Spring 2009 Newsletter


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Spring 2009 Newsletter

  1. 1. Agrawal Association of America; Founded May, 1997 Agrawal Samachar Patrika A Quaterly Newsletter by the Agrawals and for the Agrawals Volume 12 • Issue 1 • Spring 2009 The Agarwal Kumb Mela: Spring Picnic 2009 By Pooja Agarwal Our annual spring picnic was held on participation by all our members in all the the 11th of April 2009 at First Colony activities. To top it all off the weather co- Conference Center where we witnessed operated very well and we did not see more than 250 Agrawals, enjoying a any rain as was forecasted. The picnic beautiful day full of fun, games and was rounded up with the award giving 0DKDUDMD $JUDVHQ activities. The picnic started promptly at ceremony where all the first and second 11am with mouth-watering chat along place winners were awarded trophies. Editor in Chief with fresh sugarcane juice catered by It has been exactly 12 years since AAA Bharat B. Aggarwal Udipi restaurant. A new inclusion this was formed. Thus it should be declared year was the kulfi which seemed to as “Agarwal Kumb Mela”. The Agarwal Board of Directors be enjoyed by all ages alike. There Party continues……… Anil & Mukta Aggarwal were several games organized which Bharat & Uma Aggarwal included the all star game, the ever Devi & Saroj Rungta popular balloon toss, three legged race, Durga & Sushila Agrawal water melon eating competition. It was Hari & Anjali Agrawal very delightful to see the overwhelming Murari & Vidya Agrawal Naresh & Madhu Mittal Tarsem & Raj Aggarwal Ved & Santosh Aggarwal Executive Committee Akash & Mala Gupta Dipak & Sweta Agarwalla Gopal & Pooja Agarwal Manish & Manju Rungta Manoj & Veenu Agarwal Rakesh & Shonali Agrawal Did you know? Important Dates to Remember By Bharat Aggarwal 1. Why do they hand-shake in the west? Response: In olden days when Agrawal Family Response: To show that we have no everybody had to sit on the floor, a weapons and we are here to be your single chair in the house was given Camp 2009 friend. only to the head of the house-hold and Camp Olympia thus was called “Chairman”. 2. Why do they say it will cost you “arm September 25th - 27th and a leg”? 4. Where did the word “big wig” come from? Response: In olden days when there were no cameras, they will paint your Response: In olden days, women will cover their head and men will Diwali Mela 2009 picture mainly the face. If you want your arms and legs to be included, it shave their head. For special function India House will cost you extra. important will wear the wig and thus November 7th were called “big wig”. 3. Where did the word “Chairman” come from? #
  2. 2. History You need to Know! We are all proud descendents of family to adopt trading as a profession minister in Punjab govt. decreed to Maharaja Agrasen. Maharaj Agrasen hence to be seen as Vaishya despite cancel all the debts owed to Agarwals was a Suryavanshi, Kshatriya king being a Kshatriya. Even when living in and seized all the assets of Agarwals. deeply venerated by his subjects. His isolation in his own city of Agroha, the Thus, ruining them and forcing a kingdom was an icon of prosperity enemies conspired and burnt the city of further migration. This was even worse and his state a model of benevolence. Agroha. That is when the immigration than our fate under Mughals who at He used to perform all Vedic rituals of Agarwals happened. Mahalakshmi, least recognized our talents. During including Havans and Yagnas, paying the goddess of positivity exemplified Mughal rule Lala Todarmal was made his gratitude and obeisance to the in her preference of reward for labor the supervisor of the royal mint at learned “Brahmins”. Offering animal (dhan) over laziness, for light over Agra. Raja Ranvir Singh was the royal sacrifice was integral to completion of darkness, cleanliness over filth and treasurer of Akbar who awarded him such Yagnas. Maharaja Agrasen was dedication over convenience, was with land in Western UP where Lala a keen learner and patron of wisdom happy with the conduct of Agarwals Ranvir erected the city of Saharanpur. expounding Rishis (Researchers). during their stay at Agroha, hence Lala Ratanchand was a diwan of He was open to new ideas and blessed them to never abandon them. Mughals in 1712 and was given title philosophies. As Aristotle has said, of a “Raja” but was executed by the Maha Laxmi blessed us in all “it is the mark of an educated mind new emperor in 1719. Lala Ramji Das the eight Avtars . Ashta Lakshmi to be able to entertain a thought Gurwala was a big donor to Bahadur (Sanskrit: Astalakshmī, lit. without accepting it”. Agrasen ji Shah Zafar in 1857 rebellion but was “eight Lakshmis”) are a group of was a paragon of an educated and executed by the British. Despite all eight secondary manifestations of enlightened mind. He was greatly the hardships, Agarwals have served the goddess Lakshmi, who preside influenced by the teachings of Sant the society and setup a large number over eight sources of wealth and thus Mahavir ji, hence over the time he of institutions and business. Late represent the powers of Shri-Lakshmi. ingratiated non –violence in his daily Lala Lajpat Rai, founder of Punjab They are: discourse, adopting vegetarianism , National Bank, the the Jains (Times abolishing corporal punishments and 1) Ādi Lakshmī [The of India), are testimony to the same. animal slaughter. He even saw the First manifestation of Lakshmi] Sir Gangaram, the founder of modern core of non-violence as sprouting from Lahore and the hospital named 2) Dhānya Lakshmī the non-violence in thoughts. This after him was even appreciated by [Granary wealth] philosophy was at cross purposes with the British. Present generation of the then prevalent practices of animal 3) Dhairya Lakshmī Agarwals continues to carry the sacrifice, slavery and consumption [Wealth of courage] legacy. Lakshmi Mittal (Arcelor-Mittal of animal products that could come 4) Gaja Lakshmī Steel), Subhash Goyal (Zee Group), only after killing the animal. This was [Elephants, symbols of wealth] Sunil Mittal (Airtel), Naresh Goyal (Jet seen as a potential threat by the then Airways), the Jindals (Steel Group), 5) Santāna Lakshmī wheelers and dealers and the think Anil Agarwal (Vedanta Group), Rakesh [Wealth of continuity, progeny] tanks. They saw an opportunity in it as Jhunjhunwala (Stock guru), Dhoots an instrument with which they could 6) Vijaya Lakshmī (Videocon group) and many others are strip Maharaja Agrasen off his kingdom [Wealth of victory] examples of the same. and riches. The Brahmins of the day 7) Vidyā Lakshmī enticed him to perform a “Maha Yagna” [Wealth of knowledge and education] Nayan Agarwal at completion of which they asked for animal sacrifice. Agrasen Maharaja 8) Dhana Lakshmī Class 11th did not agree to it, to which the rajguru Monetary wealth] DPS, RK Puram, New Delhi, India retorted by saying, “Purna Ahuti & (the final offering) or Raj (kingdom)”. Dr. Brij B Agarwal Maharaja Agrasen traveled all over Maharaja lost no time and offered MBBS, MS(Gold Medal), Dip Yoga India and married a “nag-kanya” and to lay down his kingdom. The gurus (Gold Medal), FIMSA had 18 children. The 1885 Bombay were not satisfied even with that and Presidency Gazetteer maintains Consultant Laparoscopic Surgeon, threatened Maharaja with “Dana-pani that he married 17 nag kanyas. With Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, band” ( ex communication from the the blessings of Ashta-Lakshmi, the India Hindu society), forcing him to move out Agarwals have prospered relentlessly and establish the city of “Agroha”. The Email-- endosurgeon@gmail.com but their persecution never ended. 1911 jain gurus offered to adopt Maharaja www.endosurgeon.org census of India put our population at but, he was convinced of non violence 2,718,390. Agarwals were tested again not being antagonistic to the ethos of in 1936 when one, Sir Chotu Ram, a Vedic philosophy. Maharaja drove his # Page 2 • Agrawal Samachar Patrika • Spring 2009
  3. 3. My Visit to Vaishno Devi: Jai Mata Di! By Bharat Aggarwal Our Shastra tell us we should take a Her husband. Shree Rama told Her that imprints, which remains intact till date. pilgrimage at least once a year. Last during this Incarnation He had vowed to Vaishno Devi then took shelter in a cave time, I went to Vaishno Devi was in be faithful to only Sita. However the Lord known as Garbh Joon near Adhkawari 1964 when I was a teenager with my assured Her that in Kaliyuga He would where she meditated for 9 months two older brothers and a sister, all manifest as Kalki and would marry Her. attaining spiritual wisdom and powers. unmarried at the time. I happen to be on In the meantime Shree Rama asked Her meditation was cut short when business in Thailand (The Royal Golden Trikuta to meditate in the cave found in Bhairav located her. Vaishno Devi was Jubilee Ph.D. Program, The Thailand the Trikuta Range of Manik Mountains, then compelled to take the form of Maha Research Fund, Jomtien Palm Beach situated in Northern India. Ma decided Kali when Bhairav tried to kill her. The Resort, Pattaya, Chonburi, Thailand) to observe the ‘Navratra’ for the Victory manifestation of the Mother Goddess and Kuala Lumper (Putrajaya); and of Shree Rama against Ravan. Hence took place at the mouth of the Holy cave decided to spend few days visiting my one reads the Ramayana during the at Darbar. The Goddess then beheaded family in Batala, a town 20 KM from the 9 days of Navratra, in remembrance Bhairav with such sheer force, that his Pakistan border. After 45 years, same of the above connection. Shree Rama skull fell at a place known as Bhairav two brothers and a sister offered to join promised that the whole world would Ghati, 2.5 km from the Holy Cave. The with me to visit Vaishno Devi, as April is sing Ma Vaishno Devi’s praise. Trikuta severed head of Bhairon fell at a distant the best time to be in Trikatu mountains, was to become famous as Vaishno Devi hilltop. In his dying moments, Bhairon an eternal home of Vaishno Devi. and would become immortal forever.