Monday, November 17, 2014

Sepsis Shock: How it nearly killed my MOM

World Sepsis Day is September 13, the same day which changed my life forever.

What I mean to share in this post is 'sepsis awareness'. After everything that we've been through, it’s actually a good time for me to finally write it out.

Let’s start Sepsis awareness by few less known facts
  • Sepsis causes more deaths than prostate cancer, breast cancer and HIV/AIDS combined. Globally, an estimated 20 – 30 million cases of sepsis occurs each year.
  • Sepsis remains the primary cause of death from infection despite advances in modern medicine, including vaccines, antibiotics, and intensive care. Sepsis, which is often misunderstood by the public as “blood-poisoning” is one of the leading causes of death around the world
  • Patients surviving sepsis have double the risk of death in the following 5 years compared with hospitalized controls and suffer from physical, cognitive and effective health problems.
  • Sepsis arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. It may lead to shock, multiple organ failure, and death, especially if not recognized early and treated promptly. Between one third and one half of patients with sepsis die.
  • Sepsis is often diagnosed too late, because the clinical symptoms and laboratory signs that are currently used for the diagnosis of sepsis, like raised temperature, increased pulse or breathing rate, or white blood cell count are unspecific

My mom wasn't doing well. I remember mom had been complaining about fever since a couple of days. But, she’s a lot like me. Or I suppose I should say I’m a lot like her. She insists she doesn't need to go to the doctor – or hospital – when in fact she does. But with all of us nagging, she finally relented and agreed to see a doctor. A few hours later, she returned with a diagnosis that I can’t even remember, but nothing serious. She’d be fine. There wasn't anything to worry about.

We took mom illness as normal “viral”. But then after few days, around two-and-a-half months ago, on a Saturday, we were having our routine lives. I had a call with my mom in the morning like any other weekend. Except my mom wasn’t feeling well. At all.

By noon mom had fever 104 F. She started feeling cold and she suddenly lost consciousness. She was rushed to the nearest hospital while she lay unconscious. By the time she reached hospital her blood pressured crashed down to 70/40 or something silly low close to that. It was just the beginning – and a mild version – of the crashes that were to come, but it was very fortunate that she was in the hospital by now and doctors where there for her. Doctors tried to stabilizer her, put her on ventilator and admitted her in the ICU. But, she showed no signs of improvement.

And so began seven days of pure hell, where my mom would nearly die – over and over and over again – in front of me and my family.

Doctors knew my mom was in septic shock. The mortality rate for sepsis goes up 8% every hour it goes undiagnosed, Mom went undiagnosed for 4 hours, killing her chances by 32%!

Sepsis shock is a medical condition caused as a result of severe internal infection where toxins released by bacteria cause tissue damage, low blood pressure, and organ failure. Because in mom’s case it hadn't been caught earlier and treated with antibiotics, it had progressed to the point that she was at risk of dying.

The doctors were working around the clock on mom — she was hooked up to every kind of life support. It had progressed well beyond sepsis. They just didn’t know what bacterium was causing it. Neither could they find the source of the infection, so she was on every heavy antibiotic there was – in extreme doses. By the third day, it was becoming apparent she wouldn’t be able to fight much longer; she wasn’t going to make it without the ventilator. They’d held off on that. It’s a last resort because when the body is as sick as her, pneumonia sets in quickly and then, well… But when the body is as sick as her, it needs help, too.

Things could have got worse. But with God’s grace, mom started responding to medicine and after a week she was discharged from the hospital. She is 52 years old. The only reason she lived through it was because she was healthy when it hit. She was incredibly physically active and in good shape.

Someone who was dealt a crappy health card in life — someone like me — would have been dead by the second day.

Mom was 30 pounds lighter when she came home. She could barely walk. We brought her to Delhi to make sure she gets best medical attention. She is getting better now.

Friends, sepsis and sepsis shock are no joke. I shared a limited account of my mom’s experience from my perspective. I’m still not completely over it, but I’m okay enough. I don’t believe she will ever be completely over it, physically or mentally. The details of the story – and more importantly, the part that followed the initial part – aren’t mine to share. So I’ve shared my experience, which was nothing in comparison. And yet it was a lifetime, lived in a week.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Life beyond PCOS...

