GIST Support Group Meeting- 11th August 2012

Hi Friends and fellow Gisters

At Long last due to the tireless efforts of dear Viji (our power engine!) and Drs at Tata Hospital the formation of a GIST SUPPORT GROUP took shape on the 11th of August at Tata Hospital.
As always Viji and her dedicated team—Ayeshah, Sudha, Leenata, Tejal and Priyanka were all there to greet us with their warm hugs and smiles! Ayeshah was bestowed with a new Title—Honorary Photographer for the Max Foundation! Her enthusiastic clicking away made one of the Drs think she was a professional photographer for the event!
In spite of their busy schedules, Dr. Bhawna Sirohi and Dr. Shailesh Shrikhande of Tata hospital very graciously took time off for us.
Equally encouraging was the presence of the Novartis team led by Dr Susheel Kapoor -Medical Adviser.
Gist is a rare cancer and therefore the number of patients attending the meet was understandably small. Being the first ever Gist Support Meet, the atmosphere was very informal and friendly. After the welcome address by Viji, Dr. Sirohi started the meeting. She explained what GIST was, where in the gastrointestinal tract it could occur and where it could spread. It was most common between the ages of 58-68yrs but can occur at any age. Tata hospital has an 18yr old patient. The Drs then spoke of treatment modalities– Glivec and Surgery (where possible) being the mainstay of treatment. Dr Shrikhande said Glivec is also given prior to surgery to patients with large tumors to reduce the size of tumors so that surgery is less extensive. He also spoke of adjuvant Glivec administration in metastatic GIST. He briefly touched upon other treatment options for Liver mets, like RFA, resection of tumors and chemoembolisation. Both the Drs stressed on the importance of Compliance and regular follow ups, blood tests and scans and very patiently answered all queries raised by patients.
After the session with the Drs there was a presentation by Rashmi where she thanked her Drs, The Max foundation and Novartis for all their care and help She also presented a nice work of art depicting our progress from darkness to light in our battle with cancer with the help of Glivec, to Viji and Novartis

Next it was my turn to say a few words—Testimonial and experiences etc.

This brought us to the end of the meet with Drs and patients agreeing to meet once in three months. Dr. Kapoor of Novartis said they were planning on a website on GIST Support too–Fantastic! After a vote of Thanks by Ayeshah and Group Photos the meet ended on a note of eternal hope with all of us singing “Hum Honge Kamyaab Ek Din”— albeit in various ‘Surs’

Friends as you can see there was a wealth of information to be shared so my earnest request to you all –please do attend the next meeting.

Once again a Big Thank you to:

1) Viji and the Team at Max Foundation
2) Dr. Sirohi and Dr Shrikhande
3) Dr. Susheel Kapoor and the Novartis Team

Bakul Pandit on behalf of all the Gisters