[1] begged and received divine forgiveness Story of Vaishno Devi: from the goddess. Today, it is believed With the passage of time many more that the Yatra is not complete unless the Vaishno Devi Mandir is one of the holiest stories about the Mother Goddess Hindu temples dedicated to Shakti, pilgrim has been to Bhairon ka Mandir emerged. One such story is about (2.6 km from the main sanctum) as well, located in the hill of Vaishno Devi, Shree-Dhar. Jammu and Kashmir, India. In Hinduism, after the darshan of Shri Mata Vaishno Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani Shree-Dhar was an ardent devotee of Devi. and Vaishnavi, is a manifestation of the Ma Vaishno Devi. He resided in a village In his dying moments, Bhairav pleaded Mother Goddess. called Hansali, 2 km away from the for forgiveness. The Goddess knew that present Katra town. Once Ma appeared Bhairav’s main intention in attacking her The temple is near the town of Katra, in to him in the form of a young bewitching Udhampur district in the state of Jammu was to achieve salvation. She not only girl. The young girl asked the humble granted Bhairav liberation from the cycle and Kashmir,. It is one of the most Pandit to hold a ‘Bhandara’. (A feast to revered places of worship in Northern of reincarnation, but also granted him a feed the mendicants and devotees) The boon, whereby every devotee, in order India. The shrine is at an altitude of 5200 Pandit set out to invite people from the feet and a distance of approximately to ensure completion of the pilgrimage, village and near-by places. He also invited had to visit Bhairav Nath’s temple near 12 kilometres (7.45 miles) from Katra. ‘Bhairav Nath’ a selfish demon. Bhairav Million of pilgrims visit the temple every the Holy cave after the darshan of the Nath asked Shri-Dhar how he was Goddess. Meanwhile Vaishno Devi year and is the second most visited planning to fulfill the requirements. He religious shrine in India, after Tirumala assumed the shape of a rock with reminded him of the bad consequences three pindis (heads) and immersed Venkateswara Temple. The Shri Mata in case of failure. As Panditji was lost in Vaishno Devi Shrine Board maintains herself into meditation forever. worry, the Divine girl appeared and told the shrine. A rail link from Udhampur to Him not to be despondent as everything Meanwhile Pandit Shree-Dhar became Katra is being built to facilitate pilgrimage. had been arranged. She asked that over impatient. He started to march towards According to Hindu epic, Maa Vaishno 360 devotees be seated in the small hut. Trikuta Mountain on the same path Devi took birth in the South of India in True to Her word the Bhandara went that he had witnessed in a dream. He the home of Ratnakar Sagar, Her worldly smoothly with food and place to spare. ultimately reached the cave mouth. He parents had remained childless for a Bhairav Nath admitted that the girl had made a daily routine of worshiping the long time. Ratnakar had promised, the supernatural powers and decided to test ‘Pindis’ in several ways. His worship night before the birth of the Divine child, Her further. He followed the Divine girl pleased the Goddess. She appeared in that he would not come in the way of to Trikuta Hills. For 9 months Bhairav front of him and blessed him. Since that whatever his child desired. Ma Vaishno Nath was searching for the mystic girl in day, Shree-Dhar and his descendants Devi was called Trikuta as a child. Later the mountains, whom he believed was have been worshiping the Goddess She was called Vaishnavi because of an incarnation of the Mother Goddess. Mother Vaishno Devi.[2] Her taking birth from Lord Vishnu’s While running away from Bhairav, Devi My Journey: We took a Shatabdi lineage. When Trikuta was 9 years old, shot an arrow into the Earth from which Express from Delhi at 7:00 AM which She sought her father’s permission for water gushed out. The resultant river reached Amritsar at 1:00 PM and from doing penance on the seashore. Trikuta is known as Baanganga. It is believed there drove to Batala. After resting prayed to Lord Vishnu in the form of that by taking a bath in Baanganga overnight, we took a bus to Jammu which Rama. During Shree Rama’s search for (Baan: Arrow), a believer of the Mother took about 4 hours (180 kilometers). Sita, He reached the seashore along with Goddess can wash away all his sins. We reached Jammu around 2 PM, took His army. His eyes fell on this Divine Girl The banks of the river, known as Charan our lunch at Chole-Bathura restaurant, in deep meditation. Trikuta told Shree Paduka, are marked by Devi’s foot visited the famous Raghunath Ji temple Rama that She had accepted Him as Agrawal Samachar Patrika • Spring 2009 • Page 3
  4. 4. and then continued our journey to Katra behind this very obvious and visual flower was used sometimes. Nowadays which is about 45 kilometers away, cultural tradition from India. it is a different story all together. Firstly located at 2300 feet elevation and took bindi comes in every shape color and Bindi came from the Sanskrit word around 2 hours. We reached Katra at size, and it has all kinds of intricate “Bindu” which could mean a “dot “or around 6 PM, and checked into a hotel designs depending upon the occasion “a drop” or a “small particle”. I think Continental (Rs 2200/night). This hotel you want to put it for. And as you already the meaning “a dot” seems more was quite neat and clean and had a know, this is self adhesive bindi you can appropriate here. Let us check out what fairly good service. We rested that call it sticker bindi. Not many people bindi is called in different languages: evening, had our dinner and charged mess with various powder version of our battery. Next day we took our bath, Tikli in Marathi it, but the ones you can put on and off wore brand new unused clothes