Sunita Devi, 56, a resident of Harnad in Bokaro district of the state, doesn’t remember when it exactly started, but says the tumour continues to pose multiple challenges for her every day.
“My ears hurt and I have problems rotating my head due to this huge bulge,” Sunita says.
“I went to Purulia and fell ill. Later, I came back and felt a pimple-like bulge on the left cheek,” she adds.
The weight of the massive tumour has hindered Sunita’s daily life.
Speaking about her mother’s problems, Rukmani Kumari says, “She faces difficulties while washing her face, brushing, bathing and doing daily chores.”
Rukmani says that the family has tried their best to get her treatment, but the lack of funds has cut it short.
“We could not get her operated on due to lack of funds. My father works as a labourer. He had to educate the kids at home as well, so we could not get her the best of treatment, but we did our best.”
“Even if we sell all our jewelleries and lands, we will not be able to afford her treatment. We don’t have that much property or gold,” she adds.
The tumour has also left Sunita Devi alienated from society. Speaking about her mother’s peril, Rukmani says that people often pass snide remarks about her ungainly and unusual look.
“We look at other mothers and they are well. We feel sad looking at our mother. She is clearly in a lot of pain.
Rukmani says that her mother has been confined to the four walls at home, as the latter finds it difficult to travel, due to her disease.
“Every mother visits their daughter’s house, meets their grandkids, but my mother cannot. I feel terrible,” she adds.
She says that her brother also does not take their mother out, due to the tumour.
According to doctors, Sunita Devi is suffering from a giant neurofibroma of the left trigeminal nerve, mostly mandibular or maxillary branches.
She would need to undergo a detailed clinical evaluation, preoperative CT and MRI scans of head, neck and face. Following clinical and radiological assessment, angiography of the tumour will be done along with preoperative embolization to block its blood supply to prevent blood loss
The surgery and treatment would range from three to six months at the hospital and may require extended ICU stay, considering her age.
The total treatment would cost approximately Rs 50 lakhs (USD 62,620) to Rs 60 lakhs (USD 75,145).
The patient may also require a second surgery if the wound does not heal, which can happen due to a possible scenario of high blood loss.
The patient’s family earns a meagre Rs 2,000 per month, so a surgery with such a heavy cost is beyond their reach and can be only fulfilled with help of generous donations from benefactors.