“We have told him that he cannot eat things from outside because there are bugs in his tummy. He gets confused when we say that but doesn’t throw a fit. He remains calm and goes on playing all by himself,” says Nihal’s mother Salika, who was heartbroken after she found out that her son had blood cancer just 15 days back.
A diagnosis they weren’t prepared forNihal did not have any symptoms at all, except a swelling in his stomach.
“At first we thought his tummy was swollen because he had troubles with digestion. But a trip to the hospital revealed that he had inflamed lymph nodes. His WBC count was also unusually high. We were not expecting anything serious as Nihal did’t have a history of serious illness, but the doctor told us to go to Bengaluru immediately for proper diagnosis,” says Waseem Pasha, his father.The entire family travelled 70 km to Bengaluru from Tumakuru, only to confirm the worst: Nihal had blood cancer and had to start chemotherapy immediately.
They gave away everything to save their only son
Waseem has used up all his savings and even mortgaged his wife’s jewellery to save his only child’s life.
“I have a decent job as a marketing assistant with a leading hospital in Tumakuru, but have exhausted all that I had. This was so unexpected. I don’t think I can go back to work when my son is so ill, how will I make Rs 30 lakh all of a sudden? Some friends and family have helped me so far, but I can't afford the costs of chemotherapy in the coming days. The doctor says if chemo does not improve his condition, then we will need a bone marrow transplant,” he adds.
Like any 5-year-old, Nihal is very scared of injections
Injections scare him the most15 days before, Nihal was a normal, happy child. And now, he cries when we reach the hospital door because he is scared of injections.
“My husband and I tell him that the bugs in his stomach will only go away if he goes to the hospital like a good kid. He is so innocent that he does not question us when we tell him this,” says Salika, adding, “My son is becoming more tired as each day passes. He also complains of pain in his limbs. I cannot bear to see him like this anymore, knowing that this can only get worse.”