and got Pottu in Tamil and Malayalam quickly. After all, we are short of time ready at around 7 AM for our Journey to in the modern world. Fancier sticker see Vaishno Devi located on a mountain Tilak in Hindi bindi are decorated with sequins, glass at around 6000 feet elevation. We took a Chandlo in Guajrati beads, or rhinestones. It is obvious by helicopter from Katra (Pawan Helicopter; changing the tradition we have lost Bottu or Tilakam in Telegu Rs 2300 round trip) that took us about some of the benefits, because some of two hours to get on it (due to formality Bottu or Tilaka in Kannada the material used earlier were healing and long lines) but only 2 minutes to Teep in Bengali herbs like Turmeric or sandalwood. reach as close as possible to Vaishni Sometimes the term sindoor, kumkum Now the next question is why the bindi Devi (12 kilometers from Katra). From or kasturi are used by reference to the is adorned between the eyebrows. there, it was about 5 KM walk to the material used to make the mark. Men Well, nothing is our tradition is done door of Vaishno Devi and was provided also put it on the forehead and when without a reason. a special line for helicopter users. We then finally had a chance to pay tribute to worn by men it is called ‘Tilak’ (mark). The area between the eyebrows is Vaisno Devi represented by three pindis Men wear it on auspicious occasions the sixth chakra known as the ‘agna’ that includes Lakshmi-Kali-Sarswati. such as Puja (ritual worship), or meaning ‘command’ in the yogic marriage, or Arati (waving of lights) on tradition It is the seat of concealed From the temple, it was about 90 min festive occasions or while embarking wisdom. It is the centre point wherein walk back to the helicopter pad mostly on, or upon return from a voyage or a all experience is gathered in total uphill but was pleasant. We were now campaign. concentration. According to the tantric supposed to visit Bhairv temple which In addition to the bindi, in India, a tradition, when during meditation the is further uphill, a couple of kilometers vermilion mark (Sindoor) in the parting latent energy ‘kundalini’ rises from the away but our gas ran out to continue. of the hair just above the forehead is base of the spine towards the head, Thus we took a helicopter, came back worn by married women as a symbol this ‘agna’ is the probable outlet for to Katra at around 1 PM, had our lunch of their married status. During North this potent energy. The red ‘kumkum’ in the hotel, left at around 4 PM and Indian marriage ceremonies, the between the eyebrows is said to retain reached home in Batala at around 9 PM. groom applies sindoor on the parting in energy in the human body and control It was a great historical trip for all of us. the bride’s hair, declaring to the world the various levels of concentration. Wish all of you “Jai Mata Di”. she is under his protection from now It is also the central point of the base # onwards. of the creation itself, symbolizing auspiciousness and good fortune. It What is that Red dot? That brings us to the next point. What is is also suppose to protect against By Uma Aggarwal bindi made of traditionally, and how it is demons and bad luck. Scientifically, supposed to be applied? the pineal gland is also at the same If you have lived in USA for a while or Traditional bindi is red or maroon in spot. The pineal gland has an eye like are born here and of Indian decent, color. A pinch of vermilion powder structure and it functions as a light I am sure someone has asked you applied skillfully with practiced fingertip receptor. It appears to play major role that question some time in your life. make the perfect red dot or you can use in, metabolism sleep patterns etc. The May be because that red dot, which small circular discs or hollow pie coin pineal gland secretes melanin during is called “bindi” in India, is the most as aid. If you want to put it just like they times of relaxation and visualization visually fascinating of all forms of body used to in olden days, than first apply a and reacts to electromagnetic energy. decorations. I was asked that many sticky wax paste on the empty space in When activated, the pineal gland times also, and usually I would reply the disc than cover it with kumkum or becomes the line of communication like many of us would say “Oh! It is a vermilion and then remove the disc to with the higher planes. Putting a bindi is symbol of marriage in India, but now get a perfect round bindi. Mainly the like decorating the pineal gland in style, a days it is a fashion statement, and material used to put traditional bindi is besides stimulating it in the positive you don’t have to be married to put turmeric, even though turmeric is rich way. that anymore.” This is not an incorrect yellow color, but when it is mixed with statement, but there is lot more to that So next time someone asks you, “What lime it turns into beautiful deep red. is that red dot?” You can give them a red dot than meets the eye. I found out Other traditional material used were about it when I decided to dive deep good lesson on one of our ancient and ‘Sandal’, ‘aguru’, ‘kasturi’, and ‘sindoor’ meaningful traditions! into the subject. Let us explore what (made of zinc oxide and dye). Even are the hidden reasons, and meaning # Saffron ground together with ‘kusumba’ Page 4 • Agrawal Samachar Patrika • Spring 2009