Hello everyone! Welcome to my Blog!
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Madhulika and one of my goals today is to raise awareness about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It is a complex metabolic and hormonal disease and the number one cause of infertility. I have PCOS. 

"I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome."

I’m excited to share the discoveries I have made along my PCOS journey. It has been far from easy, and it took a while to get to where I am now, but my path to healthy life has finally started to open up. Getting diagnosed with PCOS was a blessing in disguise, after all the years of guessing what was “wrong” with me. 

It all started during last few years. I started gaining weight and getting acne. I was experiencing severe mood swings, blood sugar spikes, as well as a severe lack of energy and motivation. I lost all drive to life. My menstrual cycle was either very irregular, or completely absent, and I lacked self-esteem.  

My medical history, blood and hormonal tests as well as a pelvic ultrasound confirmed the diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. For the first time in my life, everything that I’d gone through started making sense. It was all connected, in one way or another, to this complex metabolic and hormonal disease. I was diagnosed in December of 2013, when I was 23 years old. I count myself lucky for having been diagnosed early on in my life. It paved the path to wellness for me. In saying that, what I mean is that the diagnosis allowed me to now found out what needed to be done for me to feel like myself again. 

Of course, the doctor told me there was nothing I could do and that I needed to proper medication well as a Diabetes medication called Metformin, for around a year. I was also told that I can be more prone to developing other serious illnesses such as Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Cardiovascular Disease, Osteoporosis, Obesity, Cancer, etc! Not even counting all the horrible symptoms I was already experiencing, it was a rude awakening. It did make me realize that I needed to start taking my health seriously. It wasn’t just about losing weight or controlling my hair fall anymore. I had to prevent further complications from this disease.

I began doing my own research, soon to discover PCOS can be cured..!!! Yes.. You heard it right... PCOS can be cured :)
Just try to have a healthy lifestyle and take your medicines on time. Try to exercise moderately and practice stress management activities such as yoga and meditation. I’ve also discovered that staying on a good routine, going to bed before 10:30pm, fertility charting, as well as keeping a PCOS journal is very beneficial and keeps you feeling in control.

Lastly, the most important aspect of treating  PCOS is surrounding yourself with people who love and support your efforts. It’s important to communicate with your family, friends and spouse as PCOS can definitely affect all your life relationships if you or they don’t see it coming. The people around need to be understanding, but it’s also important for you to try to control yourself, and to educate and find what works best for you. That is why the journal and recording how you feel is so important. It helps you to see a pattern, and to understand your symptoms and mood swings, so that you can know when to avoid stressful situations, or give your loved ones a heads up!

Throughout my life, I had always been searching for the one thing that was causing me to feel ill. Through much education and personal experiences, I learnt that it’s not only one single thing that makes us unwell, it’s a combination of everything we do in our lives; from what we eat, how and when we exercise, which products we use, what environment we’re in, the people we surround ourselves with, etc. While some situations may be unchangeable, we must pick our battles and change the ones we have control over.

Treating PCOS takes some time and effort, but it is well worth it, and becomes easier as it gets habitual. From the day I became proactive in my own health and treatment, positive changes started happening. I’ve never felt better in my entire life! For that reason, I'm writing this blog to help women like me, who need to go by life with the day by day struggles of this disease. I believe that I have gained the upper hand and control over my PCOS, but I do expect some pit falls along the way. There is no magic formula to completely cure PCOS. Living with PCOS will be a life long struggle that I have to accept and I hope that any issues arising along the way will be dealt with positively based on the natural resources that I have, and that are out there.

P.S. I would be glad to help anyone with ways to deal with PCOS. or just a girl to girl chat.

P.P.S. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a complex and life-altering disease, but there is hope. Your health is in your hands; heal yourself! Your path to vitality awaits you. Strive to achieve!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Climb!

