For 45 yr old Sophie Julia, a dermatologist , the last few months have been a journey of pain, determination and finally relief. A native of Congo, a doctor and a mother of a 10 year old daughter, Sophie lead a normal life and exhibited no lifestyle issues or symptoms of any disease. However in January 2016, she suddenly started to experience fever, fatigue and nausea. She felt exceptional pain during urination and while passing stools. “Initially I thought it might be because I am not eating a fibre rich diet, however when the symptoms persisted for more than 7 days, I decided to consult a physician on immediate basis,” shares Sophie.
Being a doctor, she could understand that her body was showing signs of some major disorder or disease. Her reports made her fears come true. She was diagnosed with rectal tumor and was advised to opt for treatment from India.
“Being detected with Cancer is a life changing experience. It is like knowing that your days are numbered and anything can happen. Though I was scared, however the fighter in me took over. I decided to face my fears and battle by way out with cancer, “ shares Sophie.
With her husband she came to India and was just recommended the use of a colostomy bag to remove the waste from the body. This was given to her due to the blockage in the rectal region. However the same just looked like a make shift arrangement and not a cure.
“I became depressed and sad. I am a doctor and the constant attachment of a bag to collect and dispose my body waste made me feel uncomfortable. When I shared my apprehensions with my husband, we decided to take a second opinion. My doctor suggested Dr Vinay Samuel, Surgical Onco Surgeon at Paras Hospitals Gurgaon, “shares Sophie. According to Dr Vinay, “The digestive system includes various organs that coordinate with themselves to digest the food. The waste that is left after the absorption of the food moves to your colon, where some water is reabsorbed (taken back) into your body. The remaining waste enters the last portion of the colon, known as the rectum. Your rectum serves as a holding area for these waste products until they are eliminated through your anus. In Sophie’s condition, the tumor was located in the rectum causing the blockage in the area. This was not allowing the waste to be disposed. Accumulation of the waste in the body is also toxic and can create a number of complications. We decided to examine Sophie, run few tests and then decide on the treatment plan,” The rectal tumor was found to be 2 cm from the anal verge and she was planned for surgery after neoadjuvant treatment.
Other Surgeons had suggested to form a permanent bag for stool passage on the abdomen. Dr Vinay decided that the passAGE could be saved. She was recommended for InterSphincteric Resection since the tumor was very low.
“ISR is a surgery that is done to treat cancer of the rectum. The part of the rectum containing the cancer is removed. The remaining part of the rectum is reconnected to the colon so that the patient is able to move their bowels in the usual way.ISR surgery can be done using different techniques. On Sophie we used the latest ISR Technology. We made several small incisions on the belly and performed the surgery minimally invasively. Small surgical instruments and a video camera were inserted into the incisions to remove the part of the rectum containing the cancer. Once the part of the rectum containing the cancer was removed, the remaining part of the rectum is reconnected to your colon with special sutures (stitches). The place where the 2 ends are reconnected is called an anastomosis, “ shares Dr Vinay.
The minimally invasive surgery of ISR ensured a scarless surgery and provided early discharge, faster recovery, low blood loss and lesser chances of infection. Sophie was ready to be discharged on the 5th day post surgery.
Sophie shares, “ Today I can lead a normal life again. I thank my family’s support in ensuring that I become free from cancer and I am personally indebted to Dr Vinay for providing the support, guidance and compassionate care. He has definitely been the guiding light for me that pulled me out of cancer. May God bless him!”