  5. 5. INDIA HOUSE / O.P.JINDAL CENTRE ACTIVITIES UPDATE- JAN/FEB 2009 India House, located at 8888 West to an Indo American Community Well Woman’s Clinic will start in Bellfort, Houston, TX 77031 and phone Event in Houston. Gov. Perry lauded March and detailed check up will # 713-929-1900 is pleased to inform the the impressive contributions of Indo be available by experienced and public on various events and programs Americans to the state. India’s Consul seasoned Gynecologists from the held in Jan/Feb 2009. General Sanjiv Arora commended Medical Staff of Women’s Hospital of the efforts of India House officials Texas. Testing Services for infectious EVENTS: to offer various facilities to the diseases and sexually transmitted 1. VISHWA HINDI DIVAS was community. Harris County Judge diseases will be available on a celebrated on Jan 3 in recognition of Ed Emmett praised the efforts that limited basis shortly. Hindi’s emergence on world stage. India House and other organizations 2. YOGA CLASSES: Runs every All Indo-American organizations got have made to serve the community, Thursday and Saturday between 11- together and almost all participants especially during the aftermath of 12 noon. spoke with pride in Hindi. India’s Hurricane Ike. Consul General Sanjiv Arora was Meditation, relaxation, channeling the keynote speaker and visiting 5. AL GREEN FORUM was held on and stretching exercises are taught Indian parliament member Najma Feb 8. U.S Rep Al Green (D-9TH Dist by 3 renowned Yoga Instructors of Heptulla was the chief guest. of Texas) met with a group of Indo Houston. The program is currently Americans in preparation of his visit offered FREE. 2. COMMUNITY LUNCHEON was to India. The meeting was organized held to bring together agencies to 3. GITA CLASSES: Runs every by the Indo-American Political Action identify future community needs in Thursday for women between 12- Committee to appraise Green of the SouthWest Houston area. This 1pm. This is offered FREE. the concerns and hopes of Indian luncheon was hosted by Brays Oak Americans in light of the recent 4. BANGLA LANGUAGE CLASSES: Management District on Jan 30. terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. Runs every Sunday between 10- 3. MAHATMA GANDHI MEMORIAL 1pm. The program is FREE and 6. INTERFAITH EVENING OF PEACE day was held on Jan 31. The event currently has 25 students on a was held on Feb 13. This event was was organized by Mahatma Gandhi regular basis. hosted by Shirdi Sai Jalaram Temple Library in collaboration with India and had representatives from many 5. BOLLYWOOD DANCE CLASSES: CultureCentre, India House, Unity faiths under one roof. Jolanda Jones, Runs on Thursdays from 7-8pm and Peacemakers, Gujarati Sahitya City Council for At-Large Position Sundays from 10.30-1.30 pm. The Sarita and other organizations. 5 spoke of what human life can be classes are offered for various age Consul General of India was the through peace and education. The groups of Kids, juniors and Adults. chief guest and he said that Gandhi’s keynote speaker was Dr.Santosh teachings of Ahimsa or non-violence Tandon of Universal Brotherhood 6. CRICKET: Taped Ball Cricket is had influenced great people around from California. played every Sunday at India House the world. grounds. PROGRAMS AT INDIA HOUSE: 4. GOV. PERRY RECEPTION was PARTIES AND FUNCTIONS: 1. CHARITY MEDICAL CLINIC: India House banquet halls were the held on Feb 5. The event was hosted Open every Saturday from 9am- venue for various private parties and by India House and was the first 1pm for non-emergency care. A functions throughout Jan and Feb 2009. time a Texas Governor has come Living with Cancer: Eight Things You Need to Know Editor’s Note: This store is part of our how successfully one can manage The first things you should do (after feature “Living With Cancer: Lessons cancer as a chronic disease. taking a deep breath and trying to and Advice from Kris Carr” which The following resource guides offer tips chill): was originally printed in the Special on developing a strategy for managing * Find the best doctor for your disease: Report “New Answers for Cancer” from the illness, asking the right questions Be willing to travel and always get Scientific American. of physicians and getting the right second, third and even fourth opinions Rather than surrendering to despair professional and personal support. to make sure that you’re getting the and impersonal medical treatments, 1.You Have Cancer: Now What? best treatment. growing numbers of cancer patients Diagnosis: cancer. Your head is * Design a healing plan: Pull together are empowering themselves with spinning, and you feel like the wind a team of Western physicians as well information and control over their has been sucked out of you. In a split as integrative doctors (to teach you therapies. The trend is finding second, life as you knew it is gone. how to build up your immunity and acceptance in mainstream medicine “Getting diagnosed throws your entire spiritual grit) to create the best get- and helping people with cancer lead universe into a free fall,” Carr writes in healthy recipe. Ask family and friends healthier lives. her 2007 book Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips. to chip in and scour the Internet and The experiences of author and filmmaker “There’s no sugarcoating it: cancer is a bookshelves for information. “If you Kris Carr, who was diagnosed with a devastating blow, one that takes time want to heal, you have to take initiative, rare, incurable malignancy, illustrate to process.” have a voice and use it,” Carr says. Agrawal Samachar Patrika • Spring 2009 • Page 5