I can almost see itThat dream I am dreamingBut there's a voice inside my head saying"You'll never reach it"

Every step I'm takingEvery move I make feelsLost with no directionMy faith is shaking

But I gotta keep tryingGotta keep my head held high

There's always gonna be another mountainI'm always gonna wanna make it moveAlways gonna be a uphill battleSometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get thereAin't about what's waiting on the other sideIt's the climb

The struggles I'm facingThe chances I'm takingSometimes might knock me downBut no, I'm not breaking

I may not know itBut these are the moments thatI'm gonna remember most, yeahJust gotta keep going

And I, I got to be strongJust keep pushing on

'Cause there's always gonna be another mountainI'm always gonna wanna make it moveAlways gonna be a uphill battleSometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get thereAin't about what's waiting on the other sideIt's the climb, yeah!
There's always gonna be another mountainI'm always gonna wanna make it moveAlways gonna be an uphill battleSomebody's gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get thereAin't about what's waiting on the other sideIt's the climb, yeah!

Keep on moving, keep climbingKeep the faith, babyIt's all about, it's all about the climbKeep the faith, keep your faith, whoa

Thursday, May 30, 2013

New Girl in India's Capital

I have lived in the Indian capital for over a year now and, like many other women in this metropolis of 16 million, I soon learned how to deal with the lecherous stares and dirty comments, the drunken men in cars who follow my auto-rickshaw home from work at night.

I have learnt to be aggressive, to talk straight and serious when addressing male strangers, to not make eye contact, to not extend a handshake and to certainly not smile, share personal details or be friendly when dealing with men I do not know. Some may think this is a little severe, but when you are bombarded with reports of crimes against women — of men throwing acid in women’s faces, of women being dragged off the street and gang-raped in moving cars, of little girls being lured, raped and murdered, of women being stalked and harassed, most here will likely agree my actions make sense.

Women in Delhi have learnt to be guarded, to keep up a wall, to use reputable cab services and to take pictures of licence plates on our phones and send them to friends as we board auto-rickshaws. We have learnt to text or call loved ones when we reach our destination, to carry pepper spray, attend self-defense classes and have rape alert apps installed on our smart phones. It’s become a way of life. A norm — almost part of our subconscious — which helps us survive in a city which has the unsavory reputation of being India’s rape capital.

The brutality of the December gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in Delhi shocked not only Indians but also the world outside, awakening others to the horrors women face in this largely patriarchal country. I realize now how much of my somewhat cold, aggressive behavior to male strangers is linked to concern for my safety. India has a vibrant culture, diverse population and breathtaking landscapes. Its people are warm and welcoming and economic gains are gradually improving the lives of the poorest in the interior.

Inspite of all this i just wish India would become a country where women can wear what they want, where they are not sexually harassed or stared at on the street, where they can talk openly with men they do not know and can wear the shortest of shorts and the skimpiest of outfits. No one stares. No one cares.

Women are present in large numbers in all public spaces, doing everything from driving garbage collection trucks to policing the streets to loading your bags onto trolleys at the airport. Maybe someday I'd want to believe that men in India would finally allow women to feel comfortable, unconcerned about attracting stares and unwanted attention. To feel liberated, let down their guard and be at peace.

But my point is that it is not just a question of better attitudes towards women on the streets, but also about Government sending strong signals to society to respect women, something we do not see so much of in India. Indian Government passed a new anti-rape law after the Delhi gang rape , but a U.N. expert criticized it as being too limited in scope. The law was watered down by the predominantly male parliamentarians, who agreed to broaden the definition of rape and increase the penalties, yet did not criminalize a husband who rapes his wife, saying this could lead to the break-up of the family unit!!!

And now it gets really difficult for me to understand... What values do we Indians talk about? We worship female goddess but at the mean time rape a woman? and even after all this the government doesn't do whats needed. Trust me... India being the biggest democratic Nation and I being an Indian.. I can clearly state that Democracy is for fools where goon rules!

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Moving Frame... Strangers Again

"He's my unicorn!"
At first I didn't get what my friend meant.She said "He's the guy that I always dreamed about existing. Too perfect, making me happier than I ever thought was possible. And I found him. We're finally together.!!!"

This is how my friend described her new boyfriend.  Though it was several years ago, that term has always stuck with me, probably because, I think that's a very good way to put it.

Every relationship begins with a crush, an attraction.  The person of interest is a dream. You could only WISH to be with them, to be their boyfriend/girlfriend, to know everything about them, and grow with them. They are, a unicorn to you. Unicorn because you think it too good to be true. No one goes into a relationship (seriously) with someone they're not crazy about. You couldn't WAIT to see them, to hear from them. You would give anything to be WITH them... 

