Childhood memories usually bring back times of happiness, fun, and rejoicing , but Khadija can only recall moments of great illness, pain, medication’s bitterness and chemotherapy hardships since her birth. In the isolation room in the bone marrow transplant unit where Khadija was lying down, a sad distressed father stands beside her waiting for her turn on the bone marrow transplant list, so that her recovery would be complete.
Khadija fell sick before completing her first year, at the same time she lost her mother who passed away few months after her illness. Khadija’s suffering started about two years ago, when the family was living in Saudi Arabia where the father worked as a doctor. As children can often fall sick during their very early age, Khadija got fever several times. With the repeated persistent fever episodes, the father started to worry.
The father shared: I suspected Mediterranean anemia, or a sort of immunity disease, but never thought of cancer. When Khadija’s condition evolved into convulsions and loss of consciousness I decided to do an ultrasound on her belly myself, while hoping to be wrong about what I feared to be revealed. Unfortunately, my fear came true, I found a tumor on the suprarenal gland “neuroblastoma” sized 11cm.
I thought of Hospital 57357 as the best children’s cancer hospital in the Arab world. We returned back to Egypt, by then my wife was alive and was a great support for Khadija and for me. She encouraged me to go back to my work in Saudi Arabia, while she stayed with our daughter throughout her treatment period in 57357. Khadija completed her chemotherapy and had a surgery to remove the tumor. By then, my wife passed away suddenly and I found myself totally and solely responsible for my three children. I quit my job, returned back to Egypt, left my older children with their grandmother and became a companion for Khadija, the father continued.
Khadija needed bone marrow transplantation to complete her recovery. It is necessary in her case so that she wouldn’t get relapses and suffer again. During the previous period, it was decided to have an autologous marrow transplant. Last July she underwent separation for marrow cells. Since the unit’s beds are limited, and due to the difficult economic circumstances the world is going through, the treatment cost was increased. Bone marrow transplantation is so costly it may exceed half a million pounds, meanwhile in 57357, the Hospital is bearing the entire cost. I wish the capacity of this unit be expanded and it would be offered all the needed resources to increase survival chances of children.
Neuroblastoma is one of the most common suprarenal gland solid tumors. It represent 8% of pediatric tumors. Bone marrow transplantat is one of the basic standard procedures in high risk, and recurring neuroblastoma treatment protocol, where it greatly improves survival rate, reveals Dr. Mahmoud Hamad.
Share in expanding the bone marrow transplant unit and adding more beds, as every new added bed means a life chance for a sick child.