Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 30th 2013 Contents B1
RHONDA KRYSTAL RAMBALLY
It was her husband s death that
showed Pearl Seeramsingh her pur-
pose in life.
She started the Pramoud Seeram-
singh Cancer Support Group in
memory of him after his death in
Pramoud died from a rare form
of cancer called gastrointestinal stro-
mal tumour (Gist), which affects the
digestive tract or nearby structures
within the abdomen.
The police constable was 44; Pearl
was 39 at the time.
They had been married for 21 years
and had two children---Rajini, now
24, and Roshan, 21.
Seeramsingh said, "It isn t nice to
lie on your bed at night and your
husband thinks you re sleeping and
he is talking to God and asking why
me, why I must leave my wife and
children...you know what is that to
But she said she was fortunate to
have the help from the T&T Police
Service (his employers), friends, fam-
ily, councillors, the Fyzabad MP and
the public to fight the difficult
Seeramsingh spoke with the Sun-
day Guardian last week at the
Unemployment Relief Programme
office in Fyzabad where she is the
She said, "Whoever out there
needs my support and my help when
it comes to cancer, I am willing to
do whatever it takes to support them
and be there for them because I can
tell you it is not a nice thing."
The group s short-term goal is to
raise enough funds to buy a bus and
donate it to the oncology centre
which is to be built in Penal.
The discovery of Gist
In 2005, Pramoud began com-
plaining of severe back pains. They
were unbearable. Pearl felt something
was wrong and said she kept nagging
him to visit a doctor.
He did visit a doctor who sug-
gested he visit the San Fernando
General Hospital. But before going
to the hospital, Pramoud went to
work at the E999 Unit, Marabella
Police Station, and fell seriously ill.
Officers took him to the hospital
where an emergency surgery was
expected to be done on his appen-
But his appendix was fine. How-
ever, doctors found a large tumour
in his small intestine. It was removed
and sent for testing. The results were
positive for cancer.
On March 18, 2005, he was diag-
nosed with Gist.
Pramoud was discharged a few
days later and started medications
for a six-month period. No
chemotherapy was recommended,
However, she said after six
months, the cancer reoccurred and
became very aggressive.
"As soon as the medication fin-
ished he started feeling pain again.
"I noticed his tummy getting big-
ger and bigger and I realised some-
thing was wrong and decided to find
an oncologist myself," she said.
Pramoud s tummy was the size
of a woman pregnant for four
Having found an oncologist, she
said several tests were done and then
the blow hit them.
Pramoud had four growing
tumours, no longer in the intestines
but in the stomach. They measured
between 3 cm to 12 cm.
She held back her tears. "Going
home is where he broke down and
that s when I told myself that if I
break down then who will take care
of him, and that was when I decided
I had to forget how I felt because he
was the person actually going
through it now and let me do what-
ever I can to help him."
Pramoud began chemo privately
and used a series of medications.
Pramoud's last days
For almost 18 months Pramoud
took chemo. Death was not on Seer-
amsingh s mind.
She decided that she wanted to
help other cancer patients. She had
an idea to form an organisation.
In mid-2007 Pramoud began a
new medication which improved his
overall health but it was costly and
there were a lot of problems obtain-
Pearl tried desperately to get more
of the medication but the call to col-
lect them came too late.
She said, "His tummy went down,
no tumour anymore. He became
vibrant and was better than he was
before. His hair grew back really
nice, his complexion changed and
he gained weight."
She said Pramoud had all hope
that he would survive for a long time.
But the bad news was that he died
on September 28, 2007. The phone
call for the approval of three bottles
of medication came the day before.
"Waiting for the medication led
to his deterioration, and he then had
"He became weaker," she said.
Group formed two months
after Pramoud's death
On November 23, 2007, the group
"I have a special passion for this
group. It keeps me going because
on a daily basis I say his name.
"This is in memory of him and
to give me the strength to go on
knowing that because of him I can
help another human being out there,"
She said the main aim was to sup-
port cancer patients and their fam-
She uses her home in St John s
Trace, Avocat, to provide counselling
and hold sessions and lectures.
"I want to help as many patients
as I can. I know transportation can
be very difficult and right now we
are raising funds to purchase a bus
to donate it to the oncology centre
in Penal when it is opened," she said.
The group also distributes ham-
pers to needy families, provides
counselling for patients and their
families and hosts lectures to raise
Her advice was, "Get screened,
eat healthy, control alcohol intake
and no smoking."
For more info, contact Pramoud Seer-
amsingh Cancer Group at 734-7777
supports cancer patients
and their families
Pearl Seeramsingh is
dedicated to helping cancer
patients and their families.
PHOTO: RHONDA RAMBALLY
---Pages B7, B28
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