18 July 2011

What would you do with a billion dollars?

"What would you do if you found a treasure worth billions of dollars?" "What is the first thing you would buy if someone suddenly came and gave you a hundred billion dollars?" Do you and your friends ever ask each other those questions?

Me and my friends do that a lot. We'd sit and dream of a millionaire, billionaire, zillionaire life - starting with how we'd get the money - lottery, anonymous donor, long lost filthy rich relative type person, saving a filthy rich type person's life who would then bestow us with some parts of his fortune in gratitude (or in its entirety after he's dead because this is an old man and he doesn't want to give it to his kids because they're all either dead or dead rotten and doesn't love this dear old old man). I usually see myself saving this man from a gang of thugs trying to rob him.

I don't know how this last part will work in reality though. First of all, I don't know any filthy rich type person who routinely puts himself in jeopardy so I might get the chance to save his life. And even if I do meet an old man that meets both criteria, just between you and me, I am doubtful about my ability to ward off his attackers :/

Anyway, what was I saying...oh yeah..me and friends and our dreams of becoming rich. Despite the endless dreaming, none of us would ever be able to clearly come up with anything they want to do with the money besides some talk of designer shoes and walk-in closets. I guess it's just too overwhelming even hypothetically for us to contemplate. Orpi always says she'll just go buy an ice-cream and think about what she wants to do with the change over a big sundae.

After cancer though, I know now exactly what I would want to do with the money (other than taking my entire family for a round the world trip).

I will buy a PET-CT scan machine. Personally a machine I loathe and hate and whose very sight feels me with dread and dismay and even some amount of terror, but despite all its unpleasantness, something that the state with the highest cancer rate in the country shouldn't be without.

And also something I'm lucky enough to have easy access to because I don't live in Mizoram, but back there, it's all very different.

And I want it for Mizoram because we need it. Not to scare anyone, but I think we Mizos have something defective in our genes that makes us more susceptible to cancer. I know lifestyle, diet etc and all that come into play too but I really believe we do have some weak genes. I guess you can't just get only awesomeness genes :)

After I found out about my melanoma and thyroid cancer, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer less than a month later, and since then, I can count on several fingers the amount of people who have been diagnosed (and even died, some in the space of a couple of months from detection).

One of these newly diagnosed is an 8 year old kid I met once in a village a year or two back, playing outside his threadbare house. (Just imagine the coincidence - two 'healthy at the time' strangers just talking while inside both our bodies, nasty cancer cells were already probably plotting their evil plans for us! And both getting diagnosed within a few months to each other).

I met him only once but we had a common interest in dogs so we chatted for a bit about his new puppy. I want that puppy to grow up together with his master and live a long healthy life together. I want this 12 year old girl I heard about who lost a leg because of bone cancer to grow up to be a healthy woman and wear pretty heels on both feet.

I especially want mothers, like my own mom, to live and beat cancer. Because without them, their children's lives would not make sense. Because if mothers die, their children die with them in a way. In that one life gone, several perish along with it.

And for these to happen, we need early detection. In Mizoram, a lot of cancer cases are detected too late. Maybe that girl could have avoided having to have her legs amputated if they'd found out about it sooner. The 8 year old will have a better chance of living that life with his dog if his cancer is at an early stage. I believe there were many people that would still be alive today if their cancers had been detected earlier. So early diagnosis and treatment is one of the main things we need to focus on. And that's where the Frankenstein machine will help.

There will be lots of work to do but just having this machine will be a big step for us I think. A lot of poor people who can't afford to travel for much-needed tests will be able to easily get them at home. It will help our doctors do a better job. But mostly I want it for the poor people. Like the little boy. Dealing with cancer is terrible enough, to have to deal with the staggering costs involved sucks in a major way.

Apparently the PET-CT machine costs around 2.6 to 4 million USD. Which means I would have plenty of money left. I will build a cancer hospital, hire the best oncologists in the country, equip it with fancy labs, and then work out how in the world we'll be able to make it all work for poor people and keep it running :)

It costs around Rs 25000 - Rs 30000 per scan where I get mine done (Apollo). It's pretty expensive but luckily for me, this is one thing my insurance company pays for without any hassle. But it doesn't matter in any case because for the duration of this post, I am the opposite of poor. I am a multi-billionaire :)

Now how do we get this machine, and make it available for everyone and not have to charge that kind of amount for whoever can't afford it?


caribou said...

CT Scan, MRI leh PET zingah hian, Mizoram hian CT Scan chauh hi emaw ni le kan neih le? PET Scan man chu a to tiar tiar hle mai maw? Mi nazawng tan chuan a chova cho chi pawh a lo ni lo anih hi.

Cancer tak hi chu aw, a va huatthlalaawm tak em. Early detection anih chuan tihdam theih a ni, mahse tumahin inrinhlelhna kan nei ngai lo va, chuvangin early diagnosis hi Mizo te zingah hian thil tlem tak a ni. Kan hriatchhuah meuh chuan Metastatic stage a lo ni der tawh thin avangin tihdam rual a ni tawh thin lo.

Billion dollar han nei mai ila aw.... ka hmang tangkai mai mai ang chu.

diary said...

Your perspective must have changed a lot post cancer! I think having a PET scan would be great for Mizoram. As you say the Mizoram's cancer incidence is sky high. India as a whole has 60 cancer cases per one lakh population, compare with around 347 per one lakh for Mizoram!

There was this lady who was recently operated for a benign lump (lymphangioma) of the neck. One of the areas seemed suspicious for papillary Ca Thyroid to me, much to my colleagues' disbelief. I talked to her surgeons and they removed her seemingly normal thyroid, and she does have papillary ca. She had done an MRI, but it didn't pick up the thyroid lesion I guess :P

ku2 said...

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Anonymous said...


TS Khupchong said...

A mihring azirin kan duh zawng a dang ngawt ang. Kei chu ka lei hmasak ber tur ka hrechiang khawp mai. He2. Khiti zat pawisa nei la chuan cancer veite tan chanchintha zu ni hawt a! lei hmasak ber tur ka hrechiang khawp mai. He2. Khiti zat pawi

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Jerusha said...

Carib - A to khawp mai PET scan hi. Nimin chu Nat Geo a extraordinary dogs programme kha ka en a, ui thenkhat cancer detection atan a an hman tangkai dan. Ka lo ngaihtuah zawm a, ui lamah tal hian tan han la ve ila PET scan machine ai chuan hope kan nei zawk in ka hria a. Mahse Mizo in ui generally a kan treat dan, kan streets ah pawh uisa dawr la in hawn tuar na hmun ah hian chance kan nei in ka hre leh ta lo va. Huis1 Buaithlak ani e.

Diary - haha sometimes you know you get those temporary moments of near-goodness where you genuinely want to do good? I must have written this in one of those moments. If I really had the money, Jimmy Choo would call louder than a PET CT scan machine I fear LOL

Love your story about the lady with the thyroid ca. Shared it with my mum and she loved it too. I think you start to want it more ardently after you've been through it yourself for even total strangers to detect their cancers and get treated earlier.

Jerusha said...

Ku - thank ye!

TS - keipawh ka ziah lai hi chuan ka feel strongly hle na in, a tak te chuan nei ila ka buai nasa ang ka ring haha


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