Virtual Support Group Meeting for Jammu & Kashmir – Report by Vir K Bhat

The meeting started at 1600 hrs with brief introduction by Ms Priyanka coordinator of the meeting. She informed that it is first time that FOM is organizing the meeting of J&K chapter though some participants were from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.  It was followed by the welcome address from Ms Viji Venkatesh (AMAA) who is leading from the front to this sacred mission for CML patients. She informed that FOM/MAX are the organizers and thanked Novartis for supporting the whole programme for providing the medicines to CML patients throughout the world. She spoke of how Max was working with many other partners in the pharma world for other medicines in certain countries .She welcomed all the doctors and the participants and was in the usual charming mood. She inspired every one and in fact infused energy to the cancer fighters.

The first session of the meeting was of doctors and was coordinated by Dr. Dipanwita of Max. The three eminent oncologists/radiologists were on the board. Dr Reshma Roshan from Srinagar, Dr. Ashotosh Gupta from Jammu and Dr.Pankaj Malhotra from PGI Chandigarh.

Dr. Reshma Roshan spoke on the CML, its history, various phases and its treatment. She also replied many patient queries in the session and shared her experiences in dealing such patients. She explained in detail that the other ailments and surgeries of CML patients shall be delt as of other normal persons. She explained that the imatinib (medicine of CML) shall not be stopped without the advice and close supervision of the Doctor.

Dr. Ashotosh Gupta spoke on the symptoms of CML, its detection. He too replied the queries of the patients and also shared the experiences and difficulties being faced by the patients during the treatment. He was of the opinion that the patients are actually under fear psychosis and that is why they always complaint many other ailments. He advised for healthy diet to patients and the patient shall in no case switchover to any other medicine like Disatinib etc without the advice of the doctor.

Dr. Pankaj Malhotra spoke in length on the myths of the CML, he replied the queries of patients and shared many latest researches with regard to management of CML. He cleared all the doubts of the patients and in fact boosted the patients to enjoy normal life. He shared that in 40% cases where the medicine was stopped the CML has relapsed. He too advised to stop the medicine only after the advice and close supervision of the doctor. He informed that the doctors in PGI are available to CML patients even on phone or email, they shall share their reports first the advice will be provided accordingly. In case of pediatric CML patients, the growth may get hampered and thus needs to be investigated by regular checkup by the concerned doctors. He advised complete denial to smoking and drinking of alcohol to patients. He cleared the doubt that grapes are allowed, however the grape fruit shall not be taken by the CML patients.

The second session was of compliance presentation by Shri Prasad of Max Foundation. The presentation was beautiful and understandable to a layman. It was very informative and research-based.

Ms Anshika was also coordinating the intervals between the sessions and informed that on 4th Feb 2022 is the WORLD CANCER DAY and the FOM want to convey its message for the cancer patients. She requested all the participants to deliberate and air their experiences and feelings.

Sh. Aashray Ji also provided the vital information of Friends of Max and informed that FOM would like to include all 18000 patients and more in its programme in India and how from 23 cities the city chapter leaders are connected and are working for the mission.

In the last session the patients from different places also shared their views, concerns and experiences. Sh. A.K.Sood from Shimla who was detected in 1992  for CML shared his experiences, Sh.Vir ji Bhat from Jammu who was detected in 2002, Sh. Sh Tek Chand from Jammu , Sh Umar Gul from Kashmir also shared their views. As usual Ms Viji Amma thanked all the participant’s and Ms Anshika Tandon presented the vote of thanks.

– Vir K Bhat, FOM Jammu City Chapter Leader