  6. 6. * Focus on lifestyle changes: “The * How often will I have to undergo Paperbacks, 1990), offer info and tools only thing that you can control is what treatment—and for how long? based on the science of mind-body- you eat, what you drink and how you * What are the potential side spirit medicine. move,” Carr says. She recommends effects? * www.cancercare.org: Need a exploring healthy diets, exercise and * What are the benefits versus the professional cancer assistant? Try the alternative therapies such as massage, risks of each treatment option? next best thing. This site is designed yoga and meditation to boost and * Are there alternative therapies? to help patients navigate their way maintain your physical and emotional What are they? through cancer—answering questions, well-being. * What are the expected results of finding help or just “listening” when * Create a support system: “Nobody treatment? they need to vent. understands you quite like another * Is the treatment painful? If so, is * http://nccam.nih.gov: The cancer survivor,” Carr says. “There is there a way to make it more bearable? National Center for Complementary incredible strength in that.” and Alternative Medicine of the * How long is the recovery? Will it * Live! “Don’t wait for permission to National Institutes of Health provides require a hospital stay? live. Just because you have cancer information here on alternative and * When can I resume my normal complementary therapies, discoveries does not mean that your life is over,’’ activity (if it’s been curtailed)? and clinical trials. Carr insists. “Start living. It’s that simple.” * Has my cancer spread? If so, how * http://hippocrateshealthinstitute. does this change treatment decisions? com: Site of the Hippocrates Health 2. Questions to Ask * Am I eligible for any clinical trials? Institute, a world-renowned healing Studies show that cancer (and other) patients who arm themselves with * What happens if my disease center in Florida. information typically fare better and progresses while I’m in a clinical trial? * www.mercola.com: An alternative experience fewer side effects than * Who foots the bills if I participate in medicine and education site. those who simply follow doctors’ a clinical trial? * www.heardsupport.org: This site orders, no questions asked. Being * Where can I find emotional, is specifically geared toward patients informed gives them some control psychological and spiritual support? with hemangioendothelioma, the rare over their disease—and that feeling * Whom should I call with questions cancer that Carr has. of empowerment plays a role in the or concerns after office hours? * www.livestrong.org: Site of seven- healing process. No. 1 rule: do not be * May I contact you or a nurse if time Tour de France winner and cancer cowed by your doctor. Ask him or her I have questions or more symptoms? survivor Lance Armstrong. to explain anything and everything you (If the * www.ulmanfund.org: Provides don’t understand. Prepare questions answer is “no,” find another support programs and resources in advance of appointments (to reduce doctor.) for patients and their families. Also stress and the odds of forgetting helpful: a downloadable book penned 3. Your Odds of Beating Cancer any)—and bring a notebook to jot by founders Doug and Diana Ulman. down answers and other important Success in the battle against cancer is often measured in terms of the “five- * www.thechinastudy.com: The China info. Below are some questions you Study, by T. Colin Campbell, probes the should ask: year relative survival rate.” That rate is the number of patients who are still relationship between diet and cancer * What causes this type of cancer? and other diseases. alive five years after being diagnosed, * What are the risk factors? If it’s relative to the number who would be * www.cancer.gov: This site of genetic, are other family members at expected to survive if they had not the National Cancer Institute is a risk? come down with the disease. Five comprehensive source of state-of- * What lifestyle changes (diet, years might not seem like a lot, but it the-art treatments and clinical trials exercise, rest) do you recommend? is, considering that 67 is the median (including a database of open trials). * What are my treatment options? age for diagnosis. * www.imtooyoungforthis.org: An * Are there activities that should be 4. Getting Support: Tips, Tools and invaluable source of support and avoided because they might trigger or Tenderness research for survivors in their 20s and exacerbate symptoms? You’ve just been diagnosed with 30s and their families. * What happens if new symptoms cancer. Now what? First and foremost, * www.cancersurvivorsunite.org: crop up or existing ones worsen? do not try to handle this on your own. Camps and support programs for * What medical tests or procedures Allow family and friends to help, and young adults with cancer. are