Year 2020 is a leap year. You’ll have 2 extra working days but the same number of weekends & holidays. 😉 Yeah, that’s not fun! A leap year means more work (well, atleast in 2020).
Mondays = 52
Tuesdays = 52
Wednesdays = 53
Thursdays = 53
Fridays = 52
Saturdays = 52
Sundays = 52
Total Days: 366
Secondly, if you are paid bi-weekly, check if you are going to have 27 paychecks or 26? If 27 paychecks, will you make more money on your W2 than your negotiated salary or will you see a drop in your paychecks in 2020?
The payroll and income scenario doesn’t impact you if you are a contractor and you get paid hourly.
Also, just because 2020 is a leap year, this doesn’t mean, everyone’s payroll will have 26 vs. 27 paychecks dilemma. But, some of you will do.
This happens every 11 years! Talk about Fun Facts!
Two years ago I had my first nightmarish experience with pollen allergy. Since, I had no clue what I am having, I went on suffering for weeks without knowing how to treat my symptoms. Spring season pollen allergy is bad and I wrote about it in full details describing what can you do, from taking allergy tests to various allergy prevention method.
But what is an irony here is that when you are an allergy sufferer, you feel helpless. Even though when you know that you have pollen allergies, you can’t do anything but suffer when the pollen allergy strikes back.
These are some of the quick tips for the uninitiated:
1. Sign up for allergy alerts (pollen.com is a great resource for that). You can set it up as a text alert on your mobile. As simple as that.
2. Monitor the allergy counts in your town or city on a daily basis. All you want to look for is: Low, Medium, High.
You job is to protect yourself on High Pollen Count days. If possible, do not go out. If you have to get out of your sealed bunker, wear sunglasses, cover your nose and/or face, wear full length clothing and when you get back to you home, immediately discard the cloths and change into a fresh sets of pollen clean clothing.
Also, since the pollen counts are higher in morning hours, try not to go out from 5 am to 11 am. Avoid, dry and windy days in particular. Winds are your enemy.
3. Keep your house windows and car windows closed. Do not use outside air setting in your car or home AC.
4. Wash your face and hands with lukewarm water and take anti-allergy medication. Keep the anti-histamines handy and take it before the pollen counts get higher. Remember, you will get hit. The solution is to be proactive.
You are not going to beat pollen at this game. So, the best you can do is prepare to minimize your suffering.
5. Some basic rules which should be common sense. Take shower daily. If you go out, then may be twice. Shampoo your hair whether you go out or not. Change your bedsheet and pillow covers every 3 days and wash them well with hot waters.
6. Avoid rubbing your eyes and nose. You will only irritate them more and make it red from inflammation. If your eyes are too itchy, use eye drops and lie down and rest. Close your eyes and rest. Rest.
It’s too much repititon but it is important my friend. I know what you are going through. Trust me, I suffer just as you do.
Sometimes, taking breaks from work is the best thing you can do stay consistent with your daily chores and work. So, don’t be shy from just taking few hours off to give your eyes a break.
Doing this will only lessen your pain, anger and suffering.
Remember, you can not control pain but you can minimize your suffering. A lot of suffering is self-created.
Let me know how are you doing this year.
For one thing, (I must say) this year has been actually better. It’s mid-May already and the pollens have just come out now. Just one more month and you will be happy like a puppy playing in a big playground.
Just hang in there. We are close to the end of spring-pollen-allergy season.
During these coming months, I’ll be publishing short chapters on Cancer and my experience of caring for a family member and what does it mean for you here on The Naked Soul blog. I am documenting my day to day experiences as my dad has recently been diagnosed with stomach cancer (“squamous cell carcinoma”). I hope this is my first and last experience with anyone with cancer in my family.
“Cancer, you really suck. Please leave my family alone.”
The letter C immediately paints the picture of the letter D. Cancer. Death. It is not cancer or pain of chemotherapy that the patient and family member fears, it’s the inevitable, the ticking clock of time and life that frighten us the most. Cancer is a tough battle where you need a whole army. Currently, we are four people caring for my dad full-time. There are emergencies, there are good moments and there are really down times including depression, tears, anger, denial, misery, fear, pain and hope.
If there was a conclusive proof for the afterlife, death would not frighten us anymore. But, even with firm belief in having a good afterlife, cancer is feared more than death itself.
What would you do if you are suddenly told you have just one year? (And you are not even strong and healthy enough to leave the bed.) What would you do?
The Believe in the Science All diseases are treatable and curable. All stages of diseases are treatable and curable. The first step towards having a universal healthcare is to believe that optimal health is achievable for everyone.
If a cancer has grown into a big tumor and has spread into nearby or far organs, it is still treatable.
Think about for a moment: what kills a person with cancer? How can we prevent it from happening. What do we need to do here? What is preventing us from taking and executing the necessary steps.
For example, if the problem is we cannot perform surgery for a tumor that is near to a major blood vessel. Is it due to the fact that we do not have surgical precision or if we rupture a major blood vessel, we do not know how to fix them? May be both and then some more.
Irrespective of the number and severity of the challenges my point is every difficult steps can be identified, listed, and discussed. What we need is finding new solutions and testing them.
Day 1 My father was feeling stomach pain. He had recently visited Gaya and was suspecting something is wrong. He was feeling feverish. He fell sick and the local doctor suspected my dad has Typhoid. After doing some examinations they prescribed him two weeks of typhoid medication.
Dad was still having high fevers, low platelets counts and was extremely weak. He has lost a lot of weight (mostly muscles), his ribs were showing up, his thighs became slimmer, his back was hurting real bad.
Upon noticing that my dad’s condition is not getting better, my family decided to take him to another doctor.
On second opinion, we took dad to The Mission Specialty Hospital in Durgapur. They found severe Dengu infection and admitted my dad.
The infection has spread to his liver, small and large intestine. Dad stayed in the Mission Hospital for next eight days and was also treated for stomach ulcers. His WBC counts were 21,000 and went up as high as 29,000. Things were not looking good.
But, he got better and was discharged. During this time, all kinds of tests were run and X-rays was done, CT scan was done and MRI was done. Nothing suspicious, nothing more than a bad infection that can be treated completely in no time.
