GIST Patient Support Group Meeting – Mumbai @ 21 April

Report by FOM Volunteer Rashmi Sachade

At 9:15 am on 21st April, 2018 I was really excited to meet everyone at our regular GIST Patient support group meeting. After literally running an entire platform to catch a train I had finally boarded the Dadar bound train in the morning. At 9:10 am when I reached Tata Memorial Hospital, where our meetings were generally held, I knew I was pretty early. But I did not mind being early, especially that day. That day I had a lot on my mind, I had been asked to give the welcome address.

I entered the registration area and met with Priyanka’s beaming smile, she was genuinely happy to see me. Sometimes I really wonder how the Max team can be so tireless in their efforts to make it better for us. She greeted me with a warm hug and registered me. In the following hour, other members of our GIST family came in and got registered. Registering was really a formality, what we love to do at that time is just chit-chat like long lost friends and of course take a lot of pictures.

At 10:30 sharp we went into the hall and first stood proudly for our national anthem. And then came the moment I had been awaiting and dreading at the same time. It was time for me to share my thoughts. The Max team selecting me for this was really an honour, unknowingly they had done something very special for me, because being on stage always excites me. I started off by introducing Sidrah Patel, new member of the Max team to our GIST members. That day I went on to give our GIST Patients a new definition of GIST, G – Great, I – Intelligent, S – Smart, T – Talented, and P – Person not patient. However childish it may be, this definition always gave me a lot of positivity and I thought I needed to share it with others.

With that I made way for the fun activity for the day. In every meeting we have a fun activity or a workshop of some kind. This time too, Priyanka and Ameya had conducted a really interesting workshop on Compliance. That day we discussed WHY and HOW we took our Glivec every day. Everyone had a different story and a different routine. Someone said their husband reminded them to take the medicine, someone else said that they had set an alarm for every morning. So many reasons and so many new ways were learnt of how to remember to take our meds on time. It was really nice to know everyone’s stories, since we had literally become like family to each other.

At 11:45 we started our Question and Answer session with Dr. Shailesh Shrikhande and Dr. Manish Bhandare. And as usual it was a really satisfactory session. We are forever grateful to these doctors who are so patient with us, answering all our questions. It is really our duty to attend these meetings regularly when these doctors specially take out time for us from their busy schedules, so much so that sometimes they come in their operation suits!

At 12:45 we started wrapping the show, with the newest member of the Max team, Sidrah giving a vote of thanks to all present there. We then had our tea and refreshments and continued our photography session from where we had left it.

Overall the meeting was a perfect combo of fun with knowledge, and I really look forward to the next one.