“Watching your child grow through the developmental stages – like learning to sit, crawl, take the first tottering step – is a joyful process for every parent. It is shocking to watch your child suddenly seem to ‘grow backwards’ but that was exactly what we experienced with our two year old daughter.”
Zahra had been complaining of fever and pain in her legs. Fearing polio, we took her to an orthopedic consultant who prescribed some medicines. Zahra responded well and was once again her active self; walking, climbing and pushing objects as much as her abilities allowed. Soon, however, she regressed into crawling mode. We took her to another orthopedic consultant for a second opinion. Suspecting a blood disorder, he prescribed a series of tests and x-rays, which revealed a diagnosis of blood cancer.
In shock, we took our child from one hospital to another in search of treatment, but in vain. Some hospitals lacked equipment while others lacked trained medical staff. One doctor advised us to prepare for the worst. This was truly the most horrific moment of my life. It felt as if my child was slipping out of my grasp and I could do nothing but wait and watch. Fortunately, someone advised us to go to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH&RC). We rushed to SKMCH&RC and were astonished to see the facilities available as well as the cooperative staff and, in particular, the qualified consultants. Due to Zahra’s rapidly deteriorating condition, an aggressive treatment plan was chalked out with utmost urgency. The medical team remained hopeful throughout and Zahra’s fever finally settled on the twenty-fifth day. Our family had begun its long and trying journey of cancer treatment, marked by terrors and triumphs, hopes and fears. The improvement in Zahra’s health was slow but we have learned that it is hope which keeps you alive. I made many friends at the Hospital, which now feels like our second home.
After nearly three long years, our consultant jubilantly informed us that Zahra had fully recovered from blood cancer and did not require further treatment. Our family was thrilled to the core, incredibly happy and grateful to every individual at the Hospital. Not only had our child been cured but that too, absolutely free of cost. I am and will always remain thankful to Almighty Allah and am indebted to Imran Khan for building this marvelous cancer hospital, where deserving patients are treated on merit.
Today our little Zahra, who once seemed to be ‘growing backwards,’ is once again growing into a healthy girl. She is a survivor of childhood cancer and our brave little warrior. As a mother, words cannot express the joy I feel in watching my little girl grow after enduring so much at such a tender age.
Zahra Shafique’s Mother