Cancer In Family
The Long Diagnosis Dad came home with his follow up appointments scheduled at Mission. He was still weak but able to eat and talk. His back pain was still persistent. His appetite was poor, having severe constipation, and his overall health was not improving even after the treatment and medicine given at Mission.
One night he got the high fever and his health and energy level plummeted to the extreme bottom. He was not doing well and we did not know “why?” No one knew.
This was tome to take home to an even bigger hospital. My brother, one of my uncle (dad’s younger brother) and one of my cousin immediately took dad to Kolkata. From Kolkata, my brother, uncle, and dad flew to Chennai. They were rushing to CMC Vellore.
This is when I got serious and started to intuitively feel something is wrong with my dad’s diagnosis. I told Neha (my finance), I have bad feelings about Cancer and I don’t know why but from past 2-3 weeks I have been reading, researching and watching documentaries on Cancer.
It’s weird, I know, but I was having precognition about my dad’s real condition.
Chapter 2 Day 41 (January 29, 2016) I arrived Banglore at 3:55 am on Friday morning. I took Vayu Vjra express bus to Majestic interstate bus terminal at 4 am and reached there at 5 am.. Once There i I took a second bus to the satellite station.
I took another bus to Vellore bus stand for Rs. 152. From there I took an Auto for Rs. 70. I was received by my cousin and he took me to the lodge where they were staying. The lodge provides the bare minimum. The hygiene was acceptable but with open questions.
I came to hospital to see Dad at 1 pm. We were expecting to meet the cancer specialist doctor at 2 pm. He was supposed to go over the stomach biopsy diagnostic results.
Day 42 (January 30, 2016) I woke up at 5 in the morning and got fresh. I believe due to jet lag my sleep was ended early. I briefly talked with my brother and then left for the hospital.
It was still dark and I went on a walk on the main road looking for other lodging options, particularly looking for lodges with kitchen.
I was also looking for shops or medical stores where I could buy paper rolls, plates, and cups. After a brief walk, I entered CMC campus and took a brief inside tour to familiarize myself with various buildings and units such as the blood bank, OPD, Radiology, and Scan building, etc.
During this morning our I noticed women praying in the chapel and at an outdoor candlelit stone vigil.
I turned back and came to the W ward where my dad was. I gave Rs. 200 to the overnight caregiving lady (Aaya) and she asked for some morning tea allowance. So I gave her another 10 rupees.
Here the hospital only allowed the female companions or caregiver to stay overnight the patients. For male visitors and family members, the maximum allowance is 2 person at each time and from 6 am – 9 pm. The male family members can stay outside the ward, near elevators for the night if they chose so.
It’s clear to me by now that it would make sense to bring mom here. Or someone who can be dedicated to the task of healthy cooking.
But there was another problem with this arrangement. My mom has the bad knee problem so if we bring her here, we will have to first fix the basics.
The basics of caregiving are so backward and risky here. Everyone who is looking over a patient relative are themselves having a poor diet, poor lodging condition, poor personal hygiene and poor behavioral habits when caring for the patients. For example, not using the antibacterial hand soap before feeding a patient.
So I made this list of items that I thought we need to increase our safeguard against infections, other diseases and to protect ourselves and our dad.
Paper cups, plates, spoons, knives, Plastic Food Wrapper, Aluminum Foil, Straw, RO Water filter, Juicer, Napkins, Kitchen roll, Toilet roll, Shampoo, Skin moisturizer, Anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, Writing pad, Vomit bag (lunch bags), plastic bags, face tissue, Wipe (wet) tissue.
Then we need to cook our own meals. Currently, we are buying food outside and feeding our dad and also eating ourselves. The food outside is street dhabas. It’s just hard to digest to see what I am seeing. I want to save my dad and I want to my family to be healthy. This was hard.
I knew I need to buy fresh fruits, make juices at home, start meal prepping, buy basic Cooking utensils and buy one smart Phone here with SIM card and iPad for entertainment.
Next, I need to find each of these items.
Chapter 3 Jan 30 continues
At 8 am the hospital did a routine blood test. Only one tube of blood (? ml) was taken. But it clicked my mind that with one tube of blood taken each day and with difficulty eating, he will no doubt have fatigue and low energy. He needs a good, nutritious diet every hour to make up for the lack of food and ongoing blood tests.
The chief oncologist came to visit my dad at 10:30 am. Afterwards, he met with me and my brother. The doctor started by saying, “it’s a stage IV cancer because it has spread to all over bones and into the lymph nodes.”
He continued, “there is no cure for this and gastrointestinal cancers are not the good kind of cancers because they do not respond well to chemo unlike some other forms of cancers such as breast or lungs.”
The doctor explained his plan which was to begin chemo on Monday every week. They wanted to do small chemo doses which have fewer side effects and the benefits are the same of large chemo dose.
We went over some of the questions we had and got some answers none of which was very good (what we were hoping for in terms of treatment and prognosis options).
1. What is the primary cancer? The primary cancer is stomach cancer. (Squamous cell carcinoma?)
2. How far has it spread? It has spread into bones (all over) and into lymph nodes. (How far into the lymph node?)
3. Which stage? Stage IV
4. What is the current prognosis? As the data shows.
5. Can you do stomach surgery? No, not now, not later. The cancer has spread to distant parts. The stomach cancer doesn’t respond very well to chemo. Surgery is not an option.
6. Can chemo be done along with radiation? Radiation is done to alleviate pain (it’s neither part of the treatment nor cure)
7. Can surgery be performed after chemo/radiation? No, due to the reasons mentioned above.
8. Is the cause bacteria or genetic mutation or environmental or food? We can’t say. This cancer could be caused by any number of reasons or a combination of reasons. The growth must be going on for years without any warning symptoms. That’s the nature of this disease. But it may not be genetic (caused by a particular hereditary genetic mutation) as in those cases cancer show up earlier in age.
For example in the 40s and 50s. But since your dad’s age is almost 60, it seems more like old age cancer.
9. If all treatments go well, what would be the new prognosis? As long as the chemo controls the cancer tumor growth. But eventually, the cancer growth will overtake chemo.
