I say to every mum of a sick child on the start of the treatment journey: Thank God for the existence of Hospital 57357 in Egypt and its provision of quality care to our sick children.
In the day-care unit, tens of children are receiving their chemo sessions, each patient lying helplessly and next to him his mother or father hugging him closely as though they would, through this embrace, bear with them some of the pain.
I was specially attracted by the nice gentle smile of a beautiful child named Carmen who bonded with her mother in a very special way … I felt they were more like buddies sharing the same hope, optimism, determination, and contentment in the face of cancer.
As I came closer to them hesitantly, Carmen’s mum encouraged me with a smile to engage in a conversation with them…..
Her name is Mona Rafla. She is a Soprano singer with the Egyptian Opera House. Mona is a sensitive and gentle musician with great faith in God and acceptance of his Will which she succeeded to communicate to her daughter. As for the first days of their encounter with the disease, they both recall them with contentment, praising and thanking God that those days are behind them and that Carmen has completed a big part of the treatment.
“Carmen was an active and sportive girl. She danced ballet, played the piano, and loved to dive. We were on a trip abroad when she first complained of fatigue and exhaustion. Lab tests revealed that she was sick with leukemia and that the treatment journey would last for three years,” her mum tells me. “Thank God, Carmen too has faith in God and in his infinite mercy; she is confident that He will make her well again and that soon she will be back to her normal life and all her activities” she added.
“As for Hospital 57357, this is a grand accomplishment which was the result of great efforts, said Ms. Rafla. “The huge cost of the treatment and care is entirely borne by the Hospital. It is offered for free to all patients on time and with great precision” she adds.
“In 57357, we get to interact with all the members of the multi-disciplinary comprehensive healthcare team including the physician, the nurse, the clinical pharmacist, the nutrition specialist…” explains Ms. Rafla. “I understood the important role of each one of them for ensuring the best outcome for Carmen. I saw how the pharmacist and the physician work closely to adjust medication doses to reduce side effects and ensure maximum benefit from the drug”, she tells me.
Although Ms. Rafla was advised by family and friends to travel abroad for her daughter’s treatment, she sent her files to top world cancer centers such as the St. Jude and the American Hospital in Paris. They assured her that 57357 is applying the latest world treatment protocols; as such, she decided to treat her daughter in her country Egypt and make a donation to the Hospital in support of its humanitarian mission.
She smiled and told me that, 20 days after the start of the treatment and Carmen’s loss of her hair, the whole family including the father, mother and brother shaved their heads in solidarity. She informed me that just a week ago, her hair started to grow again.
“Finally, I need to send this message to every mum of a sick child on the start of the treatment journey: keep the Faith and the Hope”, said Ms. Rafla. “Thank God that you were able to find treatment for him or her. Thank him also for the existence of Hospital 57357 in Egypt and its provision of care to your child and mine and so many more sick children.”