They first appeared as ulcers on his tongue and gums. It then appeared as blisters at the angle of his mouth. His father thought it could be a dental problem and took him to a local dentist who gave him a few rounds of ‘wash’. It didn’t get better. Months later the blisters spread to the rest of his body and formed ulcers that took a very long time to heal. It was then the family realised that something was really wrong. ‘We took him to a well-known hospital nearby and got him admitted,’ his father recollects.
However, the blisters only increased and he was forced to withdraw from the treatment prescribed there. The family was flummoxed. By now Sarvesh not only suffered from constant itching, ulcers that did not heal but also found it difficult to carry out day-to-day activities – he couldn’t eat properly, even a little bit of spice would be difficult to ingest. He found it hard to pass motions, and even an activity such as sitting was not possible because of the blisters. He remembers that he sat crooked. He had to forego a month and a half at school because of their search for a cure. ‘We thought he would die,’ his father says recollecting the helplessness that besieged the family. They even resorted to divine intervention at a temple in Mandya. He was given some native medicine and there was a temporary relief. But the blisters just wouldn’t go away.
He had been to many hospitals and was given steroids and various immunosuppressive medications. Meanwhile one of the father’s clients at a legal firm where he worked at recommended them to Cutis. They finally decided to visit in October 2016 and was seen by Dr Pavan. ‘Within a day the doctors were able to identify and diagnose my son’s condition,’ the father says. ‘We were thrilled to know the cause, finally!’ However, he expected the hospital to have him admitted but the doctors politely told him that it wasn’t necessary. On advice by Dr Chandrashekar, they were prescribed an infusion of biologics and dispensed with creams for the night. ‘That very night I saw the difference!’ says Sarvesh.
Over the next few months, Sarvesh got better and better. ‘I have great respect for the doctors here,’ the father adds, ‘if it wasn’t for them I am not sure what we would have done.’ Now, it is unlikely to even tell that Sarvesh had Pemphigus vulgaris, an autoimmune skin condition.
The use of Biologics has created a major breakthrough in treating such autoimmune conditions. Sarvesh is back to his former, cheerful self. He has just finished his 10th exams and plans to pursue a career in science. No more staying away from school or the sun, and certainly not from sports. He eagerly looks forward to his volleyball tournament in Srilanka this June.
Patient Story 2
If one were to meet Anvesha today, a young and savvy sales manager with a MNC in Bengaluru, it would be impossible to believe that she once avoided meeting people and stepping out in the sun. Now, she interacts with over a hundred customers every single day and affirms that ‘Presentation is very important of my work.’
Just 10 years ago, when Anvesha was 13, a tiny pimple that erupted on her face wasn’t as harmless as it seemed. It gradually spread all over her cheeks, nose and chin. ‘I was so down that I didn’t want to meet people at all,’ she says, ‘their attention invariably fell on the pimples on my face.’ The tomato-red pustules grew very painful and she sometimes found it hard even to smile. She became socially withdrawn and restrained from going to weddings. ‘The condition made me feel terrible both within me as well as outside,’ she recollects. Her father who had suffered the same condition took her to his doctor. But she didn’t find enough relief for her malady.
Finally, she came to consult with the doctors at Cutis on the suggestion of a friend. Dr.Chandrashekar diagnosed it as rosacea and reassured her that although it cannot be cured it can certainly be controlled with the right treatment. ‘His line of approach is really working out for me,’ she confesses. She was given oral medication to begin with and later put on laser therapy.
‘At the Cutis’center doctors has been a great support’, Anvesha adds. ‘I underwent gold toning every week and after two years there is no sign of redness, no sign of any pimple,’ she says gleefully. Indeed, there is nothing visible that suggests that she has rosacea. ‘This has restored my confidence,’ she adds, ‘I can finally concentrate on my career and enjoy an uncurbed social life.’
Patient Story 3
Manohar childhood memories are still very vivid and painful. During summer vacations, while his younger brother was sent off to grandmother’s village he wasn’t allowed to go. He couldn’t wear shorts like all the boys in his school and attend camps where they moneyed around trees. When guests came home he was asked to sit inside, lest ‘someone might come to know about it.’ Winters became hell for him as his distress multiplied many fold.
Manohar has been suffering from psoriasis since he was 12, a chronic condition due to an overactive immune system. His skin turns abnormally scaly, itchy and would bleed as well. ‘Imagine getting up every single day with cough, cold and headache,’ he says, ‘or imagines dry skin during winters that happens with everyone – just 100 times that is what I used to go through.’ To keep the condition from exacerbating Manohar had to cover himself in full-body suits which were quite bothersome in warmer months. Winters brought in its own woes – he has to literally slather himself with creams and lotions before he even stepped out of his home. ‘The whole process used to take at least 30-40 mins,’ he remembers. During his pre-university days, in 1998-99, it had gone particularly worse. His skin had cuts on his skin and bled due to excessive scaling.
