Tapas Raha is a 62 year old brain cancer survivor living in Calcutta, India. He would like to share the story of his battle with GBM Grade IV. At the Chris Elliott Fund we encourage patients and caregivers to share their stories so that we can share with others. We aim to help others through information and awareness, including sharing unique personal treatment experiences as a source of inspiration, hope and information.
Below is Tapas Raha’s story from diagnosis, to treatment, to the discovery of a recurrent tumor, the exploration of alternative treatments, and ultimately to survivorship. Please read through and share your thoughts with him via the comments below. Do you have a story you’d like to share with our community? Email us at email@example.com.
UPDATE 3/4/14: As of March 4th 2014, Tapas Raha has updated his story. We’re excited to share his excellent results. His latest MRI, performed on February 14th, 2014, demonstrated a reduction of over 1.2 centimeters in his brain tumor! His tumor is now down to 3 x 2.8 x 2.7 centimeters. Positive results and a cause for celebration with his doctor’s, friends, and family! Tapas attributes his success to the homeopathic treatment path he took, and personally encourages those to try this route. Those interested he suggests to reach out to Dr. Banerji mentioned in his post.
Way to go Tapas! Congrats!
Tapas & His Diagnosis
I was diagnosed with GBM (Glioblastoma Brain Multiform Tumor Grade IV which is a highly malignant form of brain cancer on February 4th, 2008. The first symptoms I experienced were excruciating pain completely around my head, the night prior to my diagnosis, while I was chatting with my family at home.
I am glad to be given the opportunity to share my journey with you and to whomever may benefit from the hope generated by my story.
At the time of diagnosis I was 57 years old and now at 62, 5 years and 5 months past my diagnosis, I am still a survivor. Upon my initial admission to Apollo Hospital for diagnosis in 2008, I was also seen in a hospital in Salt Lake on February 5th, 2008 when a team of physicians found that I had a large tumor in my head, the left parietal space, to be exact, discovered through a series of imaging studies by CT scan and MRI.
My family decided to fly me to Madras, India where I was immediately admitted under Dr. Ghosh, well-renowned Surgeon, Dr. Siddharta Ghosh at the Apollo Gleneagles Hospital in Channai, India. Dr. Ghosh carefully consulted on my case and continued more observation and testing. Ultimately I was relocated to Hyderabad Apollo Hospital where they had a PET-CT machine available and ready, and necessary for testing.
My treatment began with a CT guided stereotactic biopsy on February 2nd, 2008 by Dr. Ghosh. Navigation guided left parietal craniotomy & gross total excision of tumor was completed on February 14, 2008. This biopsy resulted in identifying that my tumor was 4 cm in size, located in the parietal cortex that was grayish white in color was found to be moderately vascular.
Upon studying my reports thoroughly, Dr. Ghosh decided that it was best to perform brain surgery with his team of surgeons on February 14th, 2008. This was my only surgey. Thereafter, at the successful completion of my surgery, I realized that it was going to be a long road to recover, but I was hopeful and motivated to see it through.
During my recovery from brain surgery, Dr. Ghosh prescribed me a cocktail of maintenance medications to ensure that my recovery from brain surgery was on track. I continued on this cocktail of meds until more recently when I was able to cut it down to just a few that would give me the same results. Dr. Ghosh placed me on 2 anti-convulsive medications to help with any epileptic episodes as well as the following drugs:
- Eptoin 100 MG x twice daily
- Eltroxin 100 MG
- Levipil 1g x twice daily
- Lamitor DT 100 MG
- Eslizen 400 X 3 tab per day
- Amaryl 2 MG
As part of my maintenance treatment, I also underwent radiation therapy in Madras Apollo Hospital under Dr. K S Sekhar, Sr .Consultant at Radiation Oncology on April 12th, 2008. I was prescribed and was required to dose with one Temodol capsule per day for 20 days before radiation.
When my radiation treatment was completed, I was very pleased to find that my body handled treatment very well with my vital signs and safety reports all giving favorable results post-diagnosis with the exception of a slight slurred speech and right hemiparesis.
I have continued to see Dr. Ghosh and Dr. K.S. Sekhar for follow up care management. My recovery and follow up did not change until May of 2011 when Dr. Ghosh suggested I undergo SRT radiation treatment along with one cap of Temodol prior to the initiation of my second round of radiation treatment.
A Recurrent Tumor
My care under Dr. S Mukerjee and Dr Akhter Jawade, identified that I had a recurrent tumor in my left parietal lobe. I felt positive about the 2nd round of radiation therapy and I felt like I handled treatment fairly well. I also received advanced skin care treatments and was continued on Temodol for 3 capsules per day repeated in the 3rd week of radiation treatment cycles for a total of 21 cycles.
It was after my recovery from my most recent round of radiation therapy that my family and close friends decided to join me in a consultation meeting with my doctor. They suggested that I should make arrangements to see a Homeopathic Provider and I agreed after thinking to myself: “why not?” It was at the phase in my journey that I agreed to consult with a Homeopathic Provider, Dr. Pratip Banerji ,who assured that I will experience much relief and can take alternative Homeopathic medicines which will not cause any further harm given my health conditions
I started my first course of Homeopathic treatment on November 2011 and I started noticing that I felt much better after taking the Homeopathic medication that Dr. Banerji prescribed. After a few months, it came time for another round of scans. My MRI scans with contrast were scheduled and completed on February 18th, 2012, May 25th, 2012 and August 18th, 2012 which were all compared and showed that my tumor burden was reduced allowing me to feel much.
The New Day-to-Day
My most recent MRI completed in August 2012 with contrast and Spectroscopy showed no major changes except for a slight shrinking in size. I am noticing that my speech has improved with no loss of hearing so far. I am, however, experiencing a bit of weakness, I do get 24 hour assistance with feeding and bathing, but can manage to go to washroom independently.
I felt very fortunate for the turnaround in my health and was extremely blessed to have the opportunity to present my case to Dr. Saibal Mukherjee, Director of Oncology Service & Head of Apollo Gleneagles Cancer Hospital of Apollo Hospital in Calcutta, at his request. He mentioned to me that he was attending a meeting to discuss difficult brain cancer cases and that I would be a glaring example of someone who suffered from GBM Grade IV and since being diagnosed in 2008 until now is doing very well. He also mentioned that the data presented at the meeting Dr. Mukherjee attended will be published online.
At this point in my life, I am only doing cancer surveillance and maintenance under the care of Dr Madhuchanda Kar, M.D., a Medical Oncology Consultant whom was recommended by Dr. Ghosh. My latest labs and scans were all done in January 2013 and were satisfactory. I am doing well and experiencing no obvious discomforts or pain.
I appreciate the opportunity to share my testimony with you. I hope that this will help brain tumor patients worldwide in providing hope and the will to fight moving forward.
If you would like to reach out to Tapas, feel free to do so in the comments or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.