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Rockfort Temple at Trichy at Sunrise

Pic: View at Sunrise from top of Rockfort Temple at Trichy, India.

I could never have imagined that cancer, especially breast cancer would touch my own life so closely, that too a few days after I ran the Virtual Breast Cancer half-marathon in New York City.

My parents had cancelled their visit to US this January due to my mother’s poor health. I was concerned and decided to go to India in February to see my mother. And I am glad I went.

I had no idea how bad her condition was and how rapidly her health had deteriorated. When I saw her, she was barely able to walk and had lost a lot of weight. She had had a hip surgery 2 years ago and is diabetic. She had also been diagnosed with post-menopausal osteoporosis. I had assumed she was unable to walk due to post-hip surgery complications, but as it turned out, I was terribly wrong.

She looked gaunt, frail, disheveled and depressed. Her immobility had meant fewer trips to the bathroom and infrequent baths. A few days into my stay at our home in Trichy, things got to a stage where she couldn’t even get up to walk and thus could no longer hobble to the toilet on her own. That’s when I realized how grave the situation was.

I took her to a well known Bone and Joint Hospital in Trichy. That’s how most orthopedic hospitals are called here for simplicity’s sake. The X-ray immediately confirmed her right femur (thigh) bone had fractured into two . No wonder she could not walk!

More was to come. A routine examination by a woman doctor also revealed a large tumor in her left breast. A complete scan the next day confirmed the presence of cancer in the breast, left shoulder and left arm. No one had taught her breast self-examination and though she had intuitively known something was seriously wrong with her, she had no idea what it could be. She had to be operated upon twice the same day, once to remove the breast  and surrounding tissues and again to fix her thigh bone with a metal plate.

I spent two stressful but fruitful weeks at the hospital. My mother was in much pain after the surgery, but the color had returned to her face and she no longer looked sickly. Her cancer treatment is yet to start but she now knows she can hope to recover.

She is only 69 years old, but with her rapidly worsening condition, she may not have survived for long and so I am glad I went to India. I could see her alive and do what I could to help her. I wish I could have stayed with her longer, but I have work in NY that I cannot abandon. I need to earn a living and when possible, financially support her care.

My mother’s case proves how vital early detection is in the fight against breast cancer.

Tall, cold glass of Beer. Hmmm...

Beer is not just a legendary favorite drink of runners as new study suggests that beer strengthens bones. Beer being good source of silicon helps in preventing osteoporosis in old age.

In the new study, researchers at the University of California studied 100 commercial beers and found their silicon content ranged from 6.4 milligrams per litre to 56.5 mg/l. Paler beers have more silicon than darker ones because less heat is used in the malting process.

The results showed the India Pale Ale category of beers tends to have more silicon because they are traditionally a stronger and "hoppier" beer containing more silicon-rich malt and hops

"Beer containing high levels of malted barley and hops are richest in silicon. It is the husk of the barley that is rich in this element. While most remains during brewing, significant quantities are none the less extracted into wort and survive into beer," says Dr. Charles Bamforth PhD, DSc., who led the study. His message? “Choose the beer you enjoy. Drink it in moderation." Read more in this LiveScience article.

So, do you still need an excuse to enjoy your beer?

A glass in the hand’s worth two on the shelf—
Tipple it down and refresh yourself!

– Anonymous quote

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