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In this section, I would like to share my story, the inspirational circumstances that made me a health advocate.
Both my grandparents died of cancer. My grandma had breast cancer. She had a mastectomy and also got chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She got every possible treatment and suffered every possible medication side effect from hair loss to psychosis. She fought hard and brave before she lost her battle with cancer. My grandpa died of cancer too. Fortunately, he didn’t suffer as much as grandma did.
I come from India, where it is common practice for entire families to live under one roof. So, my grand parents, my uncle’s family and our family, all lived together in the same house. It helped to share caregiving duties and also helped us support each other at times when we felt lost and down in the dumps.
Being the doctor in the family, everyone had questions for me, many that I couldn’t answer. My grandma was a vegetarian all her life, never drank alcohol, never smoked, and just couldn’t understand why she got cancer. I doubt she ever got a mammogram as a screening test. I wonder if things would have been different if we were in another country like Canada where healthcare is universal, and healthcare authorities spent time and resources to educate people about screening tests, vaccinations and other preventive measures for certain diseases.
Six years ago, I immigrated to Canada. I had read about the excellent healthcare system, leaders in medical research and public health outreach programs. I was fascinated by the concept of universal healthcare and couldn’t wait to be part of it. I thought everything would be different. Two years in the country, and my beliefs were shattered. I met families and patients who had the same questions and were facing the same challenges as we did in India.
I saw caregivers struggle to navigate the complexities of our healthcare system. I witnessed multiple patient encounters where patients left the doctor’s office even more confused and anxious than they were when they came in. I saw instances where universal healthcare was almost inaccessible.
I always knew I was more inclined towards research, education and health policy. But this is when I decided to pursue a Masters degree at the University of Toronto focused on research and education. It wasn’t long before I knew I had to establish in4MED.
I strongly feel that no person should be forced to spend more time finding their way through the healthcare system than fighting their disease. This is how the idea of in4MED was born. Through in4MED, I want to enable the residents of KW region to make the most of Canada’s excellent healthcare system.
I can imagine how challenging it can be for some to navigate the system and advocate for themselves. At in4MED, we can make this stressful time easier by providing you with information about your condition, connecting you to local support systems and being there for you as your trusted health advocates. As always, feel free to connect with me.
Healthcare Consultant, in4MED
Nikita Parikh has over ten years of experience as a healthcare professional in a number of research and clinical positions, with key responsibilities in patient care, and health care education. She studied medicine at the Moscow Medical Academy in Russia, and holds a MEd degree in Health Professional Education from the University of Toronto. Nikita Parikh, founder of in4MED is a patient advocate and is a champion in promoting patient autonomy. She is passionate about healthcare for older adults and strives to be a resourceful inspiration to caregivers.
*No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.