Faith After Two Cycles of Therapy
Faith is a 10-year old Ugandan girl who developed swelling of her left eye. She had no prior history of any major illnesses and had not suffered any trauma to her eye. The swelling was initially small, but progressively increased in size and became quite painful. When the swelling of her eye first began, her parents took her to a nearby health center where she was prescribed eye drops that did not stop the swelling. Her parents then took her to a nearby hospital. The doctors there referred her to St Mary’s Hospital Lacor in Gulu for evaluation.
Faith was admitted to St Mary’s in early February – some three weeks from the start of the problems with her eye. Upon examination, her left eye was protruding out of the socket and she could not move her eye in a normal way. By this time, she had also lost the vision in this eye. Her lower eyelid was extremely swollen. The mass was very large and occupied her upper jaw as well. Due to the history of the rapid growth of this mass, it was suspected that Faith had Burkitt lymphoma. A biopsy was performed which confirmed this diagnosis. Thankfully, all of the other tests to determine if she had sites of disease in other parts of her body were negative.
Faith was started on the INCTR treatment protocol for Burkitt lymphoma which consists of six cycles of chemotherapy. She had a dramatic response to the first cycle of treatment. After this cycle, her eye was no longer protruding and the vision in that eye returned to normal. Following the second cycle, all of the remaining swelling in her eye and jaw had resolved completely. There were no residual effects caused by this large tumor that had compressed vital nerves that control eye sight and movement. She is presently in remission and is finishing up her last cycle of therapy. Because of the long distance from her home in the Kiryadongo district to St Mary’s in Gulu, she has been staying at the hospital’s family home during treatment. She is looking forward to returning home to see her siblings and her friends and to going back to school very soon.
Faith is very lucky that she was referred to St Mary promptly. Faith could have suffered permanent blindness if she had not been treated as soon as she was. Other children with Burkitt lymphoma may not be so fortunate because they experience delays in reaching a hospital like St Mary's which is capable of treating children with cancer. One of the most common reasons for delays is due to the great distances that families must travel and the costs that are associated with their journeys to reach a specialty hospital. Since the majority of families are very poor, it takes them time to gather the necessary funds to cover these costs. Because of your generous donations to this project, Faith and other children with Burkitt lymphoma, receive this necessary support for travel and are able to be diagnosed and treated for free. Thank you again for your donations!