Ovarian cancer is often dubbed as "silent killer" because it can stealthily grow for months without the patient ever knowing about anything wrong. For 45-year-old Helene Matassa, this journey was just about to get started. “My journey with uterine cancer started last year, September 2017, at 45 years old,” says Helene. At about the same time, Helene began seeing considerable biological changes, “I noticed the changes in my menstrual cycle probably 1 year ago or so. The symptoms were prolonged, with heavy bleeding for 3 weeks. I only had 1 week off to rest and my menstruation or bleeding started again.”
Needless to say, these symptoms were taking their toll on Helene’s daily activities, “I felt tired all the time, it was like there was a big weight on my shoulders.” At around April of the same year, Helene had her annual check-up, “I had my annual check-up, and I mentioned to my doctor that I have unusual bleeding. She recommended that I get a “transvaginal ultrasound.” Unfortunately, the ultrasound was only done in October of the same year. During this time, the bleeding worsened, and Helene started getting sicker and even throwing up after eating. “These symptoms worried me into getting the ultrasound done very quickly”.
A day later Helene received a call from her radiologist advising her to see a gynecologist ASAP. “My doctor told me that the ultrasound did not look good and that I should go in for a further biopsy test. Upon receiving the test results, I was told that I had stage 2 Uterine Cancer. My doctor recommended I see an Oncologist urgently.”
At this point, Helene reached out to Vaidam Health. “I know a number of people who have traveled to India for healthcare reasons and only speak well about the country,” says Helene. Helene was contacted by her case manager who explained the procedural details about treatment options. “My case manager made me feel very comfortable. After I spoke to her, I was reassured about my decision to travel to India” recounts Helene. After looking at the list of 11 best cancer hospitals in India, Helene decided to go ahead with Artemis Hospital in Gurgaon. Having decided to travel to India as early as possible, Helene’s case manager decided to expedite her Visa processing and made the necessary appointments with her doctor.
Helene arrived in New Delhi on February 16th. Accompanied by her daughter Kamgaaing TimkaMatssa, the two made their way to Artemis Hospital on the day of their appointment. “I met one of the best oncology specialists & cancer doctors in India and he explained everything I needed to know. The doctor requested a CT scan (to check if cancer had not metastasized). After 2 hours, I received a call from my oncologist, and he told me the good news; the result was negative, and I could proceed with the therapy.”
During the next few months, Helene underwent multiple rounds of Radiotherapy. To ease the pain, the doctors prescribed pain medication. “It was the most painful experience I’ve ever had. My whole body was in pain— the joints were aching. It lasted for 2 days,” recounts Helene. Over the course of five months, Helene received Radiotherapy every 3 weeks. “My blood platelets started to go down on my 3rd treatment. My 4th treatment was delayed for a week or so as well as my 5th and 6th.”
Helene’s last treatment ended in May 2018. “I recovered well from my chemotherapy treatment. I never limited my diet. I ate everything because I wanted to give my body enough strength to go through the treatment.”
3 weeks after the last treatment, Helene was back to my normal life with minimal side effects. “My joints were weak and I had occasional diarrhea, but my CT Scan and CA125 (blood test) came out clean. Glory to God!” 5 months after landing in India, Helene made her way back to Cameroon on the 20th of June. “We are so happy to be going back to our home country after 5 months in India”. Now back in Cameroon, Helene sends her love and gratitude for the help she received in India.
Vaidam would like to wish Helene a quick recovery and a wholesome future ahead.