Nine-year-old struggling to recover after removal of brain tumour
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ON HER ninth birthday a week ago, Lumka Mashilo, from Roodepoort, was rushed back to hospital after her blood count dropped and she refused to eat or drink – the side effects of radiation following the removal of a brain tumour.
Her mother Vanessa is now sharing her story in the hope that it will bring awareness to the many children who suffer from cancer and she is requesting prayers, in abundance, for her daughter’s speedy recovery.
It all started with a headache in February, Vanessa said.
“She was complaining of a headache. I gave her Panado but it continued for four days. On the fourth day, the school also called to say she had started vomiting. We took her to the doctor thinking it could be migraines. The doctor then gave her some medication for nausea and migraines, but as soon as she started taking the pills her head started to throb. The doctor then suggested a CT scan,” Vanessa said.
Following the scan, they discovered the Grade three pupil had a tumour in the middle of her brain.
“Because the tumour was releasing fluid, they operated on her the next day to insert a shunt, which is a pipe that runs from her brain to her stomach, so she could release the fluid,” said Vanessa.
In April, during a six hour operation, the tumour was successfully removed and, a few weeks later, the test results showed it was cancerous.
“At that point, she became very emotional, so we had to get her a child psychologist. She’s on a 16-week programme for chemotherapy and a five week programme for radiation,” her mother added.
Mashilo has had five sessions of chemotherapy and three weeks of radiation since.
“She had long dreadlocks, now her hair has started falling out and she’s not eating because nothing stays down, and she has a fear of the feeding tube. She is a bubbly child who loves to dance, now she is quiet and withdrawn, she does not understand what is happening to her,” said Vanessa.
“I am shattered. She is my only baby, my best friend, literally. To see her suffer like this is very hard. I am on medication for severe anxiety and depression because I am not coping. I never thought I would go through this. Now, coming to the hospital and seeing all the kids with cancer, I feel I have to raise awareness and caution parents to pay attention to the little signs,” said Vanessa.
The mother and daughter are currently still at hospital, where she has received a blood transfusion and remains on a drip.