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Life is a bundle of joys and sorrows.

Arun Bhargav – Kanpur ,2009

I had heard people use this phrase during the various stages of my life. I used to wonder why God had been kind for we had seen only joys. We had planned to settle down in our native place as I had sacrificed a good corporate career to be with my parents. We had been married for 18 years, during which the process of bringing up children as well as taking care of other responsibilities had been quite smooth sailing. One day Swati complained of mild fever which continued for a while. She began to lose weight and we consulted some doctors who passed it off as a regular problem until one fine day, one of my friends, a pathologist said we ought to get her checked properly as it could be serious.

Then followed the rigorous check up that included an ultra sound and some blood tests. I never imagined it to be anything serious but one evening when I was seated at my desk in the office, this friend of mine who had conducted the blood test called up and said there was bad news- His words were, ‘Swati is probably suffering from CML, a kind of blood cancer.’

In a moment the whole world went upside down for me.
I was heart broken and could not comprehend how I would cope. We were referred to a doctor at the local cancer hospital and we discussed everything with him. His words of solace came as a relief and then the fight began. She was started on Veenat 400 mg tablets and during this initial process we took a lot of other opinions. We went to Baba Ramdev, tried Reiki and underwent other diagnostic tests at the Apollo Hospital etc. Finally we realized that following one course of action would be the best and it was most important to be stress free and leave everything to the Almighty. The initial process was very painful as Imatinib did not suit her and she had major problems. Also the financial burden of buying Veenat @ Rs. 10000/- a month along with expenses on other medicines and consultation proved to be quite a burden although I had the full support of my retired parents who had promised that they would not leave any stone unturned to get Swati treated. I got a call from my maternal uncle who was visiting his son at San Jose, California, US. He informed me about The Max Foundation. I quickly went to their web site and filled up the information required. The response was unimaginable and within hours the process had been initiated. We were asked to visit the Rajiv Gandhi Hospital & Cancer Institute for recommending the medicine and consultation. The burden of buying expensive medicine had been lifted and the satisfaction of getting the original medicine from Novartis was a major relief. The problem of the side effects of the drug continued for some time and she developed skin rashes that caused concern to the doctors. Dr. Doval did suggest that we be prepared for a BMT but then along with his team  who were quite comforting said we would slowly build up the dosage as it worked gradually.

The test results slowly improved and life began to stabilize.
Our children were in Class 8 and 10 in July 2004 when the disease was diagnosed and slowly they began to settle down in their respective careers. The family bonding was important at this stage as children needed a lot of moral support and had to be told that mom would get well and that it was only a matter of time. My parents were a big support as the children were not neglected at any stage; during our absence from home due to regular visits to Delhi for consultations. The key to managing the crisis was to keep cool and understand that this was the share of sorrow assigned to us by the Almighty and that everyone had to go through this at some point in life. After six years, when I sit back and think, I realize today that all hurdles in life can be overcome with a little grit and determination. We made our visits to Delhi  like it were an outing and our socializing with old friends in Delhi increased. I began to enjoy our two day visits to such an extent that we started looking forward to these trips. We spent more time together and realized that it was the mutual support to each other that kept us going. We remained in high spirits at all times and had began to take everything in our stride, as if it were routine. Neither did it affect my professional career as a small time businessman. I made sure I became a trend setter for people who went through any kind of trauma and am still always willing to help people in whatever way I can. We are now very happy and our children are on the right career tracks. Life is moving with no hurdles and we owe it all to Novartis and The Max Foundation.

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