10. Has cancer spread into bone marrow? Yes.
11. How far into Bones? All over. Every bone has bone marrow and the cancer is showing everywhere in the bones.
Our time with the oncologist in the Infectious Diseases (Ward W – West) hallway left me with more questions than what I had before.
1. How much of stomach has the cancerous tumor? Do we know the source location? Or are there multiple source points in the stomach?
2. How far has cancer spread into lymph nodes?
3. Can a DNA testing be performed on his cancer cell and on his normal cells? (To compare and find out the exact mutations)
4. You mentioned earlier, the bone marrow looks sickle cell. Is it anemia alongside cancer? Is he having two separate issues? Why are the cells sickle shape? Could that be the reason he is feeling fatigued? What can we do?
5. Immunotherapy? Is that an option here?
6. Have you tested for H. Pylori bacteria?
(and many more to come)
I definitely need to do more research now. I also felt we need to take a second opinion. I had my gut telling me that CMC is not offering my father anything more than palliative care. And yes, we need that. I am all for my dad’s care and I want him to feel better. But that’s not all. And that’s not all, he doesn’t want that. He wants to live. He is fighting. He wants to care for my mom and he wants to be out of the hospital, healthy and functioning.
Chapter 4 (January 31, 2016)
My mom and younger uncle will reach here on Tuesday. She is also looking for a full-time cook to bring with her. It’s great news.
For next two days, we will be still buying food from outside. We will be taking precautions with what we are eating ourself or buying for dad.
Earlier today, two of my brothers went to look for a better, cleaner, bigger lodge with kitchen and phone network. We have been here without the internet at both the hospital and at the lodge.
We have found it to be very hard to not have internet because while you are in the hospital, you want to research something. There are always questions in your mind. And no one can give you the answers. The patients are too many and the doctors are far and few. Internet access is your only hope of catching up with the information overload and learning more about various treatment options and its success rate and/or side effects.
Meanwhile, Neha found out that blood group A is shown related with stomach cancer. My dad, my brother and I, all three of us have A+ blood group.
My friend Alam asked me to get a second opinion. His father was diagnosed with early-stage Colon cancer and was completely treated at Tata Memorial Hospital.
He said, “I talked to my father. He told to get the report (Particularly of the biopsy). Also, in addition to the reports of biopsy, ask them to give the slides too. Press for it or they won’t. Without the slides, the report of biopsy will not be accepted at other hospitals. So, be very adamant that you need the slides too.”
It is common that cancer is a team-based treatment. Based on the biopsy report and what kind of Cancer is present, there are experts and its decided by the panel of the doctors at any particular hospital.
The ward nurse confirmed that the new bed is ready. The attending doctors came to see Dad. I brought up the question of if there will be a mini refrigerator in the new room. They mentioned that there are few room options and rates vary so check with the ward nurse.
Dad heard the conversation and asked me how much is the room cost? I said, Rs. 3050/day for double occupancy, Rs. 5500/day for single and Rs. 10,000/day for corner single room with refrigerator, phone, and other amnesties.
Dad looked in unease. His face was clearly showing he was feeling worried.
“It’s very expensive. How will we afford?”
“It’s not much. We can afford.”
“But if you add up for a month, it’s a big amount.”
And immediately he started sobbing. My Phupha and I began to convince him that it’s not a lot of money and it is well within our financial hold. We can take care of it. You have to just focus on your treatment. Focus on eating, focus on getting well faster, focus on getting discharged soon.
By this time both of my brothers arrived and they saw dad crying. They asked what happened? I said papa is taking stress about money.
They chipped in and repeated the same words. The treatment is well within our capacity and we are all in it. Don’t worry. But my dad was still feeling the pain. I could understand his emotions.
His main concern which remained unvoiced and only came out as tears were all my life I worked hard to provide for my family and I am going to spend all of that money on my own treatment which I had patiently saved for my family. This is painful.
What can a man do? What must a man do? Will you leave your wife and partner for life behind, alone? Or, will you give up the will to live? It’s a bitter and painfully frustrating situation to be. I could feel dad’s heart. I felt his tears. And there was nothing I could do at the time but I knew exactly what to do when the opportunity arrives.
The head nurse came in and said the bed is ready. Pisa fed one banana to dad. The wheelchair was ready and an attendant was present to help transfer my dad.
We helped dad to get on the wheelchair and began to walk towards 713A. The 7th floor in the A Ward hosts all cancer patients. Dad got bed A in room 713.
The room had TV and AC. The bathroom was cleaner and bigger than the previous ward. In fact much cleaner.
The new room had another leukemia patient, a ten-year-old boy. The boy’s grandmother was with him.
He was admitted after he suddenly fell sick and doctors found out that his body is not making blood. The doctors in Patna city where he was admitted referred him to immediately go to Delhi or Mumbai. His family decided to bring him to CMC.
The boy despite his tender age explained his experience with chemotherapy. My brother showed my dad to look at the little kid who is full with energy and is talking with excitement.
My dad found his strength from looking at this kid.
The following hours passed slowly. In late afternoon all three brothers, we went out to look for apartments to rent for a couple of months.
We finally found a place with decent size room with attached kitchen and bathroom.
While waiting for the elevator my brother peeped a few times inside an open room. The group of people seemed to be from our hometown. They were curious too and they invited us inside.
We gladly accepted their invitation and asked if we can take a look. They said, sure take a walk around and answered of our questions. They offered us thekwa to eat and when we inquired told us that his dad has lower body paralysis and that’s why they are here.
In past few days that I have been here in Vellore I have seen and talked to so many sick people that my heart lives in my mouth now and my heart weeps its bitter tears inside my hurting mind.
At 9:30 pm we reached our lodge and 2016 star movies award was playing on TV. I was lying down on bed along with Pisa and my cousin. My brother was arranging his bed on the ground.
My cousin said, I want to ask one thing. Is that okay?
I said, “yeah, sure!”
He said, “I want to ask you why you did love marriage?”
I replied, “not marriage. We are engaged.”
He said, “yes, engagement and (and I mean) marrying later. So why did you do that? Our family did not expect this from you.”
He continued, “how much hurt it has caused to all family members. I am not saying love marriage is right or wrong but I think people who do love marriage are selfish!”