But sadly, at some point, this excitement, this appeal, this idea of perfection fades. Somewhere along the line, the unicorn, just becomes a regular horse.  In my opinion, that the reason why majority of relationships out there do not last. He or she is no longer appears to be "that special" and so you both start to act differently, or do stupid things that eventually lead to breaking up.

To me, the saddest part about a relationship that did not work out, is the inevitable path both parties are on to become strangers.  They start out as strangers, grow to learn about each other, eventually become each others' lives, and then break up, and return to being strangers again. 

I've been wanting to write about this for several months.  I went a little overboard and made a visual representation of a "typical" relationship...from rise, to demise.  Seeing it so plainly sorta depresses me since it's quite familiar...but maybe it'll help others who are going along the same path, and now seeing that, they're not alone.

I know it may seem I'm extremely bitter/pessimistic for claiming this is the representation of "typical" relationships...but, i'm just keeping it real.  Honestly, most of us are not gonna be ONE person forever, and you will break up. The normal stages in a relationship is as follows:
(I'm assuming no one cheated, beated, or did anything truly stupid that deems them unworthy of being counted as a meaningful relationship. Those are deal-breakers right there)

Stage 1: Everyone starts out as strangers.  You don't know who he/she will be, you don't even know he/she exists right now.

Stage 2: By some chance, you meet him/her. It could be through a mutual friend, online profile, a friend you've had for a long time and it's just clicking, or a total stranger you bump into on the street.  Whatever it meet him/her, and most are attracted.

Stage 3: If he/she your type, and you click, you'll find a way to keep talking and getting to know each other.  At some point, he/she will be the only person on your mind, you'll always look forward to getting that call or text from her.  You flirt, your eyes always meet first in a crowded room...She is your unicorn.

Stage 4: If you make it here...congrats!  You have found someone, out of alllll the people in the world...who likes you the way you like them at the same time.  If you think about it, that's quite a feat.  Make the right moves and he/she is now your boyfriend/girlfriend.  Lucky you, you are finally with the most wonderful and perfect boy/girl to you. Thus begins the honeymoon stage as everyone knows it.  The beginning of the relationship when the two of you couldn't be happier or more excited that you are together.

Stage 5: Time will pass, and whether you want to believe it or not, the fire won't rage on.  But that's okay, it's only normal and healthy for each of you to simmer down and just be chill with each other.  This is when you get comfortable.  There's no need to fake anything, you'll be real, you'll be honest.  Some fights might occur, some problems may arise, but that's fine. Again, it's only normal. What you do and where you go with those arguments and that comfortableness is what makes the difference into the next stage. (The comfortable stage is tricky because it could be very short, or very very long, years even, but you'll never know until after it's over)

Stage 6: For many, the problems persist, and despite trying to make up each time, you're still arguing, upset, or dissatisfied with the relationship.  It's only once in a while that you two are actually totally happy, because most of the time... you are just tolerating each other.  This is the stage when most people say..."It's not great, but it's not bad".  By the way... that's never a good description of a relationship. If you're saying that, you're probably headed for the next stage.

Stage 7: If you've gotten here, most likely there's not much time left for the two of you.  There may be valiant efforts to save the relationship, but in the end, everything will add up and it'll be too hard to keep it going.  Something was lost along the way and you can't bring it back.  Usually both of you will be too afraid to make the final call...but one of you will.  It's rarely completely mutual, but each case is of course different.  Most likely, both you won't agree at the same exact moment to break it off, and this results in the "he broke up with me" or "she broke up with me" when it was really what both of you were thinking at some point. However, there are definitely the cases that are really one-sided, when she doesn't see it coming at all, and you essentially "break her heart". Those are the worst.

Stage 8: The Break Up.  Pretty self explanatory.  If you're lucky, it'll be on good terms.  Sometimes they're long and drawn out.  Regardless of the duration or type...the relationship will end.

