monthly follow up the doctor told them everything is fine. However, check up after eight months of surgery revealed some growth in the same location of the tongue. The only possible treatment now was radiation followed by chemotherapy. Surgery was not recommended because that would remove a big chunk of the tongue making my son-in-law unable to speak and eat properly for prolonged duration.
Anupam went through a vigorous regimen of radiation which burnt his tongue, insides of the mouth, left cheek and neck. The pain and burning sensation was unbearable. It was impossible for him to eat or drink from the mouth so a tube was inserted to put food directly inside his stomach. Radiation therapy took about a month. Once it was over Anupam was given time to recover from the shock, build up his immunity and heal the burn wounds. His topical wounds gradually healed but the pain, fear and emotional stress he faced during radiation would take years to overcome. After healing from radiation burns Anupam had to start chemotherapy which had many side effects. The chemo drug targeted the epithelial cells so the skin inside and outside of his body was attacked by the drug which caused many side effects. With time Anupam and my daughter learned to keep the side effects in check.
During this ordeal, all the family members from both sides of my daughter’s family prayed to heal and prolong the life of Anupam. We are staunch devotees of Sai Baba of Shirdi. We prayed and still pray every day to Baba whichever way Baba guides us. We pray for Anupam’s health and the wellbeing of my daughter and their children. We also pray to Hanumanji for Anupam’s health.
Baba, we thank you for taming the cancerous beast and we pray to drag this silent demon out of Anupam’s body. Please bless my family and keep us at your lotus feet. Love You Baba!