I said, hell no. You are married with two small daughters and you still talk and think about other younger girls and even about the doctors and nurses in the hospital.
I was thinking to myself, his mindset is sick. For him family matters big time yet his wife deserves very little of his respect. He doesn’t even love her. He is confusing his husband and fatherly duty with love. This is fucked up.
I continued, “that is because you have never known, felt or understood love. I thought inside my mind. Stop fucking judging. You are causing extremely emotional distress.”
I was feeling extremely hurt insure and thinking dad is dying. He is feeling depressed. He cries. He is in bad bad situation. And what is he taking about right now! I could not sleep for hours and kept thinking. How much I hate these kind of people. If my dad was not here and if he was not here to help, I would block this kind of people out of my life.
I am going through extremely turbulent roller coarser every hour. Every hour is some sort of emergency. And feeling you are not able to do anything, feeling you are dependent of people who talks bullshit about you, those who doesn’t understand what care means. I am not able to do it. It’s hard to handle.
Chapter 5 (Feb 1, 2016) I woke up at 6, an hour later than my usual wake up time. During early morning hours, I was still feeling hurt and dreaming about the words that my cousin had said last night. This combined with the feeling of what is going to happen to my dad was taking its toll. But I had to let it go and get up and get to work.
I got fresh and went to buy coconut water. I asked the price and then said give two coconut water to me. The guy did not understand me and gave me four. I gave him Rs. 150 for four of them at Rs. 30/coconut. He was supposed to return me Rs. 30. The other guy standing there asked the vendor to give me 30 but he refused. He was cutting 5th one to take my 150. I refused. He resisted and was persistent on giving me the 5 coconut for Rs. 150.
I was already frustrated with my experience with them. I ordered two and take gave me four. And now they were trying to forcefully sell me five. After some brief argument and with the help of another vendor I got Rs.30 back. I headed towards dad’s ward.
I reached his room at 6:30 am and he was sleeping. I asked the Aaya if he had any food or gone to bathroom. She said she gave water and took him to bathroom once last night. She said the other lady has been washing cloths in bathroom since last 45 min. She seemed frustrated and annoyed. I could understand, she was not able go do her job and she wanted to provide care.
I released her and gave her payments. After she left I asked my dad if would like to eat. I gave him one organic banana and ate one with him. Then I gave him the fresh coconut water that I had brought. He said, this coconut water tastes fresh. I said, yes, I just got them. Next time, we will try to but immediately before drinking. Storing coconut water takes away its taste of freshness.
After my dad settled down, I texted Neha and vented about my situation and feeling of inadequacy. She tried to comfort me with her best but there was just too much happening. The events were developing fast.
A physician attended came to our room and started asking questions on medicines and current situations. She was extremely unprofessional, impatient and a bitch. She was telling if we want to stay here or take my dad home. She was talking loudly in front dad and said, his stage is incurable and therefore after few rounds of chemo we should continue at a place near us.
The attending physician visited my father around 2 pm and a nurse brought all the new medicines as well as the chemo drug Taxol.
They had my dad sign a waiver and explained you are going to go under chemotherapy.
My brother gave bath to our dad and chased him in new cloths. All of us encouraged my dad that he has to eat now. The doctor also said him to eat until you vomit. If you feel like vomiting, still eat. If you vomit, no problem, we will take care of it. But your only job under chemo is to eat well. So just focus on eating. Eat, eat, eat whether you feel like eating or not.
Starting at 3:30 pm the nurses started to give him anti-allergy and other preparatory meds to him. Everything was now given intravenously through a site in his right hand.
At 4:10 his first chemo was administered. Since his pain medication was over the nurse had to give him shot of tramadol painkiller. My dad took his entire first chemo under sleep. We were closely monitoring him and the first session went by without any adverse effects. Perhaps, besides a little bit of itchy feeling that we observed when we woke him up briefly to check on him.
He was hit hard by two drugs causing his state and we let him sleep until almost 8 pm.
At 8 the hospital dinner arrived. We have requested for it for next few days until we found a place to take him and be able to cook.
We woke him up and he ate better than previous nights. We were very happy. He had some rice, beans, curd, and some vegetables. He took his meds after his meal and also has one cup of milk. All very good.
The Glitch in the System At 8:30 pm my brother and I began to feel concerned when we found out that our Aaya has not arrived yet. The aayas are assigned between 7-8 pm only. It was getting late and there was no sign of her. I went to front desk where all nursing staffs sit and inquired about the situation. She first suspected that we have not requested an aaya for tonight. I said, yes, we did request. And my dad had his first chemo today and he cannot walk on his own so there is no way that there can’t be an attendant or someone to look over my dad during night time. Hell no.
I returned to our ward and asked my brother if he had truly filled the aaya request form. He confirmed that he did and so we both went to front desk. By this time the staff nurse has done some inquiry and digging and it was true that we have made a request and somehow the nurse who was supposed to deposit the form and make a request forgot or missed to do it. It was clearly on CMC.
The staff nurse called her supervisor if one of the make relatives can stay overnight in our case and the supervisor gave her a firm “no”. There was no way her supervisor would allow a male attendant to stay overnight and there was no way we were leaving dad alone for the night.
After some thinking, walking, and brainstorming, the staff nurse came to our ward and said, okay one of you can stay but please don’t tell anyone or I will be in trouble. We said, OK no problem, and we don’t want you or the nurse who missed to request for an aaya to get in any trouble. We just want to be here with our father.
TheDirty Village I returned home around 9:30 pm and went out to eat with my cousin and pisa. I was feeling cold like symptoms. I was feeling little feverish, body pain and beck of my right knee was hurting. My temperature seemed a little higher, breath was coming out a little hotter, all flu like symptoms. I guess just eating outside for past 4 days put me down with cold.
Nevertheless I reluctantly ordered two chapatis and egg curry for dinner. Every time I had to eat outside I absolutely hated it. I was literally surrounded by thousands of of ill people and their relative all the time when I was out in the street or while eating at a dhaba. Eating outside meant inviting sickness home with open eyes. I began to mentally count when we will get a place where we we will be able to cook our own food.