Stage 9: Assuming you were total strangers before...There will/must be a time of distance in order to heal.  You and your partner are coldly thrown back into a life null of each other, and it takes a while to adjust back. This is the most difficult part. (I could probably make a whole other subchart for this stage). Be strong. "Time heals all wounds"

Stage 10: Depending on your personality/support/life events...stage 9 will end after a certain amount of time.  You'll either move on, or find someone new.  Usually the most common way people move just finding someone new.  It's not necessarily a rebound, but seeing that there's another unicorn out there sorta makes the pain from the last one start to go away. Or you try to convince yourself that your ex was never a unicorn in the first place.

Stage 11: If both of you are mature and have good hearts...the two of you will recall a time when you were very important to one another and a part of each others' lives. This will undoubtedly cause you to sometimes think about them and how they're doing.  As a result, once in a while you'll send them an email, or message, or a call to say hello.  Maybe even catch up over coffee?  This might happen a few times, but after awhile, the time between will become longer and longer.  She'll get a new boyfriend, He will be busy in his life, so meeting up won't be a priority. After some time...the two of you won't be talking at all and will have totally lost touch, bringing you back to right where you started... Strangers. After a few more months/yrs...everything the two of you went through will feel like a dream that may or may not have happened....

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 - What have I learned?

1. I've developed an intolerance for bullshit.

This seemed to be the year I just couldn't handle excuses anymore. I'm not sure why, but this year I just got tired of saying "I can't" when what I really meant was "I'm not going to" or worse, "I'm scared."

This was the year I got a lot tougher on myself, and subsequently, other people. I don't mean to be harsh, but I really get annoyed by people that expect change to just materialize out of thin air. At some point this year I really became aware of my belief that life is what you make it.

I've only gained from this attitude adjustment, but I think, sadly, its also distanced me from people. I'm not saddened by the fact that I'm not as close to people as I've been in the past. I'm just saddened that some people will be so content to stay at status quo. I refuse to stay there myself. I've done enough over the years to hold myself back, I don't need anymore dead weight when I'm trying to move forward.

2. I'm a lot stronger than I think.

Physically and mentally.

Physically, this was the year of the gym and the year of literal strength building. I'm doing things I never thought I could do, like dead-lifting, squatting half my weight (ass to grass!). The only reason I thought I couldn't do those things was because I never tried. Now that I've tried and conquered some goals, I plan to keep trying. I plan to keep setting new goals, to lift heavier, to run faster and longer, to be fitter.

Mentally, I've done a lot of positive things for myself. I spent the first few months of the year in counseling, working through some issues. I rearranged my schedule so I could spend more time at home, relaxing, rather than sleeping in til the last second and having to do all my personal shit at night. I've read more, I've written less on the blog and more on my hard drive. I've tried to become more aware of my brain, the stress it goes through, and giving it a rest.

3. Things change.

If I had it my way, everything would be awesome all the time. I would have total control over what the world threw at me and even more control over how I respond to it.

I've never been one for change but this is the year I've really had to embrace it. I've made changes as much as I've rolled with the punches this year. Life moves on with or without you, no matter what the situation. Change isn't always a bad thing, you just don't have a lot of other options than shutting up and dealing with it. So that's what I did. I just dealt with change as it happened.

4. People have to help themselves.

I've spent the better part of the last year giving a lot of myself away to others. I can't go into much detail on this, but what it boils down to is that people choose to be the way they are, and most people don't own up to the choice. If you choose to be miserable and moody, life will treat you like you are miserable and moody. If you choose to accept this behavior in others, if you choose to try and work around people's character flaws, or if you let people walk all over you, you will get what's coming to you. You will be just as miserable as the people you surround yourself with.

That said, you still should try to do what you can for people, because sometimes, people aren't so far gone that they can't be helped with love and support. But in a lot of cases, there is only so much you can give and only so much you can accept from people before you become the sucker.

5. Keep calm and be a princess.

I'm so neurotic sometimes. My Mom always tells me I'm a worrier and that I need to relax. Of course, then all I did was worry about how much I worried. It's a cycle.

This year, I think I've finally figured out how to just hold my head high and get my shit done. I've realized that panic and worry does nothing but aggravate my heart condition and keep me up at night.

