GLIVEC, Novartis & The Max Foundation – A LIFE SAVER

Yogiraj Dhake  – Mumbai, 2010

Down nostalgia lane.

Today, I stood on the weighing scale during my regular health check up to discover that lo and behold, I have put on 6 kgs, which I have to get rid of. My better half, Suneeti jokingly suggested that a weight reducing campaign would have to be undertaken. Since I had to eat a heavy breakfast before taking medicine to avoid acidity it had resulted in weight gain. When I think of this change I realize with satisfaction that I comfortably fought a great battle. However, during that period my near and dear ones had to undergo various psychological jolts.

I distinctly remember that from March 2007 I was feeling extremely weak. I used to have strong hunger pangs earlier but my appetite progressively became weaker. I forced myself to eat a small chapatti only to please my wife  Suneeti. One of my colleagues, observed with great compassion that I was working very hard on my job and  ought to remain fit. He suggested I get a proper medical check up and find the reason for the weakness and weight loss. I felt it was because of extra stress coupled with my food intake during tours. However, I was much too tired. It seemed as though my body wanted to register something but my response was delayed. My health was slowly getting corroded and something dangerous was taking firm roots inside my body.

I still remember the rainy day of 1st August 2007. On that day I had to start for Mumbai to attend an urgent meeting. I was expected to rise at 6 o’clock but I did not feel like getting out of my bed even though it was 8 o’clock. I began my journey by local train, with the burden of a 5-6 kg laptop bag which resulted in numbing my hand. I thought it might be some disturbance in circulation that resulted in the swelling of my hand. The swelling increased and my hand could not move voluntarily. I somehow completed the meeting which continued for a very long time. I experienced heaviness in my hand during my presentation in the meeting. A friend and colleague –Mr. Balu Patil who resides in Mulund, took me by force to his residence after observing the condition of my hand. He insisted that I not return to Nasik but stay with him that night. He was thoroughly involved with my health. At 11.00 pm he took me to Dr. Milind Sawant an orthopaedic surgeon who admitted me in his clinic and checked my blood sample at 11.30 pm. He had some doubts in his mind and advised me to have a thorough blood check up by a haematologist. He simultaneously started the treatment of the swelling in my hand. As per my request Dr.Milind Sawant allowed me to go to Nasik and very forcefully told me to immediately go to an orthopaedic for a full check-up. I got myself admitted in the well known clinic of a leading orthosurgeon of Nasik – Dr.Kakatkar. All sorts of tests were carried out. The reports of my blood were carefully checked and analysed by Dr.Madhuri Kirloskar – general physician. The differential counts of my white blood cells were disturbing so it was decided to check the bone marrow. Until then I was cool and calm.  I was ready for the tests. Dr. Milind Sawant had kept telephonic track with me. The reports of the bone marrow were received and I had to face an obvious and unavoidable fact.
The reports clearly indicated CML.

I was a bit ignorant but my family members had to undergo great mental agony. Kalyani my daughter was reluctant to leave me. As a student of Biotechnology, she sensed the seriousness of the situation and faced the situation with courage. The activities started soon after the receipt of the reports. I was given to understand that the disease I was suffering from was treatable by the administration of tablets and medicines, similar to blood pressure or diabetes.
The medical officer of my company recommended the name of a famous Haematologist in Mumbai. The name of that God like or saintly man was Dr. M.B. Agarwal. In the mean time Dr. Sawant had constantly followed up my case. I slowly realized that something was seriously wrong with my health. Frankly speaking when I first came to know of it from Dr. Agrawal I was not shocked as I was psychologically prepared to believe that the condition was curable with treatment if I took the tablets regularly. I developed anxiety when I saw that people had gathered in my house. All these developments took place within the short span of 1st to 9th Aug 2007. Both the Medical officer of the plant and the pathologist of Nasik, Dr.Junagade also recommended the name of Dr. M.B. Agarwal who brought my health back. I could not tell for sure but I had to admit that some unknown power was guiding me. It imbibed psychological strength and courage in me. I firmly believed that I was getting proper treatment.

I received this life saver tablet from the Max Foundation & Novartis.
Dr. M.B. Agarwal advised me to approach Max Foundation and gave the reference of Novartis  who would make the tablets available to me. On 13th Aug 2007 the related reports were received. I was more afraid of the tests than the CML itself.  The first dose of the tablet was administered on 18th Aug. During the first month of treatment there was swelling on my legs but later on it disappeared. My body weight increased from 60 to 62 kg and the weakness also disappeared. The uncertainty disappeared too. My appetite had increased and the food intake was also very good. The weighing machine was moving in a positive direction. With great satisfaction I would like to state today that I am living an absolutely normal life.

I bow before providence which brought my derailed health back on track.

The treatment worked within a short span of 15 days. It was my fate to suffer from CML but to overcome it was some fate that guided me to the right path. The same power that gave me strength also gave it to my dear friends and family members. I am  aware of the courage that they gathered and the running around that they did in those fifteen days. Once again I realize how fortunate it is to have friends and well wishers. Suneeti my life partner lived happily with me and took care of me like I were a babe in her arms. She fought the situation with her inner strength. With great determination she prevented tears from appearing in her eyes and warned everyone not to weep in my presence. This inspiration alone could save me from any great hazard. This is an indisputable fact! I have newly regained this invaluable treasure in my life.

Fortunately today a specific remedy is available to cure this dreaded disease. The activities of the Max Foundation are both unmatched and also commendable. The tablets are manufactured by M/S Novartis and made available by them  to deserving patients throughout the world free of cost. The Max Foundation too is really praise worthy. It establishes dialogues with patients and relatives with great respect, love, and involvement. There is no discrimination. One can instantly experience a deep feeling of humanity upon approaching them.The activities of the Max foundation deepen the faith in life.

On the basis of self experience, I strongly feel like stating that instead of running away from cancer please study the symptoms if any. Do not overlook the symptoms if they are observed. Regular checkups by an expert physician are highly recommended. Today my life is in safe hands. I have gained a healthy vision to look at life. I met God on earth in the form of Novartis and MAX FOUNDATION.