The Evil of Having No Understanding It was time to go home. Three of us got back and I quickly washed my hands, feet, and face and began to arrange my thin mattress on the floor while my cousin and Pisa took the bed where they were lying down and watching TV. I tried to sleep to my best and with all the lights and noise it was hard. Every night for the past four nights I hated the TV watching habits of my relatives.
But it was not all. This time both my cousin and Phupha asked me when is your wedding? I said there is no wedding. (Papa is fighting with gastric cancer). We have canceled and postponed everything for the indefinite time. So I don’t know. I will see.
Phupha asked I will find a girl for you. I must be invited in your wedding and I am not going to the U.S to attend your wedding.
My cousin intervened and asked our Phupha, “what if Salil will do wedding and reception in India.”
Phupha replied, “no, no, from my heart, I don’t want to attend your wedding if you are marrying this girl.”
He asked me is it okay if I find someone for you. An engineer girl, a doctor girl, beautiful girl, whatever is your criteria.
I said, “NO, I can’t say yes to you.”
I was feeling extremely annoyed and angry by this time. I wanted to cut off the topic right there, so I turned to my side and parented to sleep.
But my cousin and phupha were still full of gas and there was still a lot of fuel to burn. Phupha continued that Dad has cryingly told him one day about his disappointment about my relationship and the choice of girl who I love and want to be with.
I knew perfectly well that he is taking bullshit and there was nothing I could say. I was brimming with anger. This is not the time to talk silly and this is not a good occasion to speak anything unkind or false about my dad.
I would have almost shouted and left the room and stayed somewhere else for the night and would have talked to my dad, brother and mom to let go of all these negative people. I wanted no negativity anywhere near us when we all are trying to fight cancer.
I was convinced at this point that none of these people have any clue about the gravity of the situation. Because no one has fucking taken the time to truly listen to the doctors or read the reports. They are happily watching TV where every second is critical in finding out about how we could seek a second opinion, where to take our dad, what kind of pain cancer patients feel and how long can this treatment last. What are the side effects? How can we minimize the side effects?
These and hundreds of other questions are screaming for an answer and we are all running with time. We have to run faster or we will be left behind in pain.
But unfortunately, this was not the end of this night. My cousin and phupha continued to push, poke and spit bitter words for next 30 min while I kept lying sideways listening and staring on the empty wall.
“My dad has been hit by my actions.”
“He is broken because of his son’s action and pressure from society.”
“Break your engagement and allow us to find someone for you.”
“This kind of marriages will last 4-5 years maximum and when she will suck you, she will leave.”
“If you break up and marry according to our will, our family will walk with their chest up and chin high. You have hurt us all.”
“Your dad will jump up and sit up immediately if you would tell him that you will marry according to family choice and wishes.”
“You have brought down the family and we are not in support of your action. (Your marriage will not work.) we are trying to help you because we care for you and love you.”
“I have just said what is in my heart but now it is up to you to decide afar ever you want to do.”
“We are not happy about your decision and engagement. No one is. People are not saying but no one is happy.”
The fan was running in high speed and I continued to look sideways towards an empty wall, keeping quiet. All this time they both failed to notice that I have caught a cold.
They continued to watch TV and I remember staying annoyed for some time due to the TV volume but I managed to fall to sleep while the tube light was still on.
The Next Morning I woke up suddenly in the morning. I checked my phone and it was 4 am. I went to the toilet and sat down and began writing this chapter.
As I am finished with yesterday’s event and it’s already 5 am now. I am going to get fresh and would head directly to the hospital where my brother is. I am thinking of sharing some of it with him but since he is under the tremendous amount of pressure himself, I am debating if I should or should not. Maybe I will not. Not right now. I am going to talk to Neha. I need her here.
Lipton Green Tea (this is the one I had this morning)
9 AM, Monday
Whenever I drink black or green tea on an empty stomach, I start to feel very sick within 30 minutes. I don’t know why!? Usually, I am a coffee person but for a change, I thought of having black/green tea this morning. I saw Lipton green tea, all natural, wow! I went and grabbed for it.
After a few sips, I was already feeling sick. I sipped a few more times and within an hour I was feeling nauseated and like vomiting. At first, I was not sure why I am feeling this way. Is this because I missed breakfast this morning? Or, is this because of this tea? Or, is this caffeine on an empty stomach?
I thought to myself, I have had coffee many times on an empty stomach and I have never felt this way. My mind was busy chattering: It must not be the caffeine. So what is it? Could it be the tea? I am not allergic to tea or milk and I seem to have quite enjoyed the tea experience (especially Earl Grey) on several occasions, but then why today? What is wrong with me? Or, is this the Lipton tea?
I searched on google and found an old blog post confirming my fears. My search didn’t bring up many answers though but it did reveal that lots and lots of people experience this. So, it’s not the caffeine.
Here, we are talking about real tea, made from tea leaves, and not herbal teas which usually don’t contain tea leaves and are actually a blend of dried herbs, fruits, and flowers.
Many people confirmed what I was feeling and what I knew to be true. For example, people were saying, “I can drink coffee, Coke or an energy drink (on an empty stomach) and be fine. But there’s something about tea that makes me ill.”
“It’s not a specific type of tea either; it can be green tea, black tea, or a blend.”
Now, it’s already close to lunchtime. Like many others before me, I thought, let me eat something. If I eat something, maybe I will not feel like vomiting. Maybe this all due to an empty stomach and a stupid bad tea which is not for me.
I ate a little but it did not help much. Actually, I was afraid that I may throw up. So I did not want to eat a lot.
Well, it’s been a couple hours since I drank half a cup of tea (yes, actually only a half cup). I threw the rest half, promising to myself I am not touching this tea ever again. I really liked some tea but now I’m afraid to drink it. I think…did I eat enough? Will I get sick? Is this a good tea?
My research also made me aware that people can feel this way (bad nausea and feeling like throwing up) even during the evening time. So hours and time doesn’t matter as much. The only common thing in all the case studies: empty stomach and green or black tea.
So, I did some more research. By now, I was sure that I am not alone. And, I must do something about it. This happened today and I am going to write about it and share it with everyone. I am sure others are searching like me.
So I did a little looking up on nausea, sneezing, and tea. I found a clue on this blog that made sense to me. I have pollen allergy. All allergies are caused by the excessive production of histamine.