necessary? How often? find others in your situation to lean on. * www.youngcancerspouses.org: * What stage is my cancer? What Online resources: A site designed to connect couples does that mean? * www.crazysexycancer.com: dealing with the ups and downs of * What is my overall prognosis or Carr’s Web site. Have questions? cancer. chance of recovery? Want to dish? You can visit her online * www.cancerconsultants.com: * What are the average survival and community, www.crazysexylife.com. Contains detailed, consumer-friendly cure rates? * http://berniesiegelmd.com and information on the latest treatment www.ecap-online.org: These sites developments. * Could my disease go into remission? of physician Bernie Siegel, author of * www.americancancersociety.com: Love, Medicine & Miracles and Peace, This American Cancer Society site * What is the recommended Love & Healing (both from Harper provides basic information, alternative treatment? Page 6 • Agrawal Samachar Patrika • Spring 2009
  7. 7. therapies, ways to manage the disease, http://cancerguide.org/disability.html and adoption. Despite what you’ve and support programs . www.thedisabilityexpert.com heard, it is possible to adopt if you’ve * www.oncolink.com: This University www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability had cancer. The key: pick an agency of Pennsylvania site offers key cancer and country that are open to working info and pointers. 7. How to Stay Healthy with cancer survivors. * www.cancerguide.org: A how-to on Patients undergoing treatment can For more, check out: researching your disease, searching shore up their physical (and emotional) * www.fertilehope.org: This site for clinical trials, and finding out about reserves by eating well, exercising provides unvarnished facts about fertility the latest traditional and alternative and cutting stress (which impairs risks associated with cancer treatment therapies. the immune system). The American as well as fertility-preservation and Institute for Cancer Research, which * www.cancer.net: American Society parenthood alternatives before, funds studies on the role of food and of Clinical Oncology site provides during and after treatment. It outlines exercise in cancer prevention and oncologist-approved information to the success rates, costs and time treatment, recommends a diet that’s at help patients make informed decisions requirements for a variety of fertility least two-thirds vegetables, fruit, whole about their health care. procedures and also addresses other grains and beans. Below is a roundup * www.gildasclub.org: Named for possibilities, including egg and sperm of research related to staying healthy: Saturday Night Live comedian Gilda donation, surrogacy and adoption. * A study of 22,000 healthy Greeks Radner, who died of ovarian cancer, * www.pregnantwithcancer.org: This showed their “Mediterranean diet,” this site provides a support network for Web site links newly pregnant cancer rich in vegetables, whole grains, olive patients and their families. patients with others with a similar oil, fruit and fish, reduced their risk * www.thewellnesscommunity.org: cancer who have already been there, of dying from cancer by at least 25 The Wellness Community provides done that. percent. Other studies have found support and education for cancer that nutrients in dark, leafy greens patients and caretakers—and hooks may inhibit the growth of tumor cells in Cancer Facts them up with others going through breast, skin, lung and stomach cancers • Bernardino Ramazzini (Italian the same thing. It provides info on and that green tea may thwart cancer Physician) noted in 1700 that breast local wellness communities and even development in colon, liver, breast cancer was more prevalent in nuns; offersa virtual wellness community in and prostate cells. (A leading theory: do you know why? Spanish. flavonoids in tea and carotenoids in • Almost 80% of total calories in 5. Medical Resources leafy greens, which act as antioxidants, developing countries come from Finding a doctor who specializes in may protect against cancer by rooting cereals and grains (complex cancer care and choosing a treatment out free radicals.) carbohydrates) but in developed facility are essential steps in any * A pair of 2006 studies showed that countries from fats derived from patient’s recovery program. One good regular exercise reduced by up to 61 meat and vegetable oil; and sugar. place to start is with the 63 cancer percent the odds of death in colorectal • Why Eskimos, who derive 60% of centers that the National Cancer cancer patients. The findings held even their calories from fat, have very Institute recognizes for “scientific in patients who did not start exercising low incidence of cancer (especially excellence and the capability to until after diagnosis. breast) and heart attack? integrate a diversity of research * A 2005 study showed that 92 • Did you know American spend $200 approaches” (http://cancercenters. percent of nearly 3,000 women with billions every year on cancer care? cancer.gov/cancer_centers). breast cancer who walked or did other • The median age for diagnosis of You can also check whether the exercise three to five hours weekly cancer in Americans is 67 and five- American College of Surgeons’ were still alive 10 years after their year