From Diagnosis to looking for Treatment Options

Janardan Prasad Shrivastav – Birlapur, June 2005


I am a married person, aged fifty plus and have three children. I work as a system analyst in Kolkata in a Pvt.
Ltd. Company, where a provision has been made whereby one month's salary is given as reimbursement for
medical expenses. Of course there are provisions of Mediclaim insurance cover but these insurance
organizations give support only for hospitalization expenses. Had there been support for domestic
treatment, it would have served as a boon for the insured person.

In November 1995 I felt a sudden weakness that forced me to go to a local physician. I asked the doctor for a
full check-up and was consequently diagnosed to be suffering from CML after consulting my hematologist
and oncologist Dr.R.N.Ghosh. He immediately advised me to go to the Tata Memorial Hospital in Bombay
for a further check-up. The chronic nature of my illness was established here. The doctor knew the immense
burden likely to fall on me in fighting this killer disease. Therefore, he arranged with M/S Full Ford India
Ltd. to supply free of cost the requisite doses of interferon injections. It was of great help to me. After
supplying the same for three and a half years the company M/s Full Ford India Ltd asked me to pay cash to
the tune of 75% of the total cost, which I could not afford. Then, Dr. R.N.Ghosh continued treatment in the
form of Hydrae Capsules for as long as one and a half years and asked me to try purchasing the requisite
injections. After a long chase it was M/s Jeevan Jyoti trust, Pune, Maharashtra, which stood against the odds
and helped me financially to the tune of 80% to purchase the Interferon injections from M/s Nicholas
Piramal's suppliers. They kept their promises of helping me until recently. It was here that the doctor
R.N.Ghosh advised to switch over to Veenat Capsules. It was agreed before with the doctor that the supplier
of Veenat Capsules would give 50% free. (i.e. after purchasing for 1 month the next month will be free of
charge.) The supplier could not keep the promise for reasons unknown to me. Thus, once again the chain
broke and I remained without any medication for two months. At this point, on the advise from my doctor
R.N.Ghosh, I applied to Novartis and the Max Foundation for the supply of Glivec -400mg capsules free of

This again proved a boon to me. The people at Novartis have kept their promises and regularly supply doses
from 28 April, 2004 till now.

To becoming a part of GIPAP and Friends of Max

I have been a member of this family since 28 April 2004 and receive the scheduled medicine Glivec(R)-
400mgs regularly. Fortunately I work in an where a personal computer is available for me to work
on as of now. Ms. Viji Venkatesh, GIPAP Country Director, advised me to join this family and with her
assistance I have been connected to india_gipap_family and till now I'm kept updated on all information
related to developments in this field, the problems other people are facing, the kind of assistance being
given by Max India, schedules of meetings being held at different locations in India, visits of our Director to
other places outside India and information exchanges about GIPAP family members. I also receive small
notes that are worth reading from different members of India_gipap_family and get information on a dayto-
day basis. Here, one can find solace that there is at least one Missionary, Max-India, which helps a lot of
needy persons and thus saves a lot of valuable lives.

Coping and finding ways of coming to terms with all that this journey has meant

It is very difficult to express this experience. This disease would have spread like a menace in the country
had there been no guardian-like institution such as Max India. Frankly speaking, this disease sucks the total
energy left in the system at an alarming rate making it impossible for the person concerned to perform their
daily chores. However with the advent of life saving drugs by Novartis and Max, people have been able to
rise to the occasion, serve their families and the society as a whole. For those who can sustain the heavy
expenses incurred in treating this ailment, perhaps there is no problem but for those who belong to the 'have
not' groups it is certainly going to become impossible without an organization like 'MAX INDIA.' It is a
blessing to have found solace and comfort where one has sought it. When a person from a developing
country acquires such a menace like disease, it is akin to falling into a trap. Thanks to good Samaritans, like
the Max Foundation, who are performing their duties at a time when one would be crestfallen, these
organizations give a strong helping support to care for and share human grief. Perhaps, their work should be
regarded as a truly patriotic effort in saving the country's citizens.

Was it enough? What is one still looking for?

This is a difficult question to answer. What should be the definition of 'enough'? A person having no
knowledge of the kind of expenses he/she is to face truly appreciates the support given at this crucial
juncture, which becomes a milestone in his/her life. To avoid certain death for some years enables the
person concerned to sort out his/her remaining problems. Regardless of whether one is married or
unmarried, many responsibilities can be attended to during this borrowed time. Had there been no such
helpful organizations such as Max, society would be in peril. Governments should try to look into these
problems and reward those who are already working for a healthier India.

Something else to say and share

The journey still continues with a faint hope for the future. Taxing for education and health have just
started in our country. A country's health is its parameter of progress. Social organizations, industrialist,
politicians, technical persons should come out in masses and safeguard humanity.