According to the blogs mentioned above: what does nausea, sneezing, and tea have in common? Most sites stated that nausea and sneezing at the same time are caused by agitation of acid-reflux and gastritis and histamine.
What is acid reflux?
Acid reflux is a condition where stomach acid comes up from the stomach into the esophagus. It is normally caused by alterations in the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus.
So it is not the acid-reflux. That leaves us with “histamine” as the only commonality. It regulates sneezing and acid production and is found heavily in green and black teas.
Nausea and sick feeling finally subsided. It took 3 and half hours for me to come back to normal. Oh, what a day!
One person commented to put cream or milk in the tea. The cream helps keep you from becoming sick to your stomach.
Do not let the tea bag soak for extended time. Take it out after couple of minutes. This way you consume less caffeine as well.
Drink herbal tea instead of black tea on an empty stomach.
The problem is with the Lipton tea and not you. Quit the Lipton tea and find something natural and better. Something that suits you. It will take some risk and experimentation. But. it is worth it.
Try taking baking soda in water. It brings back the PH of the stomach to a normal level. It also works for stomach burns.
Eat something (even if you are not feeling like). You’ll feel much better. No tea in the morning. Got it.
Drink yerba mate and other organic loose-leaf forms of tea instead of pre-packaged tea bags typically found in restaurants or hotels.
Stay safe, my friends! I need to rest now. I’ll see you folks tomorrow!
PS: According to Mayo Clinic, Nausea and vomiting may occur separately or together. There can be any number of causes for this but for our purposes here, these are some of the causes that is worthy of further investigation in connection to black tea and histamine.
Gastroparesis (muscles of the stomach wall don’t function properly) Intestinal obstruction Morning sickness Anorexia nervosa Bulimia nervosa Cyclic vomiting syndrome Depression Dizziness Food poisoning Generalized anxiety disorder Intestinal obstruction Irritable bowel syndrome Milk allergy (in infants and children)
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Have you every had this kind of nauseated feeling after drinking tea, coffee or energy drinks? If you know of better ways to cure or stop the nausea and feeling of vomiting, please share with us all. If you had a similar episode, please feel free to leave a comment and I would love to read it.
This week I wanted to show you a little bit of my home, what I eat, how I cook and my lifestyle. I have a few videos to show you today on meal planning and cooking clean breakfasts for optimal fitness.
Meal Planning Simplified
Meal Planning in its Simplest Form
Breakfast for Bulking & Bodybuilding (Clean Eating)
*You can substitute white potatoes with red potatoes. (I eat red 99% of the times, we made this video using potatoes that were available to us.)
Meal Planning for Fit Life (Chicken, Kale, Hummus, Celery)
Honey + Lime + Cinnamon Water for Weight Loss
Healthy Breakfast for Fit Life | Bodybuilding Meal Planning Made Simple
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What is your biggest fitness goal right now? Do you like these videos? If you want me to cover something in specific, please feel free to leave a comment and I will try to cover them in my next video. Please share your pro-tips if something is working for you. It may help others. (The first 10 commenters are always my favorite.)
I hate allergies. I have never been allergic to anything in my life (up to age 29), until last year. Then suddenly, one fateful evening in early May 2014, my eyes were red and itchy, my throat was sore and I was feeling feverish, flu-like symptoms.
I went home, ate a light dinner and went to bed. Next day I woke up and my eyes were still red and itchy. I did not have a fever but my nose was slightly dripping and I was sneezing all day long.
This went on for a couple of days. At night, it used to get worst. I had trouble sleeping due congestion in my nose. I just could not breath form my nose anymore. Night time was the worse. I had to breathe from my mouth and in the morning I will wake up pain in my throat due to the dry air. Damn! This was getting worse.
My job was affected, so was my focus and concentration. I was not able to do anything properly. I was irritated all the time and used to get angry at the slightest of anything trivial, benign or frustration-worthy. Life was suddenly hell and I had no idea how did I get here and how to get out of it.
After a week or so, I finally took the lesson home that this is not the seasonal flu and I am having seasonal allergies. People at work started to tell me, I am having seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies?
What in the world is that? I have never heard of pollen allergies before? Really. I am allergic to something in my environment. But, I have been living here in Boston for almost four years and I never had allergies before. Before Boston, I lived in California, Arizona and North Dakota (in all seasons).
I never had any allergies there as well. I never had any allergies in India where I was growing up and lived until age 22. How can I be allergic to pollen or whatever is causing me allergies? I needed to find out the answers.
Two Types of Allergies
Allergies can be:
There are two types of allergies: seasonal, which are more common, and perennial that happens throughout the year for no particular or specific cause but due to any number of variable causes, for eg. dust mites, dust, change in temperature, etc.
Seasonal Allergies (Pollen Induced)
In this blog post, I am going to talk about only the seasonal allergies that are caused due to an allergen (eg: pollen) during the spring season or early summer (May and June).
If you get itchy, watery, red eyes and drippy nose during a specific time of the year, you are like me and this post is for you. (For others, this post may serve as informational but this is not written for any other kind of allergies.)
Also, this post is not medical advice by my own story and how I cured my seasonal allergy problem. (This post is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.)
I have been suffering from both Eye Allergy and Nose Allergy for the past 2 years. I was waiting to find out what happens this year.
Around May 7th or 8th, I started to get the symptoms and I was, oops, I am indeed really allergic. Took me two seasons to accept the truth. I am going to share, what I did (immediately) to get rid of my allergic symptoms and problem.
First Thing First
If you are having the same symptoms as I have (as described above), first, however, you must see an allergist to find out if you truly have allergies before making drastic changes at home or starting a medication.
You may be unsure about the cause of your allergy symptoms, get a skin test or a blood test to identify the allergens that cause your problems.
All insurance plans cover allergy checkup and tests and these tests are simple and can tell you a wealth of information about your body. Here, you can see what a typical skin allergy test looks like and what results you get at the end of it.
The test is about 30 minutes long. You can easily schedule the test during one of your lunch breaks.
After the test, I found out that I am not allergic to pets (dogs and cats), dust mites and mold, thank God! Sorry, folks, I won’t be covering the allergies caused by pets in this post.