He reached out to traditional healer in Krishnagiri who gave him a few tablets. His condition marginally improved but he started putting on weight rapidly. He then realised he had been unknowingly put on steroids. Manohar’s family in desperation has tried every possible treatment that was suggested to them. Manohar’s friend one day told them of Cutis, way back in 2005. ‘Dr. Chandrashekar’s approach to the problem was fantastic,’ he says, ‘I felt that he genuinely understood even the psychological trauma that I was undergoing.’
Manohar was given oral medication for a few years and he gradually started observing changes. Since the last 3 years he has been undergoing treatment with biologic drugs. ‘Initially I found it expensive,’ he says, ‘but Dr. Chandrashekar has been telling me that there is lot of innovation in this field and has been suggesting less expensive but equally effective options.’
How does he feel now? ‘It’s been ages to see my skin like this,’ he exclaims,‘the rashes are almost nil.’
Manohar has also realised that stress aggravates the situation. He has taken up to serious bicycling and he has taken part in the ‘Tour of Nilgiris’, a 7-day 960 km event. ‘This has been stress buster, something I never imagined I would be able to do with my condition,’ he says.
Patient Story 4
With 42 years of experience as a journalist, it is difficult to fathom the amount of knowledge 65-year-old Mr. Shashank. brings to the table. He holds a masters degree in Kannada literature, has edited a leading Kannada daily for 20 years, been a media advisor to a former chief minister of the state and currently edits a popular weekly in Kannada. Besides that, he is a widely-read columnist with Vijay Karnataka and appears on TV channels as a panelist.
‘It’s only after the explosion of television that I started getting invited for shows,’ Shashank says,‘especially in the last 7 years or so.’ He consults on regional and national politics and makes regular appearances on at least four Kannada news channels. ‘One day a few of my close friends commented that I look older in age to many of my co-panelists, although that wasn’t the case,’ he recollects, ‘and I thought it was indeed true.’ He started losing quite a bit of hair on the frontal side of his scalp; he was balding. ‘There is even a news hour dedicated to me,’ he points out, ‘and hence it was very important for me to look a certain age and not be dismissed as a garrulous, senile person.’
Mr. Shashank .landed up at Cutis by chance. He came to the hospital primarily for his wife’s skin condition and was impressed by how quickly it was remedied. And in the process, Dr Chandrashekar introduced him to the hair transplant facility headed by Dr.Madura and he was convinced to give it a shot. ‘All credit should go to Dr. Madura’s dedication, competence and commitment’, he says, ‘my experience with Cutis has been excellent!’
It’s now been a year since he got a hair transplant done at Cutis. He pulls out his phone to excitedly show us how much of a difference the surgery has made on him. In the video recordings of his recent TV appearances he looks remarkably different, and younger, from those prior to the surgery. He feels there is a renewed energy in him and that he can speak with increased confidence – ‘It has been a great morale booster.’
‘Now my friends keep calling me to ask how this drastic change has come about,’ he says with a grin, ‘I look at least 10 years younger, they tell me!’
In 2010, when Manjunath was happily settling into his one-year-old marriage, he noticed something on his face that wasn’t apparent before. The inner side of his lower lips had turned pale and beginning to look white. He ignored it for a while but when he observed tiny white patches on his upper lip too he was certain that things weren’t alright.
Manjunath was born and brought up in the town of Chintamani where his father was in the business of preparing and selling mixtures – a melange of savouries eaten as a snack. When he was a child of 4, his family decided to move to Bengaluru in search of better opportunities. Manjunath was always interested in athletics and has won medals in short and middle distance running, and participated at the district level too. After finishing his 12th he got into business with his father and later began his own, as a distributor of spice mixes.
Vitiligo has no specific etiology and although Manjunath knew it wasn’t contagious or debilitating, he was keen on finding an appropriate cure. He tried a variety of panacea, none of which was satisfactory to him. A few of his relatives even advised him to see a traditional healer but that didn’t yield any results either. Meanwhile, white patches started appearing on the tip of his fingers and toes, and elbows.
One day his brother-in-law suggested that he visit Cutis to seek a remedy. So in 2015 Manjunath visited the hospital when Dr. Chandrashekar first saw him, and later placed him under the care of Dr. Chaitra Shenoy.
‘More than the medicines that Dr. Chaithra Shenoy put me on,’ recollects Manjunath, ‘it was her reassurance that was most heart-warming. She had the patience to listen to me, explain my condition and address all my apprehensions.’ He says this has been the most effective treatment he has received, and he is responding well. ‘The doctors at Cutis are very competent and I shall continue to seek treatment here,’ says Manjunath.