survival for prostate cancer is Commission on Cancer (www.facs. diagnosis, compared with 86 percent 99%. # org/–cancerprogram) approves of a of those who exercised less than an given program. Some of the things hour a week. to look for in a cancer center include * A 30-year review of the scientific Thanks to our Sponsors a low mortality index, a high ratio of literature, published in 2004, suggested nurses to patients and opportunities to that cancer patients who feel helpless at the Holi Picnic 2009 participate in clinical trials. For more or who suppress negative emotions tips, see www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/ may be at greater risk of having their factsheet/Therapy/doctor-facility. cancer spread than those who play a role in their healing. Spicey World of USA 6. The 411 on Health Insurance Worried that your health insurance 8. Looking Ahead: Start a Family? for the Candies won’t cover your treatment? Wondering Does a cancer diagnosis spell the end if you’re entitled to disability benefits? of your dreams to have a family? In and These Web sites may help: a word—no. Note to readers: check www.healthinsuranceinfo.net www.patientadvocate.org your options before undertaking treatments that may cause infertility. Dr. Durga Agrawal www.patient.cancerconsultants.com In the event that you cannot become for the Trophies pregnant, there is always surrogacy Agrawal Samachar Patrika • Spring 2009 • Page 7
  8. 8. Agrawal Association of America 3920 Oberlin Houston, Texas 77005 United States of America Tel: 281-848-7474 Fax: 281-794-1613 E-mail: Info@agrawalamerica.com visit our website at www.agrawalamerica.com Do Cholesterol Drugs Do Any Good? Cover Story January 17, 2008, 10:00AM EST Research suggests that, except among of trials with statins and not liking what it are the ticket to an early grave and must high-risk heart patients, the benefits of found. Yes, Wright saw, the drugs can be be brought down. Statins, the message statins such as Lipitor are overstated by life-saving in patients who already have continues, are the most potent weapons John Carey suffered heart attacks, somewhat reducing in that struggle. The drugs are thought Martin Winn’s cholesterol level was the chances of a recurrence that could to be so essential that, according to the inching up. Cycling up hills, he felt chest lead to an early death. But Wright had a official government guidelines from the pain that might have been angina. So he surprise when he looked at the data for the National Cholesterol Education Program and his doctor decided he should be on majority of patients, like Winn, who don’t (NCEP), 40 million Americans should a cholesterol-lowering medication called have heart disease. He found no benefit be taking them. Some researchers have a statin. He was in good company. Such in people over the age of 65, no matter even suggested—half-jokingly—that the drugs are the best-selling medicines in how much their cholesterol declines, and medications should be put in the water history, used by more than 13 million no benefit in women of any age. He did supply, like fluoride for teeth. Statins are Americans and an additional 12 million see a small reduction in the number of sold by Merck (Mevacor and Zocor), patients around the world, producing heart attacks for middle-aged men taking AstraZeneca (Crestor), and Bristol- $27.8 billion in sales in 2006. Half of that statins in clinical trials. But even for these Myers Squibb (Pravachol) in addition to went to Pfizer for its leading statin, Lipitor. men, there was no overall reduction Pfizer. And it’s almost impossible to avoid Statins certainly performed as they should in total deaths or illnesses requiring reminders from the industry that the drugs for Winn, dropping his cholesterol level hospitalization—despite big reductions in are vital. A current TV and newspaper by 20%. “I assumed I’d get a longer life,” “bad” cholesterol. “Most people are taking campaign by Pfizer, for instance, stars says the retired machinist in Vancouver, something with no chance of benefit and artificial heart inventor and Lipitor user Dr. B.C., now 71. But here the story takes a a risk of harm,” says Wright. Based on the Robert Jarvik. The printed ad proclaims twist. Winn’s doctor, James M. Wright, is evidence, and the fact that Winn didn’t that “Lipitor reduces the risk of heart no ordinary family physician. A professor actually have angina, Wright changed his attack by 36%...in patients with multiple at the University of British Columbia, he mind about treating him with statins—and risk factors for heart disease.” is also director of the government-funded Winn, too, was persuaded. “Because So how can anyone question the benefits Therapeutics Initiative, whose purpose is there’s no apparent benefit,” he says, “I of such a drug? to pore over the data on particular drugs don’t take them anymore.” Wait a minute. http://www.businessweek. and figure out how well they work. Just as Americans are bombarded with the com/magazine/content/08_ Winn started on his treatment, Wright’s message from doctors, companies, and the 04/b4068052092994.htm team was analyzing evidence from years media that high levels of bad cholesterol “...Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah ...” (Protect your Dharma and It will protect you)