Life is a bundle of joys and sorrows.

Life is Cruel but Determination is the Key
Avinash Pandav – Gorai , Borivali in Mumbai  2009

That’s what one feels but determination and effort make one go on in life. Some say there is no God, but I say there is a God and we come across Him in different forms.

My life’s journey….

I am Avinash Pandav who was born into a modest background in a closely knit community in Ratnagiri. I am 30 years old now. My family comprises my parents and three sisters. I loved the company of my family and friends. I was 17 years old when I came to Mumbai to pursue my studies which was in 1994. I finished two years of education. Then I took up an eight hour job and also pursued playing Kabaddi. I played at the District as well as the National level. I got a lot of encouragement from everyone around me. I also got a proposal to represent Bank of India. I was playing really well and my parents, friends and principal were proud as my name and photographs appeared in the newspapers. I was in my best form and did not realize when the illness crept in. Suddenly one day I had severe pain in the abdomen, which I chose to ignore. Whenever the pain increased, I would pop a pain killer and the pain would subside. This went on for six long months. It dawned upon me that I had started feeling weak. One visit to the doctor told me what was wrong. I realized that I had not only started feeling weak, but had lost 15 kgs in six months. My boss took note of that and asked me to get a blood test done. I did as told and showed the report to Dr. Vinod Pandey who told me that I had CML. When I had my first blood test on 23/02/05, my WBC count was 87,300and hemoglobin was9.2. Dr Vinod Pandey referred me to Dr Mukesh Desai. I had another blood test done which showed WBC at 2.42,700, hemoglobin at10.20and platelet count was 479. The diagnosis drained me physically as well as emotionally and it was a very difficult period in my life. At that time I felt that my destiny had taken such a turn that my days of peace and happiness were finished. My family and friends were also very worried. But I was confident that God was with me and that belief gave me a lot of nerve

The bitter truth of CML dawned on me.

The doctor prescribed a month’s medicine for me. Before taking the tablets, I used to eat a bit of rice and some milk. After a month, Dr Desai did my bone marrow biopsy and aspiration. I got the report after three weeks .The doctor told me that the report was good but since treatment was long it would cost me about 25lakhs. I was worried but  my doctor advised me to be calm and to meet Dr Tapan Saikia. On 25/03/05, I met Dr Saikia, who advised me to meet Novartis/The Max Foundation/Viji Venkatesh Madam. I went with my father and principal and was truly touched by the treatment meted to us by the representatives of The Max Foundation namely Viji Venkatesh Madam, Dr Pallavi Madam and Ayeshah Madam. I have noticed the humanitarian approach they have towards patients as well as to the relatives/caregivers accompanying them. On 23rd March 2005 I got into GIPAP and started getting Glivec 400mg from Novartis I have been taking it regularly and my CML is under control.

After a year, I have balanced both my job and kabaddi.

I am a kabbadi instructor at Thakur College. After college hours I am also a gym and yoga teacher. I owe all of this to Glivec/Max foundation- without them I would not be what I am. I am looking forward to lots of happiness and joy in my life. I pray to God for the well being of Viji Madam. Dr Saikia, The Max Foundation and my heartfelt thanks to Novartis who gave me a new lease of life. I wish to thank and acknowledge everyone. I have gone through a lot in my life. But I have learnt that however many hurdles come in our life we must never run away from them. We must face and overcome them. Even though our destinies are predefined, we must not give up but keep fighting the odds in our life. Whether it is illness or struggle we must face it courageously. I, Avinash Pandav also want to tell each one of you the importance of exercise and yoga on a day to day basis. They must be a part of our daily routine. We also get strength to accept joys and face sorrows. I see it this way-had I not had CML I would not be in GIPAP and I would never have had a chance to write my life story under the inspiration of Viji Madam. I want to once again thank Viji Madam and Dr Saikia from the bottom of my heart.

Translated from Hindi by Vidya S Tahilramani