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Ali was 5 years old and in kindergarten during his diagnosis.
One day in late November 2013, he came home from school with a headache. Later that day, he soon felt fine because he was soothed by the glass of warm milk I gave. The next day after two hours of school, his headache recurred. Out of instinct, I brought him to his pediatrician who told me it was just sinus infection. At that time, I was relieved! She prescribed antibiotics and suggested more rest periods for Ali.
For the next 10 days, Ali would have recurrent headaches that didn't really last long in the morning. On his second visit to his pediatrician a few days later, out of the blue, I even questioned if it was a brain tumor.
Finally after 6 visits to different specialists (because I bugged them enough), they advised to let us do a routine MRI. On the morning of his MRI, we all remained positive. Of course, Ali was excited for a new toy, as it had been promised if he stayed still in the machine - which he did eventually.
We left and had a fun in the morning as we shopped for his new toy and did errands. On the way home, his pediatrician called me to go back to her clinic as Ali’s results came in. At the clinic, it was the most devastating news a parent never wants to hear. "The MRI has confirmed that your son has a brain tumor" Ali’s doctor said.
From that revelation, things moved very quickly for all of us. I was hastily worried with the expenses! I knew we have to sort and discuss options with my husband as Ali needs funds fast for his brain tumor treatment.
Because of a friend’s recommendation, we looked into options provided by PlacidWay. We accessed the site and selected affordable treatment options. Within the week, we were sent to see an oncologist to help explain what was going on and explain treatment options for Ali.
On Wednesday, we were then sent down to Basavatarakam Indo American Cancer Hospital & Research Institute to meet with Dr. Senthil J. Rajappa, who is the Head of Medical Oncology. After many hours of MRIs and laboratory tests, Ali has been diagnosed with anaplastic glial neoplasm.
His surgery requires removal of a cystic lesion at the pareito-occipital lobe of the brain. Who would have thought our lives would change so much after only 48 hours of staying in India? The tumor was apparently in a good location and the surgeons were able to get the tumor completely out - which was great news. There were risks associated with the surgery, but Ali came out with no damage done to his brain.
It was good too that the Basavatarakam Indo American Cancer Hospital & Research Institute took care of booking our tickets and itineraries. Logistic needs such as car for pickup and accommodation where also secured. The total duration of our stay at the cancer hospital would be about 45 days. But they told us to be prepared to stay for at least 60 days, as there would be a Radiation oncology therapy – Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) Rapid Arc Therapy 35 fractions.
We did not have problem in booking for Ali’s slot – as we did not experience a long wait. A week later after his IGRT, we went home. Family and friends were incredibly supportive to Ali. We live in a trivial community in Najaf, Iraq and we were surprised that friends and neighbors went out of their way to donate money to help pay Ali’s medical trip.
I am grateful that PlacidWay and Basavatarakam Indo American Hospital were determined to help us get the affordable care my son, Ali needs. Up to now, I am surprised that we only spent USD $6,725.
Today, Ali had another "clear" MRI! So far, life is good for him. It's been almost a year now and I am still grateful for every day that my son is still with me.