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This one’s about Vishwajeet who is enrolled in our nutrition program at Bharti Hospital in Pune. Vishwajeet is 6-years old. Diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma, Mansi, our nutritionist, met with him when he was admitted for chemotherapy. We keep saying this often, a malnourished child’s body reacts to chemotherapy as if its been poisoned. We were not surprised with the side effects little Vishwa went through – vomiting, fever, dehydration and grade 1 mucositis (a complicated case of mouth ulcers).

Vishwa weighed 15.8 kgs, out of which 1.5 kgs was the weight of his tumour. He was categorised with severe thinness! He was eating less than 25% of his requirement. When was the last time we could eat with a simple mouth ulcer, right? You can imagine his pain. We had a tough case on hand. We had to increase his weight – that’s the only way he could have the energy needed to fight these dual monsters that feed off each other – malnutrition and cancer!

After consulting with the other members of the Nutrition Team we put him on enteral feed, a tube feed that includes a special liquid food mixture containing protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. To give him immediate relief, they took care of his mouth ulcers through an oral application of a Vitamin E capsule. He was constantly being monitored. Chemotherapy had shrunk his tumour size. 7-days later, we noticed he was slowly gaining weight. We decided to continue him on tube feeds for another week. That day I couldn’t stop smiling. Signs of a win on the horizon.

Time passed. We wanted to take him off enteral feed and put him on a fresh food diet but couldn’t until he was fit to accept food orally. After 2 weeks on the calendar, Vishwa had gained 900 gms! We could now take him off the tubes. His food intake had doubled! Vishwa is still some time away from being completely alright – 4 more kgs to go. But, this was a big win for him, his mum and dad, us and our donors!

Mansi Kumat,
Cuddles Nutritionist,
Bharati Hospital, Pune

About Shreya Gupta

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