Madusha (name has been changed to maintain confidentiality) came at 2 years from Trincomalee with Advanced Retinoblastoma (cancer arising in the growing retina which is the light sensitive layer of the eye which is like the film roll of an old fashioned camera of young children less than 5 years of age) in both eyes.
Our team realized that her left eye was unsalvageable and had to remove it as it was a threat to her life. The challenge of saving her right eye began, and it was an uphill task as the tumour was so extensive.
On the other hand, Madusha ’s family faced an even more uphill task as her father who was the breadwinner of the family was employed at a tailor shop in Trincomalee. It was explained to the family that the child had to undergo extensive treatment over the next six months if her right eye was to be saved. Her father had to give up his job and stay with the child in Colombo.
Madusha was immediately started on chemotherapy at Apeksha Hospital, Maharagama and at the same time extensive laser treatment at the Eye Unit at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital was performed. Since the tumour was not responding to initial treatment she had to be started on the latest treatment for Retinoblastoma which is injecting chemotherapy drugs into the eye. Madusha responded to that treatment miraculously and it was the introduction of a new treatment modality in Sri Lanka for the treatment of advanced treatment of Retinoblastoma.
This was a turning point not only for Madusha to save her eye, but it also helped many other Sri Lankan children with Advanced Retinoblastoma to save their eyes as well.
Madusha’s father found a tailoring job in Maharagama through which he found the means to provide for his family. Today, Madusha is in Grade 2 at a normal school, and is performing well in her studies. If not for the timely introduction of the new treatment she would have gone blind and would have had to attend the blind school.