A new lease of Life

Kewal Oberoi – Mumbai, October 2006

I was a 50 year old healthy and normal working man. One day, in 2002, I suddenly started getting severe, continuous and uncontrolled episodes of vomiting. Initially, I did not bother too much about it and attributed it to acidity. I tried home remedies like having cold milk. I also took some medicines but with no effect. I then consulted my family physician, who again gave me some medication but with very little effect. However, I continued to take the medicines. Things continued like this for 2-3 months and I used to vomit for 2-3 days every month. It was then that my sister-in-law (my wife's sister) who works in Nair Hospital suggested that I take this ailment seriously and advised me to make a visit to the hospital. By that time, I had lost 06 kgs of weight and my complexion had become dark.

On 11th February, 2003, I got admitted to Nair Hospital and was kept there for five days while I underwent a battery of tests which were done to ascertain the cause of the vomiting. 17th February, 2003 was the ominous day when the test report arrived and I was diagnosed as having Chronic Myeloid Leukemia or Blood cancer. At that time, my daughter who was in class X and my wife were the only ones who were told about the diagnosis and the world came crashing down for both of them. Both were inconsolable. All treatment options were discussed with them by the doctors and I was informed about the diagnosis only later. At that time, I was too shocked to react.

The doctors in Nair Hospital were very encouraging and kept telling me not to lose heart and be brave. They advised me to undergo a bone marrow test which revealed that I was 'Philadelphia chromosome Positive".

In June, 2003 I lost my job. It was due to my prolonged absence from work. One by one all our relatives deserted us in our time of need. We were living in constant fear of death. I underwent treatment at Nair Hospital for two years. I was taking Hydroxyurea 500mg thrice a day. In spite of taking the medicines regularly, the vomiting still persisted.

In March-2004, I was admitted to Chaitanya Nursing Home under the care of Dr. Pravin Bhujbal. He told me not to worry and said that he would refer me to a doctor and that I would be absolutely fine after I met this new doctor. He then referred me to Dr. MB Agarwal. He gave me Dr. Agarwal's address and number and asked me to see him. I was disappointed and disheartened after these two years of treatment where I had exhausted my finances and was physically and mentally drained too.

In May-2005, I found a ray of hope. After we had managed to save and collect some money, I took an appointment with Dr. Agarwal and went and consulted him. He studied all my reports and examined me in detail. He then told me that there was no reason to despair. He said that he would help me ensure that the disease remains under control. He also assured me that I would be absolutely alright one day and would be able to lead a healthy and normal life.

Dr. (Mrs.).Agarwal then referred me to The Max Foundation. She spoke very nicely to me and gave me all the details about GIPAP and The Max Foundation and asked me to go and meet Mrs. Viji Venkatesh. My wife visited the office of The Max Foundation and everyone there met with us and spoke to us very nicely. They gave us lot of hope and courage and provided us with information about the patient assistance program of Novartis .I was enrolled on to GIPAP and started my treatment with Glivec.

It is now more than a year since I have benefited from GIPAP and have been taking Glivec since then. I am very happy and am able to lead an absolutely normal life. I will remain ever thankful and indebted to Dr. Bhujbal, Dr, Aggarwal and to The Max Foundation and Novartis for giving me this new lease of life.