Are you aware? – The thing about cancer that one often doesn’t realise is that its treatment makes the body susceptible to a host of other infections and challenges. Chemotherapy, while crucial to battling many kinds of cancer, also brings down the body’s immunity. Helping a child fight off infections and bounce back from side effects and challenges remains a top priority for any doctor and caregiver.
It’s no secret though, that the fightback leans on a balanced diet for support. This Childhood Cancer Awareness month, let’s flip the pages to 7-year-old Subham’s story to understand just how big a role nutrition plays in the battle for a happy ending.
Subham is in the caring hands of Hungshim Koireng, our clinical nutritionist at Dr. B Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati. As he fights like a champ against B-cell ALL, Hungshim devotedly monitors and adapts his diet.
During the middle of his chemo treatment, Subham had a really painful condition called mucositis in his mouth. Additionally, his appetite dropped and he also suffered from bouts of vomiting making oral consumption of foods a huge challenge. As a result, Hungshim had to resort to feeding him through a Ryle’s tube. You can imagine just how unpleasant that was for this 7-year-old, but his nutritionist’s friendly support worked wonders.
Subham and his family quickly realised the importance of a steady and complete diet. Even when Subham was at his lowest and weakest, he would fight fatigue and nausea to make every effort to follow the diet plan. This has helped improve his nutrition status from severe thinness to mild thinness. The work to get him back to ‘well-nourished’ is well on track, with your support.
His family of 4 have had to shift base from Dhubri District in Assam. They are supported by friends and family and sometimes funded by the district MLA. His father who lost his job as a helper at a jeweller’s store on account of the move passes on his deep gratitude for the Supplements, Hot meals and In-meals through our nutrition programme.
“Hungshim has been like a sister to all of us”, Subham’s father tells us. “When I hear her and the doctors say ‘We are here for your child’, it touches my heart. I know it’s not just words. Nutrition has meant the difference between life and death for my beautiful son.”
Yes, nutrition is often the difference that leads to a complete recovery. Childhood cancer is curable if the right treatment is given and this is a very important message to be sent during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Let’s help spread the word for every little child who needs their story to have a happy ending.