Holistic Practitioner Spotlight with Dr. Achyut Bhattarai, Medical Officer at BP Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital
We are speaking with Dr. Achyut Bhattarai, who specializes in Pediatric Oncology and how he addressed a patient with Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Tell Us a Story About a Patient with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and How Holistic Integrative Treatment Helped
Mr. Pariyar, a 13 year-old male student with poor economic background from the western region of Nepal presented with the following symptoms:
- Sudden onset of fever for weeks not responding to anti-pyretics and antibiotics
- Multiple joint pains
- Leukocytosis (an increase in the number of white blood cells) on CBC at local hospital.
On examination, he had pallor, splenomegaly (enlarged spleen) and hepatomegaly (enlarged liver). We performed several tests:
The diagnostic tools used for Mr. Pariyar are listed below:
1. Complete Blood count
2. Platelets, Alkaline Phosphatase, Lactate dehydrogenase
3. Renal Function Test
4. Liver Function Test
5. Bone Marrow Aspiration Cytology (looking at cells under the microscope)
6. USG (Ultrasound Sonography Test)
7. Blood culture
8. Urine R/E,M/E , Culture
9. Confirmatory Complete Flow-cytometry panel from bone marrow aspirates
The results indicated a diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).
What was getting in the way of a speedy and healthy recovery?
Acute Myeloid Leukemia is a rare disease with a poor prognosis. Given this cancer diagnosis and the fact that his family could not afford treatment, Mr. Pariyar’s mental state suffered as well. He was worried, afraid and felt totally hopeless.
For financial support of the family, donations came through so that Mr. Pariyar could pass through weekly procedures and daily chemotherapy. But he lacked communication and felt sorrowful. His emotional outlook was not supportive to his recovery.
We expected that the duration of his treatment to be three months. But due to secondary infection his treatment extended to six months. All during this time, we checked his prognosis, four to five times, by doing bone marrow aspirations. He responded to chemotherapy very well but it became clear that he needed a boost to his spirit.
How did the patient finally turn the corner on his physical health?
As Mr. Pariyar got introduced to similar patients in the ward, he slowly started to become more positive. These patients advised him and included him in indoor sports and communication. Regular group psychological counseling was also an important part of treatment where a positive outcome was continually reinforced. And learning to meditate was essential to ease his stress.
From the holistic perspective of body, mind, and spirit, it was the prescribed chemotherapy and psychological counselling combined with the friendships, physical activity, calming the mind, and financial relief that paved the way for him to regain physical and emotional strength.
Mr. Pariyar was under maintenance for three months. He was called for regular monthly follow-ups with complete blood profiles with better than satisfactory results. We were able to finally pronounce him to be cured from the disease.
Why and When Did You Choose the Holistic Path?
Medical treatment alone is not sufficient to heal the patient. I learned that disease can be fought not only by medication, but also by support, guidance, communication and positive energy. The holistic approach is really the best approach from all points of view where healing and stress-relieving along with cooperation and positive attitudes are the outcomes.
Dr. Achyut Bhattarai
Hospital: BPKMCH, Bharatpur
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