In late 2011, when Filbert was ten years old, he experienced abdominal pain followed by swelling. When his abdomen became distended, his father brought him to the Soroti Regional Referral Hospital that was nearby where his family lived. He was admitted and underwent abdominal surgery. A biopsy of the abdominal mass found during surgery was positive for Burkitt lymphoma. Because Soroti Hospital could not provide treatment for Filbert, he was referred to our hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor in Gulu Uganda – over 150 miles from his home. He was started on the INCTR treatment protocol for Burkitt lymphoma in January 2012 but achieved a partial response to initial therapy. He was then treated with the second-line regimen intended for patients such as Filbert who do not respond well to first-line treatment. He completed all treatment in October 2012. After his discharge, he regularly returned to St. Mary’s for follow up visits and remained in remission until he returned for an annual check up in November 2021.
At the time of his November 2021 visit, Filbert was complaining of pain in his stomach. After making appropriate investigations, we learned that he had suffered a very late relapse of Burkitt lymphoma. A relapse this many years after being in remission for nine years is extremely unusual, but not unknown to happen. Filbert was 21 years old at the time of this relapse. He was re-started on the INCTR protocol. He achieved a partial response to first-line treatment and required further treatment with the second-line therapy. At the time of his last review in January 2022, he was in complete remission.
Prior to this late relapse, he had resumed going to school and was a senior in his studies. He did say that his education had been disrupted because of the lockdowns and restrictions that were imposed in Uganda due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Filbert wishes to express his thanks to everyone who donates to this project and to everyone in the health care profession who support children with cancer. He wants to become a medical doctor to help those in need.
Thank you to everyone who contributes to this project as your donations ensure that children, adolescents, and young adults receive the care and treatment that they need for this highly curable cancer so that they can fulfill their dreams.
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