At an age when most women are just finding their place in life, Justine Amoah-Larbi was fighting for hers. Two years ago, at age 58, Justine was having trouble sleeping and was reacting poorly to sleep-inducing medications. After a quick decision to come to India for treatment that goes successfully well, she recounts her journey and triumphs. We sat down with Justine to discuss her recent trip to India and how she has been coping since.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Justine Amoah-Larbi and I come from the city of Accra in Ghana. I have been suffering from a brain tumor for the last 2 years. I have arrived in India for advanced cyberknife treatment.
Tell us about your initial symptoms?
In early 2016, I began feeling tired and confused and I couldn’t complete my projects at work. It was embarrassing and I had to apologize to the other people on my team. I just didn’t know what was going on.
On a Monday afternoon in late February, my husband noticed excessive twitching and my mouth drooping on one side. Worried that I was having a stroke; he insisted to go to the nearby emergency room. Doctors there gave us the shocking news: I had a brain tumor.
How did you feel when you heard the news?
I think shocked would be an understatement. I have heard so many stories and people suffering from brain tumor, however, I would never imagine that this could happen to me. It took us a few days to digest this news. Thankfully, all along my husband was looking for a solution through this difficult time. I personally was incapable of thinking anything except for this big problem that was staring at us in the face.
What solutions did you find at this time?
One of my husband’s friend suggested to try India. We had heard that hospitals there had very advanced ways of treating tumors and also that it wouldn’t cost us so much money. Initially, we began looking online for more information. Our searches led us to Vaidam.com. So we left a message on their Facebook page.
How did that progress?
Well the very next day, we got a call from a healthcare consultant who collected some of our details. And very shortly called back again, but this time she had names of top 10 brain tumor treatment centers in India that she suggested would be good options for us. After looking through the options we decided to go with Artemis Hospital in Gurgaon. Our choice was simple, we wanted the best treatment; by that I mean the treatment that was the most advanced. Looking at the details of the hospital, there was no doubt in our minds that Artemis was the right choice for us.
So how did your treatment go?
It went very well. We arrived on May 13 at New Delhi Airport and were conveniently picked up by a Vaidam representative who accompanies us to our hotel in Gurgaon, Park Residency. We had an appointment with Dr. Aditya Gupta the next week, so we just wanted to get some rest before our meeting. Upon arrival at the hospital the following week, Dr. Gupta advised we get a thyroid test as my levels were considered very high - around 70. There was considerable swelling in my feet so I was under medication for a while to bring the thyroid levels down.
Over the course of 2 weeks, I had undergone 5 rounds of cyberknife treatment to remove the tumor. Two weeks after surgery I feel better already. I know it will take me a few more weeks to fully recover, however, I am feeling much better and look forward to getting back to work after a long break.
Would you recommend your friends and family to come to India?
Yes most certainly. After going through with the episode personally, I would recommend it. The hospitals are very well managed and organized plus my doctor is best brain tumor surgeon in India. We didn’t feel a lack of anything. I would perhaps only say that we did feel a little isolated at times. I think it is good to treat all patients equally, regardless of their background. As far as Vaidam is concerned, we were extremely pleased with the help that was provided to us. We didn’t have to worry about anything; you guys just took care of everything. This was especially true with making appointments and passing over our tests to the relevant people, which always happened like clockwork. So thank you for your support.