Temple of Healing



Standing Tall: Rizwan is all smiles during his follow up visit to the hospital for a check up.

Waiting at a hospital in Anantapur, Rizwan felt a bit jittery. He had been to several hospitals before and had received almost the same reply, but today he felt that he would get the final correct diagnosis about his right foot, which had been troubling him for quite some time. The doctor walked in and in a matter-of-fact tone told Rizwan, "As you know, there is a growth inside the right foot and we suspect it to be a tumour, and there is a possibility that it could be cancerous."

While the initial sentence was all too familiar to Rizwan, the addendum sent a shock through his body. "Could be Cancer?"


Rizwan's father had passed away when he was very young, his mother Begum Khamar Taj worked hard to take care of her three children, Rizwan and his elder sister and brother. With her sheer will she made sure that all her children became well educated and were able to stand on their own feet. Rizwan completed his schooling from Anantapur and later completed his graduation and postgraduation also from Anantapur and landed a job in the marketing department of a well known company. "Being in sales, I would have to stand almost the whole day, though it did not bother me much. My right foot would become a bit painful once in a while," he said. Wishing to stay near his home, Rizwan applied for a job with an automobile company near his hometown of Anantapur. "For the interview I wanted a new pair of shoes, I had dragged my old pair for too long. My shoe size is 10, and of course I took the same size. At home when I tried the shoe again, my right leg seemed a bit tighter fit than the left one," he said. "Still I went for the interview, and got the job, " he smiled.

For one month, there was some pain in my right foot then the pain eased, I thought that it was more about getting used to new shoes. But one day that perception changed. I noticed that the shape of my right foot had changed, " Rizwan said. Alarm bells started ringing. While visiting the city of Hyderabad he got the right foot checked by an othopaedician, but Rizwan had the least clue of what was coming his way. After an x-ray, the orthopaedician informed him that there was a tumour in the bone of his right foot and a surgery would be required to remove the tumour, which would be expensive." Rizwan was not impressed. Rizwan then visited a few other orthopedicians, but all had something similar to say. It was then that a friend told him to visit an orthopaedician in his own hometown of Anantapur, who was well known for his correct diagnosis.


"Could be cancerous?". The words of the orthopaedician kept coming back to Rizwan and his mind kept getting drawn to all the suffering his mother went through bringing them up and he could not imagine putting her through something similar all over again by breaking the sad news. "We have to hide some details from our loved ones, because they would suffer more than us," he said later.

"One of my uncles from Dharmavaram, had visited the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthigram, and he had mentioned that there was orthopaedic department at the hospital. Staying just around 100 kms from the hospital I knew about the Sri Sathya Sai Hospital, and also that high quality care was provided to everybody, but that it was completely free of charge was not known to me. But then it was not difficult for me to believe because it was Swami's hospital," Rizwan said.

So without delay, Rizwan reached the hospital. The orthopaedicians made Rizwan undergo a thorough check up. "Starting from a basic X-Ray to the MRI and blood tests, all were done for me and of course it was all done completely free of charge," Rizwan said. It was finally the moment of truth that Rizwan was waiting for. "Yes it was a tumour, locally destructive but not cancerous," the orthopaedician told him, and that was a huge relief. Further, the tumour could be operated and Rizwan would go back to his normal life. "I was ecstatic, I was on cloud nine" Rizwan said.

A 3D CT Scan image clearly shows the tumour on Rizwan's right foot.

The removed tumour from Rizwan's foot. A bone graft was done to made sure that Rizwan was able to use his foot. Now Rizwan is able to use the foot like a normal person.

According to Dr. Prakash Khanchandani, Head of Department of Orthopaedics, SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram, "the swelling on the foot reached a level that it was difficult for Rizwan to bear weight and walk thereby severely compromising his activities of daily living. After the tests it was found that Rizwan had a rapidly growing tumor of 1st metatarsal bone of right foot (below the great toe of his right foot) and that the tumor, even though non-cancerous, had almost destroyed the bone. It is pretty rare to see this kind of tumour on the metatarsal bone. In order to save his foot and to enable him to lead a normal life, it was decided that the whole bone had to be replaced with a different bone graft taken from the fibula bone (calf bone) of the same leg, with a wire fixation.

"With Swami’s immense grace, the recovery was extremely rapid and by the 4th month the patient was walking on the operated foot with support. The newly grafted bone had taken the place of the tumor, thereby enabling him to do all his activities normally. By the 6th month his mobility was absolutely normal and he was able to do all his activities - including running, " Dr Prakash said.

It was a complex surgery and had it been done elsewhere, the cost would have been upwards of Rs. 300,000 to Rs. 400,000 (around $5700), beyond a common man's reach. But in Swami's hospital it was done completely free of charge," he added.

" The kind of care I received in this hospital, I don't think anybody would receive even in large corporate hospitals even after paying a lot of money. The staff are so caring and always give their best. Other hospitals, even if they have the facilities, they will never be able to treat the patients with as much love as staff in SSSIHMS do. I really am very thankful to Swami for His kind help and wish that His blessings will be always on me," Rizwan said.