But after your test, if you find out you are allergic to pets, the simplest thing to do is not have pets and avoid contacts with them. For more information, you can google and learn more. If you do good research and find something new, please share in the comments below.
Watch Out for April – June
Seasonal allergies happen only at certain times of the years, usually early spring through summer and into autumn. They’re caused by exposure to allergens in the air, commonly pollen from grasses, trees, and weeds, as well as spores from molds.
When a person has seasonal allergies, the body’s immune system mistakenly reacts to substances like pollen or mold as invaders. These substances are called allergens.
An allergic reaction occurs as the immune system tries to fight off the allergen. These pollen induced seasonal allergies affect an estimated 40 million people in the United States alone. As you can see, you and I are not alone. This is a big issue. I hope there is a better cure for this. For now, let’s keep reading on.
Myth: If you are not allergic to pollen, you are safe and you won’t have it.
Truth: You can become allergic to particular pollen or substance later. Look at my test results above. This is called “acquired disorder”. 
What are Pollens
Pollen is a fine to coarse powder containing the micro sperm cells of seed plants, which produce the male sperm cells. These sperm cells. Need I say more.
Pollens are protein that seem like an intrusive foreign substance to the body’s immune (defense) system. Our body does not accept any foreign proteins (amino acids) without a grain of salt.
And this is a good thing and this is how we fight bacteria and viruses but this self-defense mechanism gets bad when it starts fighting a natural, non-harmful substance such as tree pollen.
Forms of Seasonal Pollen Induced Allergies Eye Allergy is an allergic reaction to pollen that affects the eyes. Eyes may become watery, itchy, sore, red and/or swollen.
Nasal Allergy is an allergic reaction that gets worst at night with nose congestion, dry throat and thus resulting in sleep deprivation.
Hay Fever is an allergy to pollen that is present in the air at certain times of the year. Symptoms include itching in the nose, the roof of the mouth, throat, and eyes; sneezing; stuffy nose; runny nose; and tearing eyes.
Usually, your eye allergy will happen along with nasal allergy symptoms. Likewise, you can have all of them at once or only one prominent one.
Two Common Allergy Triggers
Your Overactive Immune System
Many things can trigger an allergic reaction. That’s when your body’s defenses attack a usually harmless substance, such as pollen, animal dander, or food. The reaction can range from mild and annoying to sudden and life-threatening. About 1 in 5 Americans have allergies.
Pollen from grasses, trees, and weeds can trigger hay fever or seasonal allergies. You might be sneezing and have a runny or stuffy nose and itchy, watery eyes. Treat these with over-the-counter products, prescription drugs, and allergy shots. To prevent symptoms, stay inside on windy days when pollen counts are high, close windows, and run the air conditioning.
Let’s move on to nasal allergies, understand it and then defeat it for good. With nasal allergies, there are five things that happen when an allergic reaction occurs:
There’s sneezing, itching, runny nose, mucus formation, and nasal congestion (swelling of the mucous membranes).
As an example, as soon as you crawl in bed prepared to get a good night’s sleep, you realize that you can’t breathe through your nose. So, you position yourself differently on the pillows and just as you get comfortable and find a good breathing position, postnasal drip (thick mucus) starts to collect in the back of your throat, causing you to cough — and cough.
The more you cough and try to breathe through your congested nose, the more miserable you feel.
Thus, all night long, you toss and turn and cough and snore instead of sleeping. The next day, you awaken feeling exhausted and irritable because your allergies have wreaked havoc with normal sleep.
Gravity is to Blame
Sinuses are small airbags, found in the bones of the face. When they cannot drain properly, it is very difficult to breathe through your nose. This problem can worsen at night when you lay down.
Gravity plays a role in sinus drainage. While in a lying position, the sinuses may drain down the back of your throat, causing irritation. If you lay on one side or the other, the sinuses will drain to that side, making it difficult to breathe through the nose.
Allergies could cause nighttime stuffiness. If the night is the only time you appear to have problems breathing out of your nose, you may be allergic to the material and or stuffing, that is contained in your pillow. Allergens cause an influx of histamines, which lead to a stuffy nose.
An allergic reaction may be caused by laundry detergent and the direct contact your face has with the sheets and pillowcase as you sleep.
Nose Allergy Medications
Two types of allergy medications may help nasal allergies.
Antihistamines: Antihistamines can help with sneezing and postnasal drip.
Decongestant: Decongestant medications help with stuffiness and nasal congestion. A better and more effective approach to treating allergies might be the inhaled nasal steroids and intra-nasal antihistamines.
These inhaled nasal puffs and sprays address all four allergy symptoms of sneezing, itching, runny nose, and mucus formation, and nasal congestion and swelling of the mucous membranes.
If you try the inhaled nasal steroids, it’s better to start taking it two weeks before pollen season begins to prevent allergy symptoms. You may plan on staying on inhaled nasal steroids for months, if needed, to keep allergies at bay and avoid sleep deprivation.
I am using Nasacort Allergy 24 HR. That’s all and I am doing perfect.
DIY Nose Allergy Relief
Drink More Water Another thing that you can do is drink more water, which works to thin mucus. Thin mucus does not stick to the back of the throat and cause postnasal drip. You’ll know that you’re well-hydrated if you’re hitting the bathroom frequently.
Closed Windows Keep the windows closed in the bedroom to keep out pollen and nighttime dampness.
Raise the head of your bed a few inches. The higher the head, the less the nasal congestion with allergies. (This works well for me).
Exercise for 30 minutes daily, inside a gym. Do not walk outside (even if it is sunny and bright outside). Wait until mid-June. It is not that you cannot go outside, you can on proper medication but go out only when it is necessary.
Talking about exercising, your blood will flow easier, you’ll have superior posture (on account of stronger back muscles) and also your sinuses will shrink, eliminating the stuffy nose during the night concern.
Herbs like Aloe Vera, Eucalyptus, Mint/Peppermint oil, Ginger, and Olbas oil, all have the skill to soothe and also cure aggravation and also swelling in the nasal lining.
Ginger is actually used to make a powerful nighttime herbal tea, that clears the sinuses and also throat. It seems to have the additional advantage of stopping nausea. Ginger tea might end up being through boiling fresh ginger roots, or perhaps using packages of dried ginger.