So how do you avoid worry? Well, part of having less worry is just being prepared for things. Worried about being late for work? Set your alarm earlier. Worried about getting the right nutrients in your diet? Make your own food. Worried you're forgetting something? Make lists. I make so many goddamn lists for all kinds of things, but it helps me keep track of everything. What groceries I need to buy, what days I have appointments, etc.

And on that note...

6. Organization is important.

I have always existed in a state of finally tuned chaos until this year. It seemed like the worst things would always happen to me. When I really got to thinking about it, I realized my life would be a lot easier if I just kept track of my life a bit better.

So now, I try to always have plans for back up plans. You can't really plan everything, but there are a lot of things you can plan for. You can plan your meals and exercise just as much as you can plan to relax. As far as money goes, I have a budget every pay day to keep me on track, which in turn, gives me the ability to plan my life better.

Murphy's Law can't get to you if you have a plan to deal with Murphy. I read that in a book somewhere this year and it just made so much sense. The better organized and prepared for the worst you are, the less likely the worst will happen.

7. If you do it all, people will expect you to do it all all the time.

I have a very "take charge" personality and it's both a blessing and a curse. I literally feel like I can do it all some days, but really, I shouldn't have to. I have friends, family etc. that are all capable of doing their own things, so I shouldn't be trying to do everything for anyone else.

Sometimes it's really hard to keep it all together. We all stumble, we get tired, we have issues come up that make it hard to stay on top of things. You have to have people in your life that can step up to the plate for you when you need the help. Sadly, I don't feel like I had much of that in my life this year. So the plan for this year, is to surround myself with people that are more supportive, and also to let go of my need to control all the things. I need to relinquish control and stop trying to do it all.

I hope everyone reading this has a great 2013, but remember, it can only be what you make it.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thank You Note For My Weirdest Friend :)

Dear Bhalu (Read it as Raghav) :D

I guess i should start this note with the fact that you're an amazing friend! ( not just me... all your friends feel the same for you) we've known each other since a long time now and you don't believe me but you've changed. You're way sweeter now and your voice gets seriously low and humble while talking to me. You have a newfound respect for yourself  and you understand me more than  most of the people ever could.

Thank you for being a different friend than everyone else, different from the friends who are only there for the fun things, the art museums and shopping and benders and brunch. Your relationship with me is something no one can ever understand (maybe because at times we ourself get confused) ;)

 You were there when I was happy, and you were there when i thought i didn't know who i was anymore. Thank you for believing in me when I was too weak and exhausted to believe in myself (the night before my SSB). Thank you for pushing me, for repeating those affirmations that don’t mean anything in inspirational films but mean everything when someone like you says them. Thank you for not judging me when I did something really stupid, but understanding that i am lil insane *giggles*
Thank God that you tried to smile :P

I really love it when i do something really stupid and you take is so damn lightly as if it was pretty natural and also for telling me that people should be full of life (like me ofcourse).

 You were there to cheer me up and defend me from people that i didn't understand (i guess you know who i am talking about *angry face*) . I want you to  know that i will definitely do anything for you because no matter how different we are, we're still friends. Please know that i will always be there for you (I am just a phone call away honey). 

I know that i torture you a lot... like the way i tortured you for a bed time story and then for a song and then for a chocolate and then to carry my bags and then for a road trip and then for a..... hehehehe.. the list is endless ;) I keep calling you weird.... but you know what... the real fact is that i am weird too (way more weird than you... sacchi) and i guess thats what makes this so beautiful between us.... :)

Thank you for doing all the things a real friend does, for letting me complaint about every irritating element of my life like how my plaster made me uncomfortable, or how bad my hostel warden was or how people gossip about us.... No matter what it was its always nice being with you. 

 Thank you for always knowing who I am and reminding me of that when I forget. 

Thank you for being genuinely concerned for me and always listening to me even when you’re tired ( though you are not very expressive but i know you care). Thank you for telling me the things no one wants to hear and sparing the bullshit advice. I can’t think of many other people I’d actually take a bullet for :)

Thanks for all the great memories, long talks, silly fights, and laughs. Thanks for being there through my ups and downs. Thanks for being the sweetest friend I could ever have ( You owe me a chocolate for this line dude ). Thanks for being true, and thanks for being YOU. 

Much Love,