Bowled Over by Cancer

Shajahan – Calicut, October 2007

It was a day of desperation, sorrow, great pain and frustration. I fell down into the world where darkness rules when I came to know that I am a Leukemia patient. I was in a hopeless situation. Only aimless days lay ahead. A game of cricket

We take great pleasure in playing cricket and enjoying good meals on our holidays. The days pass effortlessly. But one such holiday, January 26th, 2002, became a black Saturday for me. While I was playing cricket with my friends, I felt a severe back pain. First I did not really care, ignored it and carried on playing. But as the match progressed, my pain progressed too. I never thought it was something serious that would end up making a crucial difference to my life. The pain increased and I had to consult an Ortho Surgeon. He did not find anything wrong with me. But within a couple of days the pain started building up and I could no longer bear it. So I got myself admitted to a nearby local hospital where the doctors advised me to take a routine blood test. Till the moment when the test result came, I had no suspicion at all. But as fate would have it, I was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia having a WBC count of around 2, 70,000. I was distraught and shocked and did not know what to do. At moments like this every human being has the tendency to break down; one's courage level, will power, endurance, all come to a standstill. I forced myself not to think of the problem and refused to look into the future.

I was shifted to the Medical College Hospital and met Dr Narayanan Kutty Warrier, a well known Oncologist in Kerala. He is a kind person and generous to patients. Actually I feel as if my second life began since I met him. I started to think about my future. The treatment commenced. First I had Heydab, then Interferon, next Shafron and then Veenat. But it became very difficult for my family to go on with such an expensive treatment. We were really struggling to make both ends meet. But God helped me in the form of my friends who supported me financially. Thus the treatment continued. But this too did not last long enough as I had to continue living with these medicines and the cost was too much to bear.Then once again God came to my rescue in the form of Novartis and Max Foundation.

My doctor acquainted me with Max Foundation; an international humanitarian organization and the donation programme run by Novartis for people like me. This was the turning point in my life. The Foundation embraced me and made me Max's friend. I started getting Glivec. My condition started improving. I am deeply obliged to The Max Foundation, Novartis, especially Pat Gracia Gonzalez, Viji Amma, Beena “chechi” (she is like a sister to me) and Ayesha. I don't know to express my gratitude to all of them. Now everything is just fine and I can lead my life like any ordinary man. I often tell others that we should not turn our face from people who are suffering. We must have a helping mentality towards them and do whatever possible for them. Tomorrow is not a surety, so do not ignore others who are in need of help. Do whatever you can to make their life worthwhile to live. Once again I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Novartis and Max Foundation and all its friends for making me realize that life is worth living. I send my regards to The Max Foundation for their mission and pray for its success.