Patient Support Group Meet @ Kolkata 25 May

Report by Cedric Mathew

The large welcome banner displayed at the reception desk read “TOGETHER WE SHARE AND LEARN” – Towards a New Dawn. Today’s programme was organized by The Max Foundation & Friends of Max in association with TATA MEDICAL CENTER, KOLKATA.

Our Group members’ reached the venue at about 8:30 am and soon the registration process started where all guests were welcomed by Viji Amma, who got an opportunity to interact with each of us and took time out for some selfies too. The event started at about 9:30 am post breakfast and refreshments with the singing of our National Anthem. Thereafter Ms Priyanka, who is the Programme Officer from Max for the Northern Region, welcomed about 150 guests present in the hall today. This was her first visit to Kolkata.

Our panel of experienced medical experts were mainly from Tata Medical Center , Kolkata namely Dr. Vivek Radhakrishnan – trained expert from Govt Medical College, Chennai , Dr. Deepak Mishra, an Ex-serviceman and Senior Consultant Laboratory Haematology of Tata Medical Center, Kolkata, Dr. Joydeep Ghosh (medical Oncologist consultant) along with medical Oncologist consultant Mrs. Sharmila Chandra who shared their perspectives about CML and GIST disease in simple terms for all to understand. Dr. Deepak Mishra touched upon the issue of how many tests need to be conducted in a year before one decides to stop medicine in consultation with one’s treating physician, molecular remission, why patient’s compliance is extremely important and why we should regularly and timely take our required dose of medicine. CML today is about 20 years old now and there are about 15000 patients covered under GIPAP support availing the benefits. We were also informed that the present Laboratory setup at Tata Medical Center, Kolkata maintains a very high standard with the latest equipment and instruments of level 5.

The Vision of The Max Foundation is to see a cancer-free world where patients get access to proper treatment and can live life with respect and dignity, free of fear, stigma and emotional trauma. Ms Priyanka also highlighted the importance of regularly updating the Max Foundation, Mumbai office of any changes in address, contact details and to keep the communication active . Patients were encouraged to join the FOM WhatsApp group.

The event progressed with Q & A session with our medical expert panel and patients who were provided with some valuable insight and suggestions, how Imatinib is safe and how it has changed our lives.
Viji Amma shared her experiences and relationship she has developed with all patients over the years, the challenges faced by us. She once again highlighted that “We are not Alone “ in this journey and need to be compliant, regular and timely with our medicine intake and how we have to create a “ new normal and parallel track” to continue on our journey.
Amma also made a PPT presentation on how music originated and what impact it has in our lives. We formed 4 small groups, sang songs on topics assigned to us and were treated with amazing musical support on the synthesizer by Mr. Sailendra.

Before breaking for a sumptuous lunch, we joined together for the group photo session which has now been shared with the group members.
It was an exciting and an eventful day and We from FOM, Kolkata Group would like to thank ALL present today for taking time out to be at Premashraya and contribute in every way possible.
Looking forward to many more such meets in future and wish everyone good health.