Use these herbs by adding the essence oil to a bowl, and position it near whenever you rest, to inhale in the vapors. One may likewise place a couple drops of Eucalyptus essence oil, or even Olbas oil to the pillowcase, to add in the calming vapors while sleeping.
To use steam therapy, boil various ounces of the free of moisture herbs, and also pour the boiled water in a ceramic bowl. Place a towel over the head, covering your head and the bowl completely, to ensure that absolutely no steam escapes. Take deep breaths of the herb water throughout your nose to soothe the nose lining.
Why Allergies are Worst At Night (When I go to Sleep)?
There can be several reasons for this (and this seem to be a common ailment for most allergy sufferers, including myself). This is what I researched and did in order to sleep well at night.
1. Allergen could be in your face or hair – wash your hair and body right before you go to sleep.
2. Shoe outside – Pollen can enter your bedroom through your shoes, so keep your shoes outside.
3. Change your bedding daily – all of the pollen and other allergens that accumulate on your bed during the day are collected in your pillow and bedding. Wash them and change them every two days. You can also place a clean towel on your pillow.
I bought two allergen-impermeable (allergy proof) pillow covers from Amazon.
Now, let’s understand eye allergies and then defeat it for good. For many seasonal allergy sufferers, pollen irritates their eyes the most. They suffer from allergic conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the white part of the eye, the back of the eyelids and front of the eyeballs.
Allergic people may become especially miserable in spring and early summer as grass pollen season kicks into high gear. Grass pollen are especially irritating to the eye. So are ragweed pollen, which will begin spreading later in the summer. (In my skin allergy test, I found out that I am not allergic to Ragweed pollen, Halleluljah!)
Even though people blink an average of 15,000 times a day, pollen still gets in their eyes. The good news is that the same treatments and self-help strategies that ease nasal allergy symptoms work for eye allergies, too.
Symptoms of Allergic Pink Eye
The five major symptoms of allergic pink eye include:
Redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid, Increased amount of tears, Itchy eyes, Blurred vision and Swelling of the eyelid.
Eye allergies can be annoying but they pose little threat to eyesight other than temporary blurriness. Remember, like all allergies, eye allergies are caused by a glitch in the body’s immune system. There is nothing wrong with your eyes or vision.
The allergy starts when the conjunctiva (the mucous membrane that lines the eyelids and covers the whites of the eyes) comes into contact with something that, while actually harmless, is seen as a threat.
In a mistaken attempt to fight off the threat, the immune system makes antibodies that cause your eyes to release histamine and other substances. That, in turn, makes eyes red, itchy, and watery. The most characteristic symptom of eye allergy is itching.
DIY Eye Allergy Relief
The first approach to controlling eye allergies should be to limit your exposure to allergy triggers. Here are several steps that people can take to reduce pollen’s irritating effect on their eyes:
Stay indoors when pollen counts are highest, usually in mid-morning and early evening. Close the windows and run the air conditioner (window fans can draw in pollen and mold spores).
If you go out, wearing eyeglasses or big sunglasses can help block pollen from your eyes. Driving? Keep the windows closed and run the air conditioner.
Pillows Limit your exposure to dust mites by encasing your pillows in allergen-impermeable covers. Wash bedding frequently in water that’s at least 130 F. If your mattress is more than a few years old, consider getting a new one. Old mattresses are often teeming with allergens.
Clean floors with a damp mop
Sweeping tends to stir up rather than get rid of allergens. So use damp mop. Especially if a pet shares the house with you, consider replacing rugs and carpets, which trap and hold allergens, with hardwood, tile, or other flooring materials that are easier to clean. Go with blinds instead of curtains.
Clean your kitchen and bathrooms with a bleach solution.
Humidity To stop mold from growing inside your home, keep the humidity under 50%. That might mean using a dehumidifier. Clean the dehumidifier regularly.
Eye Cold Compress Don’t rub your eyes. That’s likely to make symptoms worse. Try cool compresses instead. A bag of frozen peas or a moist washcloth that has been placed briefly in the freezer can reduce itching when put over the eyes.
Allergy Medications for Eyes
Over-the-counter and prescription medications can provide short-term relief of some eye allergy symptoms. Remedies include:
1. Sterile saline rinses and eye lubricants can soothe irritated eyes and help flush out allergens.
2. Eye drops containing ketotifen can relieve allergy symptoms for up to 12 hours. They won’t cause rebound redness even with long-term use. Refrigerating eye drops may help in providing additional relief of allergy symptoms.
3. Oral antihistamines can also help. Walgreens, CVS or any pharmacy will have medicines from well-known brands. These tend to be less sedating and most of them will provide you long-lasting relief.
I am not taking anything specific for eyes. Your choice of medication will depend on what is more severe for you: eyes, nose, fever or throat, etc.
I have included here everything that I have tried. Also, I have removed anything that is confusing (words or language). There are other methods of course but they either did not work for me or they are not convenient enough to practice.
If your allergy symptoms are severe or only getting worse or not improving despite trying everything that I have mentioned, you should definitelyÂ consult your doctor and ask for Immunotherapy.
That’s all. And, I am back to life like a normal person I used to be, with no major symptoms, peaceful night sleep, and open nostrils. (The only mild symptoms I still have is itchiness in my eyes, that tooÂ occasionally).
I hope my research and story help you if you are suffering from seasonal allergies. If you happen to know someone who is suffering and have watery, red eyes. Do her a favor. Share this post with a person affected by allergies. Her vision is already blurred, and this will save him countless hours of google search time and conflicting information and confusion.
Did you know about the free VIP pass offer to the Naked Soul Club? Subscribe your email address now and be part of this tight-knit community of lovers, readers, writers, adventures and other people just like yourself. I send great contents directly into your mailbox. Once a week. Sign up now and stay in touch!
Are you suffering from seasonal allergies? Did you have it since childhood or you developed it later? If I have missed some simple solutions to treat allergies, please let me know in the comments below. Also, if you are going to use the tips from my experience, and find success, please leave me a comment as well. Any other questions, please feel free to share your rich thoughts with us.