The first segment ended with Clive and his mother en route to Bangalore, India, where they sought a promising cutting edge treatment.
Now we get to read about the events that took place from that time. Here is his description.
Finally the Cyberknife treatment took place. It is an incredibly accurate, (1.7mm) pinpoint radiation delivery system. To ensure she would lie perfectly still they first made a mould of her body. When she was in that she could not even move a tiny bit!
Then Daphne had 5 consecutive days of the cyberknife treatment, each lasting 2 hours. They treated the two infected lymph nodes too. After the two weeks were up, they sent us home and suggested two cycles of chemotherapy after a break of 3 weeks to make sure there was no further metastasizing of the cancer.
Plans for future treatment
Amazingly, PET/CT scans are not done routinely in South Africa due to scarcity of the equipment and the medical aids not covering the cost as an outpatient. A PET/CT is crucial in determining the exact type of cancer that is present and the subsequent chemicals to be used in the chemotherapy plan need to be tailored to the exact cancer type. Otherwise you are doing a hit and miss.
Indeed another South African couple in Bangalore with Stage 4 cancer was on three different chemicals in South Africa and only one of those was working on the tumors in her lungs. They were not having any effect on the liver or pancreas. Also, HCG was able to catch another tumor in her neck from the PET/CT scan which the South African oncologists had completely missed...
Trip and treatment costs
In conclusion, it amazes me India has cornered the market in relatively affordable health care with some of the best available treatments in the world. It also amazes me that a country like South Africa has fallen so far behind the rest of the world in terms of treatment of patients and has resolved itself to offering palliative care only. After all, South Africa always prided itself on the fact that they claimed the credit for the first heart transplant performed on a human being…
Despite that the traffic flows and people navigate in their cars, trucks, motorcycles, tuk tuks and horse drawn carts. Life is never dull or boring there. HCG picks you up at the airport upon your arrival and delivers you back there on your exit. They also organized private SUV’s for us to go and do some sightseeing and shopping on the weekends. The drivers wait for you and help you with wheel chair etc. Basically it’s not a scary place and one well worth seeing.
A big thank you
After dropping Daphne off in Johannesburg with one of my cousins, I got back on a plane a day later and flew to Norway for 3 weeks as I have to fulfill my research obligations to the Norwegian Government. I am writing this from the fjords of Norway where I have been able to take a deep sigh of relief and kick back after the chaos that has been my life for the last 3 months!