“I have been a prisoner in my own bed for the past few months because the tumour in my stomach has spread to my liver, pancreas, and small intestine. My abdomen has bulged to the size of a melon and it hurts a lot. I can’t walk or eat any food that I like. It is almost like I am living dead.” - Ashmitha
Ashmitha was diagnosed with stomach cancer at the age of 13; her life has been hell ever sinceAshmitha was born healthy and had a normal childhood until the year she turned 13. Frequent and unbearable stomach pain became a daily affair; she had to miss classes in school. Many tests later, it was found that she had stomach cancer.
“It was a very, very difficult time for us. But we were relieved that we caught the cancer in its initial stages. A surgery was done immediately to remove the tumour. We thought she would be alright, but many years later (2015), it relapsed. We had just started living a normal life as a family; our old fear of losing our daughter had come back with full force” - Revathi, Ashmitha’s mother.
The unbearable pain in her abdomen wouldn’t let her have a normal pain-free day, let alone allow her to pursue a full-time college degreeAshmitha was given chemo and other medicines to control her tumour, but nothing would stop it. It just kept spreading and spreading, much to her agony. She couldn’t do normal things like read a book or even write properly because the pain wouldn’t just let go of her.
“I always wanted to be educated and have a college degree because I was a smart student at school. So I dealt with the excruciating pain and somehow managed to get a B.Com degree by correspondence. That degree is of no use now because the cancer has spread to my other vital organs. The doctor has said that I need to get a multi-organ transplant or I will not live for long.” - Ashmitha
Ashmitha during her better days
Now, Ashmitha’s tumour has disabled her to the extent that she cannot walk or even eat properly; her pain has also become uncontrollableFrom the last two months, things have been going very bad for this resilient 23-year-old. She has lost almost 10 kilos and looks like a skeleton. She is on TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition) where she gets nutrients through a feeding tube attached directly to her intestines.
“For 16 hours, my body is connected to that feeding tube- which means that I have to lie on the bed and do nothing. I watch TV but even that makes me irritable. I can only sleep at a 90 degree angle because of my swollen tummy. Sleep is rare- I say thank you to God on the days that I really sleep well. I feel like not only getting new organs, but a whole new body for myself because God knows how much I have suffered.” - Ashmitha
Revathi is helping Ashmitha through all the pain and discomfort
More than herself, Ashmitha wants to get well for her parents who have been standing strong by their only daughter through her agony
“I know that the multi-organ transplant that I need urgently costs a lot of money, but it is my only shot at survival. I have borne this pain for all these years, and I am holding on even though it has gotten much worse because I want to live with my parents. I have only seen them worried for most of my life. They have taken care of me so well - that is the reason I have survived. I want to be able to take care of them now.”- Ashmitha smiles.
How you can helpAshmitha and her mother are currently staying in a relative’s house in Chennai, away from their home in Hosur because her health needs to be regularly monitored. She needs 24x7 home health care which is also adding to the expenses. Anything can happen anytime as her organs are completely damaged. Only a multi-organ transplant can give her a chance to live. Her father works in a private company in Hosur, and comes every week to visit his daughter. Ashmitha’s mother does not know how the family will arrange the Rs 50 lakhs now for this surgery.
“Her father has been taking loans and struggling to pay them off since 2009, when Ashmitha first got diagnosed with cancer. Rs 50 lakhs is such a big amount. He is also trying to push his retirement to do something for his only daughter, but we don’t know if that will be enough.” - Revathi
Your kindness can help save this 22-year-old.